We're the Not So Easy Riders

In the first week of September this year, we learned a few lessons here at Shafferville that we are still pushing back at. Being a stubborn lot, we're among the senior citizen class of wanting to stay fairly active without a whole lot of misery and pain. As we round the clubhouse turn to 71 years on the planet, we are learning that we may have to change strategy.

During that week, I learned that I'm not good at riding carousel animals. I got on with very little trouble but getting off was a real (literal) pain. Not to be outdone by my 89 year-old Mother, I tried three different animals, going up and down and all around until I began to notice some pain in my hips. On ride three, I chose a very short cat and climbed on like a real cat cowgirl. When it was time to get off, I got my new left hip foot barely touching the floor and couldn't get the other leg over the back of the cat. I had forgotten the cat had a huge upright tail. My reaction was to grab the cat tail with my right arm so I wouldn't fall over and grab my (by then) bent leg forcing it between the cat's head and tail while staring at the bottom of my shoe. Then I pulled with all the might my left arm couldn't give.

Some folks have said I often do things without thinking. Really? I wish there was photographic evidence of this fiasco but am glad there isn't. There were eye witnesses who were heading my way to help because they thought I must have broken something but I managed to do this with lightning speed. Heck, this is one of a series in my life so my pride wasn't even damaged but my body was.

If a car could, mine would have limped home from Corvallis and two days later Mr. S and I got back in there and drove up to the PVAMC for a check up. He drove up because I was miserable. I drove back because he had an injection in his knee and had been advised that he would need surgery so he wasn't exactly cheerful either. He was told to get an exercise cycle and ride it to gain strength for surgery. Let's say that this guy doesn't want surgery. He's had enough. He does want to ride his Harley, lovingly preserved in the Man Kitchen/Garage. Since his knee finally gave it up, he can't ride. This is the biggest carrot you've ever seen on the end of a stick. I ordered the exercise bicycle.

The real tragedy is because all these things happened under a dark cloud at one time, we missed our ONE annual vacation to Brownsville, Oregon-Style to join our pals for an annual reunion. That reunion refuels me for writing another year of this column. It also renews my faith in friendship and humanity in general. It is the same for Mr. S. We pouted together after making a fateful phone call to our close friends and canceling our motel.

By the time the bicycle arrived, his knee was better and I was a wounded woman. Nobody wants to go to a doctor and tell them how you got hurt on a carousel. I toughed it out while he put that bike together and brought it in the house. He jumped on it and pedaled like he was headed for Sturgis. I warned him that he might undo what that cortisone had done but you can't stop a real rider. He rode every day like he was possessed by demons. Pounds began to fall off like sweat and this made him more eager. All this eagerness and pedaling made me think it would help me. There she goes again.

About 20 minutes on two different days was all it took to really hurt my back and hips. Well done, exercise lady. I sat in my recliner for a week with my trusty heating pad, used my walker and pouted. At least I have all the equipment for this sort of thing. In the mean time, Mr. S, "Easy Exercise Bike Rider" used up his luck and started limping again.

Clearly there is a problem in our house. We are so used to having pain that we think it's normal and we practice denial until our pain forces us to take action. Most of you are more clever than that. We learned that you can't jump up from your recliner and start pedaling... or riding carousel animals... without some careful thought. That's where we run into trouble. There's not a lot of that around here.

I admire healthy, robust Geezers who jog, play sports, and ride real bicycles. I love those who still hike and camp and do all the things we did earlier in our lives. I have a hunch there are so many ways to live this long, but I can tell you we will not be exploring very many of them. It's just safer that way.

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