Samurai Had Knee Problems Too – As Well As Physical Therapists

Katsumoto: “Do you believe that a man can change his destiny?”

Algren:  “I believe that a man does what he can until his destiny is revealed.”

  What I’ve been doing while waiting has been to run and work out and after nearly sixty fairly intense years my knees sort of blew.  Should have noticed the symptoms earlier, but at the time it seemed like all of a sudden I was unable to run another step.  They burned while lying in bed.

  Tried to wait them out for like a month, but just got more morose and lame by the day.  Went to an orthopedic surgeon who x-rayed, said that there was nothing heinously out of order, gave me a few hits of Celebrex, and offered that “God gives us pain for a reason.”   Uh, thanks for that.

  Pills didn’t help much.  Kids suggested I go to a physical therapist which seemed to make sense and doc’s nurse gave me a referral.  I showed up at the appointed hour expecting some sort of Teutonic weight-lifter type.  “Ve vant to pump you up” and all that.

  Well, no.  A feminine voice calling my name drew attention away from The Economist and I looked up.  “I’m just back from maternity leave and you’re my first patient” she said as she turned and arched her back like a cat getting ready to prowl.  A cat in a snug yellow lycra top.  “Come this way”.

  “Knees, huh?” She took me to a small consulting room and gave me a pair of flimsy disposable shorts and told me to put them on and “I’ll be right back”.  It definitely felt weird waiting in a dark room, nearly naked, for an attractive woman younger than either of my daughters.  What the world would I tell wife?

  She returned.  “Let me watch you walk back and forth a few times.  Hmm.  Now lie face down on the table.”  I did and she grabbed my rear with a firm grip and said that she was “going to give [me] buns of steel”.  I arched my back, my eyes opened wide, and I worried more than usual about the next bit of my destiny to be revealed. 

  She massaged and probed around a bit while explaining that after doing the same sorts of exercises for six decades some sinews had stretched while others had drawn more taught putting my joints out of alignment. Finding myself composed, I asked about a few other aches and pains that somehow came to mind. 

  She felt around a bit more, gave me a new ameliorative exercise  routine, told me to get dressed, and left.  In the parking lot I called my brother to see if his knees were bothering him.  At home that night, well, I described a Teuton.  Now some months later, with mixed feelings, I can report that I’m again ready for battle.

2 Responses to “Samurai Had Knee Problems Too – As Well As Physical Therapists”

  1. Karl Pillemer Says:

    Thanks for posting about my book! Your post reminded me of one of the key lessons of the elders we interviewed: “Live like you will need your body for 100 years” – which is indeed a reality today. Exercise is the closest thing we have to a “magic bullet” for staying functional for 70 years and beyond.

  2. bgierke Says:

    Thank you! I addressed this post to my kids for a reason.

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