Wow. Just wow.
I recognize the inevitability; I do. Combine the irresistible force of continued physical activity with the immovable object of advancing age and I know that I am going to incur increasing chances of soreness. But still, wow.
Last week, as I was going through my normal morning exercises (in preparation for some tennis later that same morning), at some point I turned my head or bent my neck in such a way that it became stiff and sore.
Being a less heroic (read: stupid) man than in my youth, I opted to skip tennis to allow the neck some time to “straighten out”. I have occasionally twisted/slept/whatever in such a way as to cause a stiff neck and it has always gone away within a day or two.
The next morning, my hopes of skipping out to the beach to write were vacated, as the neck was actually more sore than the previous day (I cold barely turn my head to the right). I pushed back my regularly scheduled workout until the evening, hoping the pain would subside by then. It didn’t, but I kept to my workout schedule anyway.
Thursday was also bad. Enough that I canceled yet another tennis outing and forced my way out to pick up some Ibuprofen. I rarely take any medicine, but three days of increasing pain suggested I stop being stubborn and take some form of relief. Of course, that only brings temporary pain relief, not solve the problem, which I found out…
…Friday. By now my neck was nearly locked up, making looking in either direction painful. In addition, I now had a raging headache, which induced me to add a couple of aspirin to my Ibuprofen (though not at the same time). Whether it was the prolonged pain, the combined pain or the combined medicines, I began to actually feel a little nauseous.
I had heard about people experiencing so much pain it made them nauseous, but I had never experienced the situation before. In an odd way, it was fascinating. Perhaps because I tend to look at all negative things as a one-time only event that I don’t expect will happen to me again, I can sometimes take an oddly detached view of the experience and appreciate its newness. Although, the appreciation wears off pretty quickly.
That day appeared to be the “break” that I needed, like the peak of a fever. Saturday morning, the neck was feeling better. Not good, mind you, and still bad enough to skip tennis again (frustrating!), but well enough to go out to lunch with the family later that day.
Even today, almost a week later, there remains a touch of stiffness. Nothing that will prevent me from getting on the courts tomorrow, but still an impressive reminder that my body is getting older and will no doubt be looking for new “experiences” to offer me in the future.
What a lucky stiff!