There is no fool like an old fool.
Attending my nephew Nate’s wedding this past weekend in Pittsburgh, an after party was announced. Hells Yes! The venue, a nearby Elks Club with six lanes. They had shoes…but many were bowling in socks…so I did as well.. Last time I’d bowled? Maybe 2014 or so….
I chose a ball that fit my hand and began my launch. My left sock suddenly stopped sliding after maybe two feet…but my momentum and the ball and the rest of me continued forward. It was ghastly, Ass over teakettle.
Embarrassing, sure. Worst of all, I now have either a pulled or torn hamstring. Years of high school and collegiate sports; hoops, football, baseball, golf, tennis, track….I had never before injured a hamstring.
I can’t drive; my cars are always sticks. I have now two canes and can barely walk. With any false step the pain is medieval. I am about to take a bus to Woodland Hills and the UCLA doctors. Pray for me.
It’s ten to 7…and I am going back to bed! I rode the Los Angeles Bus System all OVER the Valley today, from 9 til 3:45….from Topanga and Victory to Ventura Blvd and Encino, at 35 cents a pop! What a great deal! UCLA really made me feel valued. Managed to schedule an MRI ASAP to insure no life threatening clots were at work…and it is torn.
I have put my body thru more than few rough patches…but I’ll tell you what! I now damn sure understand why this mother hurts so bad. Looks like five miles of bad road… Yes, children, that’s what damaged muscle tissue does. It BLEEDS!
I GOTTA WONDER…WHY DO I SO ENJOY RECOUNTING MY MISADVENTURES WITH SUCH RELISH
I’ve been wrestling with this contretemps for the past several days, hoping to see a realistic way to accept your very gracious invitation to join you and your friends on Thanksgiving.
It would seem to have been fortuitous, in that I’d just spent last weekend with my family in Pittsburgh for my nephew Nate’s wedding.
Just a lovely event, marred only slightly by my poor judgment.
I’m trying to be a good sport about it all, M…but I hurt myself badly last Saturday nite.
An “after party” was announced, following dinner…and “Uncle Tuck”, as so many of Nate and Emily’s friends delighted in calling me, wanted to party with the youngsters one last time.
Just after midnight we gathered at an Elks Club with a bar and five bowling lanes. Bowling shoes were available…but a lot of the kids were doing it in stocking feet and I thought, “Well, I’ll give that a try and see how it works.”
For whatever reason, it never occurred to me to warm up or to stretch a little.
I hadn’t bowled in probably 9 years or more; my crippling spinal issues then precluded any such foolishness.
But hey! It’s 2022! My surgery was a total success! It’s Nate’s wedding night! Go for it, Uncle Tuck!
No stretch, no warm up, not even a fucking rehearsal. I chose a ball that fit my hand, stepped onto the lane, found my marks….and began my delivery.
One two three, SLIIIIDE… My stocking footed left foot slid perhaps two feet and then abruptly stopped! Huh?
My momentum carried me well past equilibrium, my right arm bringing the ball forward…. My left side had stopped….but my right side pressed on…and (God I guess I wish I had been filmed!)
It would have been a wretched capture but still….pretty damned unusual! My base now stationary, the ball continued forward, my left leg collapsed and the ball went directly into the left gutter…and I went down in a heap!
Embarrassing? You have no idea! Among this coterie of 20 somethings – young, athletic – this elderly man crumpled in agony in the lane. Probably both my embarrassment and SHOCK allowed me to stand up, smile it off and hobble to the bar for a double Bacardi…and my nite of bowling was done.
I hung for a bit more time then called an Uber to drive me back to my elderly reality. I’d imagine I was in shock…Hardly surprising.
The stairs at the BnB were steep but I was verrrrrry concentrated and negotiated my way to the third floor successfully; not having awakened my brother and sister in law.
Sunday morning….probably still in shock. My body had yet to deliver The Bad News. We packed and drove back to Columbus. Me in the back seat TRYING like hell to find a comfortable position. Yeah. Good luck with that.
I’m now with my family. By now they know what a nutball Uncle Tuck is…We arrive at Carl’s home, I exit and hobble into the landing floor.
Its now maybe 14 hours later. I hurt…but I have hurt a LOT in my life. This time has yet to reveal its consequences.
I sleep, arise, say goodbye, fly home to LA, limp off the Delta flight, catch the Flyaway to Van Nuys and find my parked car.
Mother of God I am TIRED. Its now late Monday nite, almost midnight, I drive home, enter my garage and decide to LEAVE MY FUCKING SUITCASE IN THE GARAGE! Cause I am not sure I can even manage to enter my home with much else than my resolve… Have I mentioned that, despite my pain and fatigue…and it being 12:15 AM. Tucker (who has been cigarette-free for the past 5 days) is VERY clear, we are not getting thru THIS shit without nicotine!
Guess what? NO LOCATION in my immediate area code sells non-filter Pall Mall cigarettes. None! And I am pretty sure that I KNEW that..but was unwilling to drive home without an effort.
The 7-11 guy and I laughed at the irony – Pall Mall (originally a non-filtered cigarette) now sells 8 or more different Pall Mall brands… ALL with filters! (I’ve tried to break off the filter. No joy. Totally different tobacco!) So I surrender and turn for home. Its now maybe 1:30 AM. I walk to my car..and I stumble and fall, face down on the asphalt. I can tell that I’ve badly skinned my knee…and my toe…and might have done far worse damage, but for the grace…
I AM tired…but this is much more…something entirely different. My body just failed me…and my body NEVER fails me. So this is consequential,
I take stock, laying there, face down on the parking lot asphalt. A passerby offers me a hand to get back up.
Perhaps he saw me fall. Perhaps he realized that I am not a street transient or someone homeless… I thank him. We exchange a smile…and I locate my drivers side door and open it.
WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED, TUCKER?
Hmmph. Go home. NOW!
I do. Enter my garage, exit my car and again take stock. Suitcase? Uh-uh. I’m too tired. Fuck it, leave it.
Enter my lower entrance, watchful for BB who ALWAYS know when the garage opens…and when I’ve been away, he can be concerned.
I enter and close the door, BB is fine, on the upper stairs. His kibbles bowl IS empty. Fair enough.
And yeah, BB. My Man. After three Covid years of NOT traveling, in the past 6 weeks I have been to DC, N. Mexico, Chicago and Ohio!
So now BB is 13…and The Old Man has recently been disappearing for days and days…and who the fuck KNOWS if he will ever return? RIGHT?
Dude. I hear you. I feel you. I had NO IDEA, shit would evolve like this!
THE SCENE OF THE CRIME (It’s gotta be THE SHOES!)
M, I know you too are a writer of note. Thank you for indulging this recounting.
I hurt myself very badly last Saturday nite. So badly the damage took several days to be fully appreciated. In truth I was very lucky. I DESERVED worse. (Not because I am a bad person..but because I used SUCH poor judgement, M!)
I write this to you because you are A Player…and young enough to appreciate such consequences…and mature enough to appreciate the dangers ALL OF US PAST PLAYERS MUST NEGOTIATE TO MAKE IT TO THE END OF THE GAME.
So…I am well and truly damaged. My progress is glacial…All the prior sports in H.S and college…NEVER injured a hamstring!
This is both scary and real. I am dedicated to healing in weeks, rather than months, I’m not sure I have THAT kind of time. I’m now (last Sat at midnight- Friday at 9 PM.) 6 days.
Pain is constant. I cannot drive (stick shift) I will now fill my tub with Epsom salts once again. Weeks, M. Dear God NOT months! I live in a townhome. Three flights of stairs, 28 OF THEM. Engaged daily, perhaps 30-45 times. Just one misstep…and I’ll go back to months rather than weeks of recovery. I SO hope I don’t self-sabotage and do that!
I must not. I will not.
I am cranky. Under the best of conditions we both know I am no day at the beach.
I now believe that I will be best served, to spend this holiday alone. No big deal. I am 78 fucking years old! Smile Thanksgiving is not a mystery to me!
I hope in time to come, to visit you and meet your friends and enjoy your hospitality, M…
Just not this year, dear Lady.
If you’ve never rehabbed a damaged hamstring or been close to someone that has, it is difficult to appreciate its comprehensive effects on life during healing. Its much like a core injury; say a hernia surgery recovery. There is precious little our body does on a daily basis that doesn’t involve our core…just sitting and standing up requires planning and focus. Similarly, if you’re up and about and trying to work around a hamstring issue, you’re gonna confront challenges with every step you take.
There is the pain – the all-the-time pain…and the pain from a stumble; anything that requires you to put weight on that leg, Stairs are an accident waiting to happen; just one poor weight shift or misstep will reduce you to tears. It goes without saying, you should not permit your very large Maine coon roomie to wander about underfoot. BB knows, I will STEP ON YOU before I will fall down these fucking stairs, bruh!
Massage is good but damned difficult to do on yourself. Soaking in hot salts is also good…tho getting in and out can be a challenge. Mostly just laying on the floor and extending and contracting is about all I can do until Dec 6th, my first date of physical therapy. It hurts less and less with each passing day…which only then allows me to appreciate other existing pain in my knee, calf and ankle, all masked by the primary pain from the hammie.