I’ve never really thought I was superhuman. There were probably a few teenage years there where I didn’t think of the consequences of driving a little too fast or doing something generally stupid, but I’ve always kept it in the back of my mind to be careful overall. I remember playing hockey pretty much year ’round from the ages of 10-19. It is rather amazing that with all the hockey I played (and I played a LOT), I never got any kind of serious injury. Oh, there was that time during a high school hockey game freshman year when I either dislocated or maybe broke my pinkie finger. It actually led to me being fired from my first job as a pizza box maker. True story. You absolutely need 10 fingers to assemble a pizza box, but you don’t really need a pinkie to play hockey. So when my picture was in the local newspaper from a high school hockey game after I had “called in” unable to work, I was unceremoniously fired from P&S Pizza without even getting a chance to explain. Dicks. Whatever. Food World hired me anyway and I went from $3 per hour to $5. Suck it!
I remember playing during the summers in a men’s league when I was in college – I played on a team with my dad and a lot of the guys I was playing with and against were older than me. Some were my age, some were in their mid-20’s, some were in their mid-30’s and some over 40. A few guys on our team were always saying the same thing to me, giving me the old “wait’ll you get to be 40, kid.” It’s not that I didn’t listen or didn’t believe them, it was just that it felt like it was so far away. Well, time has its way with you, as you well know (if you’re over 30, that is).
A nagging, sore hip has been bothering me for a good part of a year. I don’t know what caused it. A collision on the ice last month means my right shoulder is sore. I gave the shoulder a month to correct itself, but who am I kidding? I’m 38 now. Shit doesn’t “correct itself” anymore and I’m finally getting around to that point where I’m the guy now telling the younger players I play with to “enjoy it now, kid.” So I finally made my very first hockey-related doctor’s visit last week for x-rays on both areas. Oh yeah, I never bothered to have the pinkie finger looked at by a doctor. I just let that shit correct itself. And it did. I was 13.
You can watch all the medical dramas you want, but seeing your own bones in a photograph is humbling. Again, I never thought I was superhuman, but seeing those pictures made me feel like a mere mortal. I was sitting there waiting for the doctor to come in (he was running 45 mins late) and there on the computer screen, my hip x-ray sat staring at me, making me realize full well that there’s nothing in there that’ll keep me alive forever. Looking at the picture, a few things went through my mind:
- I’m not a kid anymore.
- Maybe all my bones are made of steel and I WILL live forever.
- Hey, there’s all that gum I swallowed on a dare in 1984!
- Whoa, is that my…….? Nevermind.
Anyway, the doc comes in and twists me, turns me, bends me and probably almost breaks me. He decides that physical therapy is the route to making me feel 19 again (hah) and there you have it. He said we’ll keep an eye on the hip because there’s a tiny, microscopic bump on the bone that might be hitting cartilage, causing the minor discomfort I’m feeling. Then last night on the phone my dad and I both went through our various maladies and I couldn’t help but laugh to myself afterwards. We sounded like two freaking 80 year olds. It’s all good though. I know I’m not superhuman.