Saturday, January 10, 2009

The a-word.

My slightly younger brother Walter the Historian has for years used "hip-lock" as his pregame excuse, lest I might beat him at golf (which I do, rarely). The other day I received an e-mail from my slightly older brother George the Puerto Rican, reading, in part,

"Boku empathy readily extended. Hereabouts, euphemism is the name of the game: we attribute joint pain to "exercise-induced inflammation," "years of wear and tear" or "that 1998 meniscus episode"; the "a-word" is verboten!"

Well, brothers, call it what you will, it has been giving me fits this week. As I have reported, Romanian life is all about walking. Even as a car owner, I walk over a half mile to the bus downtown, or to the parking lot at the UBB Faculty of Letters, morning and night. And each day includes at least another mile's hiking around the halls at the Faculty of Economics, or around the piaĊ£a or mall to shop for food, and whatever else is on the list. My tired old right hip, in which I had a cortisone shot only a few weeks ago, hurt so badly on the evening walk home from the parking lot on the last two class-days that I found myself looking for a place to sit and rest it. But there are no benches along the streets in Cluj, so I gritted my teeth and pulled a Johnnie Walker (i.e., I kept on walking).

I had trouble even walking just six city blocks. And that was after popping ibuprofen.

So, I took Friday off to rest my hip. I did not leave the apartment.

This morning I arose early and walked across to the open market, the hardware store, McDonald's, the bank, and on the way back to Napolact, the local dairy store. I was wearing my New Balance athletic shoes. I had taken no ibuprofen for over 24 hours, yet felt no pain. As the old Nike ad said, "It must be the shoes." The day's rest clearly helped, but it has to be the shoes, which were not here last fall, came back with me after Christmas, had not been on my feet during the week's two days of pain, and seem to reduce greatly the shock each step has been delivering to my right hip joint.

So, dear friends in Romania, if I appear at a formal dinner in a business suit and sneakers, please forgive the footwear. They are "orthopedic." And brother George,
euphemisms be damned! It is Arthritis.


SKM said...

I vote for "years of wear and tear while playing serious sports 'until death'". And perhaps some really dumb, yet fun, stunts as a kid.

Jesse S. McDougall said...

What?! We McDougalls never do anything "until death!" We're a calm and rational clan. Silly mom.