SOME GOOD DEEDS GO UNPUNISHED

I played a round of golf last week with an old friend, joined by an elderly veteran, playing with his son; Joe and Jay. Joe, probably around my own age;) was in some pain, and during the front nine, he shared that he was struggling with sciatica. I’d gone thru my own bout with sciatica, back in December and empathized with his condition. Walking down the 10 fairway, Joe no longer able to complete his swing, I finally pushed thru my shyness and suggested that he watch me. I lay down in the fairway, crossed and bent my knees and showed him how to stretch out his lower back. Joe then lay down…but had no concept of the apposition needed to release his spine, so I assisted him. I crossed his knees, gently brought them to his chest and held his chest steady as he slowly rotated his lower body. The sounds of his spine crackling were audible, as were his sighs of relief. He stood back up, momentarily free of pain and thanked me.

We continued down the fairway and I enjoyed a moment of pleasure, grateful to have served another, thanks to my own learning curve. And then I had a chilling insight…just how badly that could have ended. Joe might not have had sciatica. He might have had a fracture or organ problem or just about anything else…and things might have gone south for us both.

I realized, “Tucker, he could have sued you for everything you have!” And quite possibly have won. Now that would be tragic, losing all security in life, just for having tried to help a fellow golfer. But the reality is, in today’s litigious culture, trying to be a Good Samaritan, while a worthy impulse, can lead to an awful outcome.

On the plus side, I did birdie the 11th;)

March 27, 2010

REINVENTING THE WHEEL

Last nite I slept on a water bed for the first time in five years. Actually it was my own old waterbed that I’d stored and replaced with a convention bed, at the behest of my lover. She’d complained it was ‘sloshy’ and ‘she couldn‘t get a purchase’ ;) Actually she complained about a lot of things back then; that was her process. She’s better now, getting therapy and meds and has made a tremendous amount of progress.

Anyway, having slept on a waterbed since 1971, and happily so, in order to maintain felicity in my sex life, I’d made a fateful decision: to behave like a grown-up (at the ripe old age of 61 or so;) Bad move. Over the past five years, I’ve developed lower back problems. Now, maybe I was always fated to develop lower back problems. After all, I’ve been thru combat, football, car accidents, parachute jumps, motorcycle accidents, etc…but I’ll tell you what. Throughout those years, I may have had wounds, broken bones and bruises…but I never had a bad nights sleep…and when it came to amorous entertaining, I had NO problems gaining a purchase;)

Whenever family members had visited, from back east, I’d always given them my bedroom and slept downstairs. Dad loved my water bed! Mom had looked at it suspiciously…and promptly fell fast asleep;)

In December 0f ‘09, I started struggling with sciatica. It was debilitating; I couldn’t work out or swing a golf club comfortably. The pain was intense and impossible to ignore. I went on medication, which did little but make me extremely dopey, downright stupid for several weeks. Eventually I visited Dr Gene, a chiropractor and he set me right with heat, an adjustment and some daily core strengthening exercises. Yet the stiffness persisted. I placed a plywood section between mattress and box springs. I placed a pillow under my belly. (I’m a stomach sleeper – the worst position for the back…but I must insure that vampires cannot readily access my veins;) Nothing worked, really, I arose each morning stiff, achy and poorly rested.

Last week I took an aerobics instructor friend to a movie and lunch. She confessed she’d also slept 40 years on a waterbed…and in recent years had changed to a conventional bed…and now suffered from back pain. And a light went off. Duh! I’m far from perfect in my decision making but have always prided myself on learning from my mistakes. I’m unafraid to acknowledge that there just might be a better way to do something, once I intuit what’s wrong. So I went on- line, ordered a new water mattress and heater and called The Salvation Army to donate my old bed.

I should be pretty stiff this morning. After all, over the past two days, I’ve schlepped a lot of lumber (my water bed frame) up two flights from the basement to my bedroom…and wrangled a queen box springs, mattress and frame down to my dining room, awaiting pick up. I am tired…but I awoke this morning, rolled out of bed, stood erect ;) …and my back feels just great!

It’s not cured, this was no magic bullet. I’ll still need continuous stretching each day, probably for the rest of my life. But goddamn, it feels good to have made a positive decision and have been rewarded.

Note to self: Tucker, try not to re-invent the wheel, in your future decision-making. If it ain’t broke, leave it the fuck alone;)

March 27, 2010