Friday, October 15, 2010

On Aches and Pains

No one wants to be (or be near) the cranky lady who's always moaning and groaning about her aches and pains.  No one is that interested in someone else's problems, unless, of course, there's a good story attached to the limp or the splint.  Even then, the listener is usually more enthralled with the circumstances of the onset rather than in what follows.  Other people's ailments are more gross than engrossing.
Is there anyone who could argue with that thesis?  I was a medical social worker and I really didn't enjoy listening to my patients' descriptions of procedures and wounds and treatments.  I sympathized and I consoled and I explained but I wasn't having a very good time at all.  Of course, as I was wont to tell my supervisees, "That's why they call it work."
G'ma is my role model for dealing with pain.  She shows such grace under pressure.  When I compliment her on her forbearance she responds with incredulity.  "What?  Should I complain all the time?  Will that make it hurt any less?"  She's peeved that I am impressed.  I'm impressed that she's peeved.  And so it goes....
This topic is near and dear to my heart this week for two reasons.  One is personal and one is external but they have been conflating themselves in my brain all week and now, as we enter the weekend, they are ramping up their intensity.  Read and see what you think.

First of all, I feel as though I've been complaining a lot recently.  The Burrow is filled with kidney stones and pneumonia and migraines and who wants to spend time with that?  My day to day existence isn't much better.  Though we are on the mend, we're not 100% back to normal.  When you are accustomed to a certain level of physical activity, when sweating is a good thing, when your body is used to stretching and balancing and exerting itself.... and then you can't..... for a long time.... because you or your partner needs you..... by the time you feel ready to resume your normal activities your body has deteriorated to the point where it just sits there, laughing at your hubris.  To think that I could take a week off and return to my previous level was absurd.  I knew it was ridiculous.  I have had this experience before.  But did I learn from my mistakes?  Did I remember to ease back into it?  Did I favor my strained shoulder?  No, no and no.

But here I go, complaining again,  And that's another thing about this business.  It's a self-reinforcing cycle of kvetching.  I'm not proud of it.  I'm just letting you know that I am aware of it.

The second part of the equation is happening in the world of sports.  Brett Favre, 41 years old and currently the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, is in the news for more than the fact that he's old and still playing professional football.  There are allegations that he sent pictures of his penis to several women, and that the photos were accompanied by some lewd suggestions. 

The commentators' reactions to this news?  How will it affect his play on Sunday? 

This annoys me for many reasons.  I'm looking for some moral outrage here.  The NFL is sponsoring all manner of pink-ness as they promote breast cancer awareness this month.  Hats are trimmed with pink, soles of players' shoes are pink, the centers' towels are pink, the half-time shows feature marching bands making pink ribbons..... as a marketing ploy to get more women involved in watching the game it might just be working.  But then there's Brett and his pictures of Little Brett and the talking heads are worried how it will affect the game.  How about how it will affect his wife and kids?  How about the women you've been seducing with all this pink-ness?  There's obviously a period of reflection and fact-gathering (the incidents are alleged to have happened two years ago) that is needed, but someone, somewhere, somebody should be doing just a little bit of tsk-tsk-ing.  Don't you think?

Now, Brett's got a bit of tendinitis going in his elbow.  It was obvious during the Jets game last weekend, and Steve Young (former San Francisco 49'ers quarterback) gave a heartfelt description of how painful that condition is when you are throwing a football with all your might and main.  Brett's thinking of sitting out Sunday's game.

I'm not denigrating his pain.  But Brett Favre holds the record for consecutive starts in the NFL - 289. He plays hurt.  It's highly unusual to hear him consider sitting out a game because his body is in trouble.  Why then are the airwaves filled with speculation on this subject?  What about the fact that Commissioner Roger Goodell is considering the evidence.  Although there is "no timetable for completing an investigation into a Deadspin report that Favre sent inappropriate messages and photos to Jenn Sterger in 2008,"  it is certainly possible that a decision to suspend Favre could come before his next game.  Does Brett want his streak broken by executive fiat?  I think not.  Hence, the tendinitis complaints.

It is pure speculation, of course.  But I have aches and pains on the brain today, and that's what I think.

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