Young@Heart: Playing Hurt

Playing Hurt


My husband Terry loves to watch professional football and I like to watch it with him. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed learning the rules of the game from him and of course I get a kick out of some of those adorable quarterback bodies in their tight uniforms.

In the beginning I had a couple of terminology misunderstandings cleared up which Terry found particularly amusing. My comment after hearing the announcer exclaim, “So-in-so is a pro bowler,” was, “Wow, imagine being a great football player AND a professional bowler!” Terry explained that a pro bowler is a player who is so good he gets to play in the pro bowl (some big deal game once a year). Another time during a game the announcer said, “So-in-so is ‘playing hurt,’” and I said to Terry, “If I were that cry baby’s coach, he’d be off the team before he knew what hit him!!” Of course I learned the player wasn’t “faking being hurt,” but was actually playing with a terrible injury.

Speaking of “playing hurt,” it reminds me of an accident I had a couple of years ago while we were on vacation at my bonus daughter’s home in Boston. I fell in the dark on the basement stairs and broke two ribs.

It was a very hot night when I woke up thirsty and sweaty at 3:30 am. I went downstairs to sleep in the basement where it was heavenly cool. I thought I’d maneuvered all the steps and expecting I was through with the decent, I put my body in “level mode,” and took a nice big stride into thin air and slammed into the next two stairs with a prone body.

I immediately got up and walked around telling myself I was alright. I laid down on the comfy couch and practiced filling my mind with beautiful thoughts. I even managed to fall asleep.

I woke at 7:00 and as I laid there, I thought, ‘Maybe I can manage to get through this without telling anyone I fell.’ It was the idea that I don’t want to bother anyone. It was, not wanting to disturb anyone out of sleep by turning on lights and then not wanting to put anyone out to help me because I was injured that caused the, “don’t tell” thought. Silly me.

I made it up to the third floor and onto the bed while Terry slept peacefully. He woke about 7:30 and by then I knew I had to tell, because, well, I couldn’t move.

In 1963, I broke ribs on my honeymoon when my first husband and I were in a car accident. A car going approximately 60 miles per hour hit our car in the rear end while our car was at a standstill. Because of that experience I knew there was nothing one can do for broken, cracked or bruised ribs, so I didn’t go to the doctor. Again, I didn’t want to bother anyone and besides it was Sunday and we still had three more days of vacation and I didn’t want some doctor telling me I couldn’t still play.

We flew home on the wings of Alaska and Ibuprofen and that’s when I really had to practice what I preach about being happy regardless of circumstances. It was an eight hour flight and I was in such pain we went to the doctor the next day for some serious pain killers.

I learned we have to be willing to bother others when it’s appropriate and certainly turning on lights in a strange house is appropriate and getting help when we are injured is too. And for God’s sake don’t play hurt!

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