A rather painful discovery

Last Saturday a friend and I went to see the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario).  We also signed sittingup for, and attended, an all-day symposium on the artist, his work, his influence (then and now) and his legacy.

Other than an hour of walking around studying his art early in the morning, we essentially sat in one place from 10:00 a.m. to almost 5:00 p.m.

Well, most people sat.  I fidgeted.

Not because I was bored, although the afternoon panel of speakers didn’t exactly enthral me (or anyone else, for that matter from what I observed).  Except for Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum Harlem, who was absolutely spectacular.

No, I kept shifting around in my chair for two reasons:  First, by lunchtime my ass was completely numb.  No feeling left whatsoever.  Desperately wishing someone, anyone, would come over and pinch some life back into it.  And also because my back was killing me.

That’s a bit of an exaggeration.  I wasn’t in excruciating pain.  My back was stiff and tight which is unpleasant to be sure, but certainly didn’t require a morphine drip.

It’s interesting because it’s exactly what happens to me every Tuesday when I volunteer at the hospital.  It is true I’m there a long time — from about 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  It is also true that the chair I sit in isn’t the most comfortable.  It’s old, kind of crooked, and it doesn’t support me where I need the support.  One would definitely not describe it as ergonomically designed.  And, to make it worse, I’m stuck there.  I can’t really get up from time to time and go for a walk because I have to be present to answer the phone and greet people.

So by the time I leave at night I’m pretty much bent in half.

Again, not writhing in agony but uncomfortable, to say the least.  I really need to stretch and loosen those muscles that stiffened up during the day, but I am too sore for that.  So I take a long, hot shower and then apply heat a few times during the evening, followed by an Advil at bedtime.  Sometimes I’m lucky and I’m fine the next day and other times it takes another day or two before I’m feeling good again.  But in those cases by the next morning I can usually do stretches once I’ve spent some time in a hot shower.

And here, my dears, is where the ‘discovery’ comes in.

During our lunch break at the symposium my friend bumped into someone she knows who was also attending and we spent some time talking with her.  At one point, on a totally unrelated topic, she mentioned TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival).  And I realized, with a start, that for more than 20 years I also was a TIFF devotee.  More than a devotee, really.  I was one of the real film fanatics (crazies, let’s be honest) who bought a 50-movie pass and saw 5 to 6 movies a day for 10 consecutive days.  

Not once did I ever complain about my back.  Or a numb behind.  Or stiff knees.  Or being brain dead.

But after just sixish hours on my kiester last Saturday I needed a margarita, two days of bed rest and a heating pad.

What the hell!

I know what it is though.  It finally hit me, as I was laying on my yoga mat, on the floor, trying to unclench my hip flexers and IT-bands.  Life is cruel.  You know where this is going, don’t you?  Come on, I just gave you a pretty big clue.

Son of a bitch.

It’s age.

One day you’re perfectly fine, skipping merrily (and literally) through life without a care in the world.  The next you just sneeze and ouch, you’ve pinched a flippin’ nerve.

There is no way I’d survive seeing all those movies now.  Not unless they’d let me watch them from a prone position on the floor.  Which, given what people toss down there, isn’t really all that appealing to me anyway.

Suddenly I remember hearing my mother complain about being stiff when she first got out of bed.  And my father walking off the golf course rubbing his shoulder.  And other ‘elders’ talking about tennis elbows and cortisone shots and creaking bones and painful joints and arthritic knees and sore toes and swollen fingers.  And me wondering what the hell was wrong with them.  Not relating at all.


Let me just say, I get it now.


18 thoughts on “A rather painful discovery

  1. I struggle with extreme morning stiffness. I guess it’s age too. It sucks.

    I do at least an hour of yoga daily. I regularly Epsom salt bath. I’m a healthy weight.

    It makes me shudder to think how I would be if I wasn’t active.

  2. I hear you. I have to go to the gym three times a week, Dr. orders or I would skip it. I feel fine, no heart issues now, no shortness of breath, etc. But, after five minutes on the treadmill, my hips are letting me know in no uncertain terms that they hurt. If they could speak they would be using the F-word and everything that could go with it. Before I got sick, I walked five miles a day. And I was overweight to boot. Now, I have lost 168 pounds over the past three years, and it hurts to walk a mile. On the flat. Indoors in air conditioning. What the heck! Getting old is NOT for wimps.

  3. Hi Fransi! I highly reccomend Eldoa. I’ve been taking an Eldoa class once a week for the last year and a half and I have to say, with rare exception, my joints and back are pain free. It’s like meditation for your back. You go at your own pace and are guided by a wonderful teacher. Let me know if you are interested in just trying it – it’s free to try it. No strings attached. Feel better! PS – this website explains it very well: http://www.eldoamethod.com/#the-eldoa-method

    • Ahh, small writing. Been there, done that, have reading glasses :). Not fair, is it? Age isn’t just a number — it’s aches and pains and canes and hearing aids. Sorry I brought this subject up 🙂

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