I’ve moved to the cold seat, after sitting on the hot seat most of this past week. I thought the heat would loosen the tightness in my hip, but following yesterday’s morning run the pain was unbearable. Oddly, it did not bother me while actually running, but rather due to stiffness after I sat doing my writing on the heating pad. I reluctantly placed a call to the chiropractor and set-up an appointment. I also took a pain pill my wife had leftover from her recent foot injury. Yes, we’re quite the pair, suffering from the toils of growing old. At least, we can share our medication. She also shared her cold with me.
It was this stubborn cough and cold that ultimately led to my hip discomfort. I originally thought the related congestion had settled in this Butt area that had caused me problems before. The chiropractor indicated that perhaps the violent coughing had also partially caused a minor dislocation of my hip. He put it back in place and recommended ice treatments rather than heat. This makes me really feel old, when my injuries are no longer just sports-related. It’s sad that my aging body is becoming so frail that I can’t even fight a simple cold. It’s literally kicking my Butt!
I did cut-back to just the minimum mile-run this morning to maintain “The Streak” at 4,085 consecutive days. I felt a little light-headed from the overnight medication, but it helped me get a better night’s sleep. The critical I.U. basketball win over Minnesota also made me rest easier. Getting out of bed numerous times during the night continues to be a stiff and sore process. It’s still considerably more painful to sit or lie down than to be up on my feet, but I wanted to reduce the impact on my hip joint by temporarily cutting back the mileage. As soon as I got back to the apartment from running, I immediately put myself back on ice.
My lungs were on fire, as I struggled with this morning’s run through the streets of downtown Portland. As I try to write about the experience, my hands shake uncontrollably on the keyboard. It’s the dreaded combination of a bad cold and old age. I was glad to take a seat at the computer and let my blood pressure return to normal levels. My pace was much faster today despite not feeling much better. I’m down to the last of my cold medication so hopefully the coughing spells will soon come to an end and the congestion in my chest will loosen its merciless grip on my lungs.
I don’t know if I’ll go back outside again today even though the forecast calls for more sunshine. Blankie continues to call. I’m now watching Safe on Netflix at the recommendation of a friend. It’s the second Harlan Coben novel made into a series. I also enjoyed The Stranger during this recent bout of sickness. It’s Netflix and Chills, as I shiver under the cover of my Cubs blanket. It has a big “W” on it for worthless, describing my lifeless condition these past few days. I missed a dentist appointment and two get-togethers with friends but at least kept my 4,073 daily running streak intact. Missing a day would kill me, although I did have to cut back to the mileage minimum on the first day of this unforgiving crud.
I feel like I’m throwing away money by not using our Regal Unlimited passes these past two weeks. The first week we were in Las Vegas, while this week I haven’t been able to go fifteen minutes without coughing or sneezing. They tell you at the theater to turn-off your cell phone, but you can’t just shut off an annoying cough. If I was still working, I know that I probably wouldn’t have missed a day, selfishly spreading my germs throughout the office. It was apparently in my DNA, just like running, an unforgivable sin to miss even a single day. I blame it on the Perfect Attendance Award that I missed out on in kindergarten because my Mom made me stay home. Never again! At least with running I’m not putting others at risk. In retirement, I can stay in seclusion under the Cubs Blankie until I’m no longer contagious.
It’s a Saturday, now lost in retirement. There’s no longer that anticipation of getting there every week since it’s just like every other day. In three more Saturdays we’ll be in Phoenix, soaking in some solar warmth. In eight, we’ll have been at Alcatraz, and eleven Saturdays from today we’ll be in Bali with the year nearly half over. By then, the Portland weather will be glorious and tempting us to stay. Florida is calling and it’s not just some telemarketer about extending my warranty or saving on credit card interest rates. We will make a life-changing decision mid-year on where we’ll build our “forever” home, and escape from the cold, damp winter temperatures that far too often leads to Blankie time. Bring on the Heat!
I’m amazed that I’ve now reached the 1200th post on my silly little blog. It’s been a staple in keeping my retirement sanity, along with my running streak. This combination occupies the first couple hours of each morning to provide me with a rewarding sense of daily accomplishment. Both can be tedious tasks that require discipline and mental strength to persevere. This morning, for example, I ran my typical downtown route but imagined that I was in my old neighborhood. I visualized every turn, landmark, bus stop, mile-marker and hill that was part of the course that became familiar over a five-year span. As I ran by the waterfront today, I was envisioning what I once called “retirement circle,” a cul-de-sac that was halfway through my former neighborhood route. Instead of seeing the homeless sitting on park benches, I was looking at beautiful landscaped yards and fine homes.
By superimposing one route over the other, it challenged my mind to focus on the past and became a welcome distraction from the monotony of each step. There truly is a sharp contrast between suburbia and downtown, each with a distinct personality. It’s not that I miss the old neighborhood – it’s just a matter of adjusting to running through busy intersections and on uneven sidewalks while avoiding scooters, bicycles, commuters, and homeless people. It requires so much more awareness to circumvent the obstacles of a busy downtown. It was a little less imposing this morning since it was a quiet Saturday and not a hectic work day. Otherwise, I might not have been able to complete this fun mental exercise that accompanied the physical strain of day 4,045 of my continuous running streak.
After the run each morning, I like to relax at the keyboard and let my mind guide my fingers. Often I just start writing without a conscious topic or goal. As a result, many of my posts are nothing but meandering ramblings that somehow come together in the end. By 10 a.m. every single morning, I’ve run 3.1 miles and submitted another short chapter to this blog. Sometimes I add a humorous poem that comes to me during the run and keeps my brain off the tedious task at hand. Today, however, it was just a mind game that kept me going, as I mentally rambled through the old neighborhood while navigating the new.
Just as we started to get back into our normal routine, a trip to the Emergency Room changed everything. My wife had tripped over the uneven sidewalk while pushing her grocery cart and landed awkwardly on her foot. We had plans to go to the movie Cats and decided it was still a good way to keep any weight off her injury, but predictably it began to swell and stiffen. By the end of the movie we were both in pain – me from the movie and her from the discomfort of a throbbing foot. She could no longer walk so we called for an Uber and went straight to the Emergency Room.
About once a decade I take her to the hospital. The first was the Y2K New Year after she cut herself badly trying to prepare our special crab-leg dinner – that was 20 years ago. Ironically, we struggled with ideas on how to make it memorable and this certainly will never be forgotten. The only other time was a kidney stone ten years ago, a painful affliction that we share. She’s reciprocated equally on ER visits for me over the course of our relationship. Fortunately, none of these situations was even close to life-threatening. Naturally, this most recent experience was just weeks after we increased the deductible on her insurance, so it will be costly once we get the bill. She’s not yet eligible for Medicare and COBRA is expensive in this retirement transition. Nothing was broken but she had x-rays and has to temporarily wear a boot. It could have been worse!
As I sat patiently waiting for her to be treated, my thoughts were focused on how fortunate I was to not be in there myself. Every day while running, there’s a real threat of falling, or worse yet being hit by a car or bike in the course of crossing over 50 busy intersections. I’m lucky to have run 4,038 consecutive days without a serious leg injury. As ambulances arrived with those facing much worse, I thought about my two business cohorts already lost this year. My boss from Joseph A. Banks in Austin recently passed, along with a fellow department head at WISH-TV in Indianapolis. Both were younger but faced weight issues, so I’m grateful to have the discipline to run every day in maintaining my good health. May they both rest in peace, and please no more emergencies in my life.