Bouncing like a bag of sand

Posted by SuperClydesdale on October 7, 2011 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

Getting old sucks.  As my doctor says, as you get older, you no longer “bounce.”

Not that I’m an old codger, but I am definitely developing a grey streak in the front.   Of my head, that is.

I can certainly attest to the lack of bounce.  I went down like a sack of potatoes – rather hard as my slow friend described it.  I thought I bounced.  I shot straight up, restored my dignity, then kept riding at a pretty good clip.

But, as I said in my last post, by the end of the ride, I was pretty sore, and by the time I got home, I couldn’t raise my left arm. 

After nearly two weeks of this – on top of regular large doses of ibuprofen – occasional periods of ice torture (known as “icing” in some circles) – I still had about 90% of the symptoms.  Can’t raise the left arm.  Can’t point the left thumb down (a surprisingly accurate tell of shoulder issues).   Time to go to the doctor to see what’s up.

At this point, my external scrapes and bruises are totally gone.  That’s when I figure my internal healing should be felt somewhat – if the bruises on the outside have gone away, the bruises on the inside should certainly have made progress as well.   But, joints repair slowly.  I know that.

The doctor runs me through the same tests that he did right after the crash.  Pretty much the same result.  Not good.  He thinks that there’s a good chance of a rotator cuff tear.  Ug.  I know that this could end up with surgery.  I hate surgery.

But, I can see my snowboarding season slipping away.  Maybe if I act immediately, I can still get some runs in before the end of the season.

Next steps:  physical therapy, MRI, and a trip to the orthopedic surgeon for some additional G2. 

I need to bounce.  The doctor means “bounce back” when he says we don’t bounce.  He says I need to back off a little as I get older because I won’t be able to bounce back like I did in my 20’s.  Duh.  But, I want to balance risk with joy.  I ride with a lot of people who are so afraid that they seldom if ever take any chances.  What’s the point of living if it gets to that? 

My son watches a lot of snowboard and skateboard videos.  These are people that are on the other end of the spectrum.  They live life as if they are immortal.  They are so banged up and thick with scar tissue that I hope that they go out doing what they love because they are using up so much of their bodies that they are going to be invalids by the time they are older. 

There was a great phrase that came out of one of these guys who was interviewed.  He said that he wants to keep going until he’s “so broke off that I can’t do it any more.”  I thought “wow!” that’s a very clear statement of understanding — I believe he gets it.   Not only does he understand that he is going to eventually be broken beyond repair, but that he wants to live his life to that edge.  Never mind that he’s in his mid-20’s and doesn’t fully appreciate that the life expectancy for his generation is probably 81 or 82 years old.  He’s going to live the last 50+ years of his life in near constant pain.  All of those joint tears, contusions, etc., will make him a slow arthritic troll by the time he’s 50.   

So, that’s the other extreme.  Like most anything, somewhere in the middle is probably where I want to be.  I want to get my thrills and have fun, but not to the point that I won’t be able to walk or raise my arms above my shoulders.   

I realize that this is just a minor bump in the road.  I’ll be back soon.  It’s not keeping me off the bike, just making me think a bit more.  Not a good thing on a mountain bike.  Nothing good comes from overthinking.

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