Dec 18, 2012

Chillin’… and sweatin’...

For any regular readers, you will see I have not posted for over a month...I have been taking it easy this fall. “Chillin” may not sound like the thing to do in the warm tropical weather down here, but it is how I’m feeling.

After the mad scramble of building the casita last year, (and the work of getting the palapa built in the preceding years), it just seemed right to be to be enjoying our Mexican home more and working less. So far this fall, I built one cabinet, and helped Susan with some gardening, and other “to-do’s” will just happen in their own good time.
There is a saying down here: “‘Mañana’ doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow, it just means ‘not today’.”
So I have been embracing the mañana spirit, and it feels good. I have had my feet up a good deal, and have managed to read several books.

Okay, and then there is the gettin’ older and my health thing:
It was December, a year ago, when I bent too far backwards playing beach volleyball and popped something in my lower back. In the weeks and months that followed, I was the walking wounded, with pains through my right hip and down my right leg.
I had some therapy on it and it seemed to be getting better slowly, but I still could not walk or run very far, so sports -- tennis and volleyball were out. Those who I consulted suggested it was a lower back issue, likely a herniated disk. Sometimes these get better on their own, and sometimes they need active procedures.
Fortunately I was not in any discomfort when I was sitting or lying down, so life went on, and I was determined to get it “fixed” when I got back up to Canada.
To make a long story shorter: back in Ontario, doctors, x-rays, an MRI, and specialists advised that there was no simple fix to recommend. It wasn’t critical enough to go the invasive surgery route, and back surgery was not very reliable or predictable. My research overwhelmingly discouraged back surgery, citing “FBSS” -- Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. Yikes!
So I went the physio route with slow and modest results. Basically, I was becoming a sedentary slug. And to be truthful, I was pretty depressed. My passion, tennis, was out of my life. For many years I have defined myself, my schedule of activity around tennis. The previous summer, for example, I played social and competitive tennis doubles about 5 days a week. Tennis was a sport and an exercise that could serve me into my dotage, and it was pulled out of my life.

Physio -- arrghh: have patience, lie on a mat doing stretching exercises and maybe there will be some recovery...boring!
A couple weeks ago our friends from Vancouver, Ken & Shirley came for a visit. Ken, I would say, is a fitness nut. He works in some exercise every day. So on this visit, he decided to find a gym to keep up his regimen. His on-line search recommended a place called Evolve in Playa, and he came back extolling the facility. A couple of days later, I went along, and by golly, I found exercises that I can do, work up a sweat, get my heart beating, and even mimic many of the physio drills I had been prescribed. However, these drills were on shiny machines with variable weights that I could adjust to my needs on and count out reps, “Five more, four more…” to the background tunes of techno-pop music. 
It ain’t tennis, but it’s a good workout, a good sweat, and I am guardedly optimistic that life goes on, and I’m not ready for the glue factory, yet.
And yeah, its not really chillin’ either.

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