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The Tick Tock of Time

You spend the first period of life on offense, the second period in sports that may not be sports and the last period playing defense. When old Harold was a pup, he was indestructible and bounced back from an assortment of injuries. Nothing too serious with the odd sprain and cut requiring stitches. I did, however, play most of a year of hockey with a sore thumb, but was assured by my dad if I could move it, it wasn’t broken. A couple years later when I Bruce Lee-ed a board and cracked a bone in my hand, an x-ray revealed my thumb pain had been due to a break. Apparently, this is why your relatives should never do your doctoring. I guess my most painful injury was also hockey related. Before the age of plexiglass, I was playing a game in Bashaw and got checked backwards over the boards and sprung a few ribs away from my spine. Painful at the time, but more so on the bus ride home with every bump in the road. The next day, an early morning Drs appointment had me face down on the floor, hands applied to either side of my back and on an outbreath, everything got popped back in place. Instant relief.

I was by no means the Evil Knievel of the family. That position is clearly held by my oldest brother who still seems to enjoy hospital food. His worst was a two-day event. We started hockey a little late, and because he was a few years older he was grouped with bigger and more experienced players. To catch up we were enrolled in summer hockey school. His group was loaded with guys getting tuned up for junior hockey tryouts. One day when my other brother and I came back from land training, we were informed our older brother went to the hospital with a hand injury. A slash had broken his right thumb metacarpal. The next day he found he could get his hockey glove over his cast, so he went on the ice again, and when we came back from land training we were informed he’d been taken by ambulance to the hospital with a leg injury. The boards in the arena were made up of two by sixes, and when he got checked, his skate got stuck in the boards, but the guy on top of him and the rest of his body kept on going. This time, surgeons unloaded the hardware store on his ankle including an assortment of plates, pins and screws. I almost know what that felt like, as a few years later I was chasing a cow, and when she zigged I zigged and stepped in a gopher hole and blew all the tendons and ligaments in my ankle. I got dragged off to the hospital and while waiting for an x-ray I was sitting beside a guy with a sprained ankle. The Dr came by, and the guy asked if he could have something for the pain. The Dr gave him a stern lecture on abusing pain medication. The Dr then asked how I was doing, and although I was still in a lot of pain, I said I was OK. Little did I know things were about to get worse when they took an x-ray then said they needed another one with my ankle flopped over as far as it could go to assess how bad it was. It was bad enough to require surgery, but because I’d sprained it badly a few months earlier playing frisbee, they skipped the surgery and stuck me in a cast for 6 weeks.

The next phase of my life cycle was marked by a series of self-inflicted golf injuries. After taking the game up more seriously, my poor technique and curvaceous mid-section gradually took its toll on my back culminating at a tournament with back spasms and getting carted off the course to my car. Trips to the Dr and physio netted very little, but relief was found with deep tissue massage. Now, however, every time I look at my clubs, I get twinges of back pain. This brought on more of a defensive mode while edging into my declining years. Every snap-crackle-pop, skipped heart beat or bowel movement trigger fears my warranty is up and the big one is just around the corner. During these times, however, I seek comfort in the wise words of an old-time golfer I used to play with. When asked how he was doing one afternoon, he said “Just great!! Every time I wake up, reach out and don’t touch wood I know it’s going to be a good day”. So, if I may impart my own words of wisdom…as you advance in age both a good massage and Restoralax will work wonders for you, but must be applied at least 24 hours apart.

Harold Splatt, a long time resident of Lacombe Alberta, provides us with his colourful commentary on life as he sees it.

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