Thursday, December 07, 2006


Perhaps you've been asking yourself:

"Where has that lazy Mark of Kane gone to? What's he been doing these days? We haven't heard from him in ages!"

Well, gentle readers, it is with regrets that I tell you how I was laid low (and not in a good way) these past weeks.

It seemed as if it was going to be a rather fun Thanksgiving weekend. We had all sorts of plans to drink with family and dine with friends on the day itself. Tim and I spent a lovely relaxing evening in anticipation of the long weekend. We awoke on Thursday morning to troubled skies.

Now I'd spent the month of November at doctors and specialists, being poked, prodded and generally annoyed. My primary care physician had noticed that I hadn't had a physical in a couple of years, and at my advanced age, apparently, one needs a monthly tune-up. He scheduled a round of electrocardiograms, colonoscopies and the like. To his apparent disappointment and my relief, everything turned out pretty much alright. There are a couple of issues with my legs and running, but that can basically be resolved by choosing a different cardio training method. And I'm eating a lot of bran.

I've also spent the past six months working with a trainer, who concentrated, as they all do now, on strengthening my core. We'd spend hours doing plank exercises, and crunches, and the dreaded mountain climbers. I was rewarded for all this with the actual almost-appearance of abdominal and oblique muscles and a somewhat trimmer waist. However, amidst the medical testing barrage, I'd not been to the gym for three weeks.

I awoke on Thanksgiving morning and installed myself on Tim's sofa to watch the parade, something I've done since I was a very small child, and for some reason still do, even though I find the corporate sponsorship completely odious now. It was teeming rain, and poor band children from all over the country were doing their level best to smile and twirl and blow their horns through the downpour. I was cozily ensconced with a cup of coffee when Tim called from the bedroom and asked me to help move the mattress. I hopped up, tipped the mattress on it's side with him and headed back to my coffee and the Rockettes.

The morning progressed with family phone calls and the appearance of Santa Claus, who we know as a fellow Dugout habitue. It is a small world, after all. Tim and I went out to the diner to grab some breakfast, when I became aware of some discomfort in my lower back. During the meal I started finding it impossible to get comfortable, squirming around in my seat. By the time we'd walked around the corner and back to Tim's house, my back was in spasms of agony.

I tried a very hot shower. I tried stretching. I asked Tim to massage it. Nothing helped. And it was getting progressively worse. I needed help getting into my jeans, and then we hobbled across the river back to my house. There, in agony, I changed into visiting clothes, struggled to pull on a pair of boots and headed off to my sister's house for drinks. I was mostly unable to sit comfortably at my sister's, moving from chair to chair as I chatted with family. We took our leave at 7:20, in time to walk across town and meet M., Joe, Ed and the Farmboyz, who were joining us for our annual Thanksgiving dinner at Keen's.

Now nothing says Thanksgiving more to me than a big mutton chop and a series of very dry martinis, and I had been looking forward to this for some time. We met at the bar, where I started a steady regimen of medicinal cocktails, that were to help me through the evening. The night was a great success, and I hope my friends will indulge me again next year, and the year after that, if they will. You can read about it here, and I'll let you guess who the priest and ex-monk are.

After many Martinis, a sip of Ed's sidecar and a glass of port with dessert, I was apparently feeling alright enough to head on up to the Townhouse, which was fairly sedate. We took a seat on the small settee that is ensconced between the front and back bars, and watched the crowd. Tony says that an evening at the Townhouse is akin to a bubbly wake, and he's right. We're firmly convinced that the little alcove we staked out would a perfect place to lay out the body. A few drinks later and we were home before midnight.

Suffice to say, the rest of the weekend went steadily downhill. Friday, we hobbled around town, running some errands and doing a little pre-season window shopping. I was in agony. I thought it might be a good idea to repair back to Tim's, and we did. We fixed a vat of chili, and stayed home all weekend. I even stayed home from the Dugout on Sunday, remaining immobile and miserable on the sofa until Tim came back from bartending, relayed the various greetings surprised friends had left for me at the bar, and put me to bed.

I was scheduled for a stress test at 8:15 Monday morning, but could barely walk by this time. Instead, I went over to my doctor's office and was sent, posthaste, to the Spine Institute where they told me I could make an appointment for December 20th. As I was insisting that someone from the office get me admitted to the emergency room (ah, the vagaries of HMO's!), a gentleman who turned out to be the director asked me what the problem was, and then saw me two hours later. After x-rays and assorted tests, it was determined that I had ruptured a disc, which I'd been treating with Advil for the past four days.

Dosed with steroids, hillbilly heroin and a sense of purpose, I went back to work Tuesday, and I've been spending 10 to 12 hour days here pretty much ever since. I've since discovered that my drugs do not mix with diet beer, causing me to slur my consonants much earlier than usual when I returned to my usual spot at the Dugout the following Sunday.

This is the holiday season! I have too many things to do for work, and that doesn't even begin to cover the holiday chores I have to complete in the next couple of weeks. I can't stop!

I start physical therapy next week with Lance and Eric. It sounds like an 80's porn video, and I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to it or not.

I asked my doctor what could have caused the rupture, as I felt nothing actually happen. He gently suggested that it might just be my age, and the fact that things like this can just happen when you're over 50.

I'm beginning to agree with Bette Davis. Old age is no place for sissies.


Aaron said...

I dreadfully missed you at the Dugout the weekend before last. I soon learned, however, that you were in seclusion with a back injury. Get well soon! I hope to see you next time around.

David said...

Ouch, so sorry to hear about that, sweetie. Hope you are feeling better. I have been horribly delinquent from the Dugout, but every time I think I have a free Sunday evening, something comes up. Possibly the 17th.

Nate The Great said...

That sucks. All i can say about that. Hopefully you get better and fast. On a related note, at least you havea good excuse for not updating your blog. I.. just haven't :)

Max said...

Pearl S. Buck has this gem to offer about aging, albeit for a slightly different situation:

"You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea."

Sorry to hear about your back problem. Get well soon!

n. said...

Oh, I'm terribly sorry to read about your back. I also hurt my back on Thanksgiving day, but I was lucky and it was only muscular.

Good luck.

palochi said...

Ah, the ever-exciting venture of PT. I know it so well. Look at it this way -- you probably didn't want to pursue that career as a flamenco dancer anyway, right? Hang in there, bro. Do everything the PTs tell you to do and see if your trainer (if you're still seeing him) can shift gears help you get back on track... pun intended. :)

Ed said...

Well, you still look great!
Speedy recovery Superdaddy.


AJ said...

I'll totally help you with that Oxycontin. That's how much I care about you.

Mind the Bear said...

I've had back trouble that needed heavey drugs, and it sucks out loud.

Yer right (you and Bettye, that is) old age ain't for sissies.

But then, we ain't sissies, are we? Look at it from my point of view (i'm only just coming out): I've got teenagers! at home!

Shalom, Joe (age 51)

Mr. H.K. said...

Hope you're feeling better!

Mr. H.K.
Postcards from Hell's

tony said...

And yet, you were, as always, totally charming company on Thanksgiving. I hope we can do it again next year, and every year until our walkers prohibit our being seated. Next year, I'm getting the mutton AND the prime rib because I know I won't be able to choose.

Lynette said...

oh dear, what an ordeal! i read on JMG that you're "standing erect" and "pain free" (wasn't it?) so hallelujah.

just have to say though, isn't "The Townhouse" where all the old old old guys go? Isn't that one that appeared on JMG's tour of NY gay bars and got a zero star never go back thing? And y'all went there? A lot of wine? port? mutton? ;-)