Columns

Limping My Way to Another Birthday

Quick question. Don’t cheat by Googling.

What do columnist Cindy Hval, former Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy, former Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson and former New Orleans Saints free safety Jairus Byrd have in common?

Answer: all have suffered meniscus tears. (The meniscus is a c-shaped piece of soft and fibrous cartilage in the knee.) Sure the injuries of the latter all occurred while playing for the NFL and this columnist’s injury apparently happened while strolling around the block, or sleeping, but still – I’d like to think the four of us could bond over a beverage whilst discussing physical therapy protocols.

The hitch in my gitalong happened last fall shortly before we visited The World’s Most Beautiful Boys (our twin grandsons). I noticed a twinge in my left knee during my regular walk but dismissed it. I’m prone to dismiss twinges, which is why we arrived at the hospital a scant 20 minutes before the birth of two of our sons.

While in Ohio, chasing after toddlers proved painful, so the day our plane landed in Spokane, I scheduled a doctor’s appointment. An X-ray showed no fractures and very minimal arthritis for “a woman my age.” Diagnosed with a suspected sprained knee (though I hadn’t fallen or even twisted it that I recalled) my doctor prescribed ibuprofen, ice, elevation and rest.

Then my knee started buckling without warning. The swelling didn’t abate and the stairs in our split-level home became my idea of the old lady Olympics.

With another visit to the twins coming up, I finally sought physical therapy. After some poking and prodding, the therapist said she suspected I had a slight tear in my meniscus. She felt optimistic that with diligent home exercise and physical therapy I could avoid surgery.

That was six weeks ago, and I have seen lots of improvement, though how the injury occurred in the first place is still a mystery.

Last week I celebrated another 50-something birthday and I’ve noticed one side effect of aging is the increase of mysteries.

Example: Yesterday, I brushed my teeth after breakfast, but when I got ready for bed at night I couldn’t find my toothbrush anywhere! I scoured cabinets, tables, nooks and crannies, before finally finding it behind the coffee maker.

Obviously, I wasn’t caffeinated enough to wield a toothbrush.

A sore neck puzzled me for weeks. No amount of pillow-fluffing alleviated the ache. Then I read that many who work at computers all day don’t have their monitors at eye level which causes neck strain. Currently, my monitor rests on a copy of “E-Myth Mastery” and “Greenhouse Gardner’s Companion.”

Recently, my husband and I planned a Netflix binge of a suspense series we’d wanted to catch up on. Halfway through an episode, I awoke with a start. What woke me? Derek’s snores. We had to start the entire episode over.

“That’s what we get for trying to watch late-night TV,” I said.

Derek cleared his throat.

“It’s 9 p.m…”

Earlier this month my 90-year-old mom had another dental emergency. I scheduled her appointment and we arrived early. A full day early.

“That’s OK, sweetie,” she said. “I’m used to it. Your dad got everywhere early. He even showed up in Heaven early.”

Speaking of Mom, last week I was at her senior-living apartment making a list of items I needed to pick up at the store for her. It was a mental list, which turned out to be a big mistake.

“Did you say you needed paper towels or toilet paper?” I asked.

She narrowed her eyes.

“Aren’t I supposed to be the one with dementia?”

I may be aging, but I’m still young enough to get schooled by my mother.

Unfiltered 57 🙂
Columns

Lessons From the Bowl

Like most Seahawks fans we rooted hard for the Atlanta Falcons during the Super Bowl on Sunday. Birds of a feather flocking together, united in Tom Brady disdain.

Well, we all know how that turned out.

But in between kickoff and that stunning win by the New England Patriots we had a lot of fun watching the game with my brother David and his wife, Becky. We all enjoy football and are pretty much experts on the game.

Our son Alex was a record-setting kicker for the Mt. Spokane Wildcats, and David played defensive tackle for the Anderson Air Force Base Vikings in Guam. Obviously, we’re well-qualified to loudly shout play calls at the television. Our commentary is usually spot-on, too, though Derek did get himself in a bit of trouble.

As the game began he opined of the Patriots, “Once you’ve been to the Super Bowl so many times it’s not a big deal; kinda like being married 30 years.”

Sadly, I’d left my yellow flag at home and couldn’t call the foul.

But when I posted his comment on Facebook, friends took care of that for me. One commented, “Dude. Either stop drinking or stop talking.”

Another asked, “Have the flowers been delivered yet?”

Thankfully, we were distracted by the latest round of Super Bowl commercials. Many of the ads were positively perplexing, like the artsy ad for something called LIFE WTR.

“What on earth is Life Wtr?” I asked.

“It’s water with the vowels strained out,” my brother replied.

Then there was the 84 Lumber advertisement. I thought it was lovely and moving, but like many I didn’t have a clue what the ad was supposed to sell. Maybe compelling political statements are the new Budweiser frogs.

I missed some commercials due to using the break for what God intended commercials for, but I did see the adorable NFL Super Bowl Babies and the Melissa McCarthy Kia ad was hysterical. Also, I’m sure I’m not the only woman in America who has watched the Mr. Clean ad more than a dozen times.

However, we were all puzzled as to why Terry Bradshaw has to remove his pants to get a stain off his shirt and agreed that Spuds MacKenzie should have been left to rest in peace.

“How can he hold a beer can if he can’t open it because he doesn’t have thumbs?” Derek asked.

None of us had the answer.

Snacks are a big part of Super Bowl fun and Becky’s homemade pizzas were delicious. Alas, the Oregon-made amber I purchased for Derek was not. Apparently, it tasted like pine trees. Or turpentine. What can I say? I’m not a beer drinker. Anyway, it didn’t hiss forever like the Busch beer in the Super Bowl ad.

At least this year’s halftime show didn’t leave a bad taste in our mouths. Though none of us are huge Lady Gaga fans, at least her clothes stayed on and we could understand her lyrics.

When the game resumed we witnessed an epic moment when Patriot Martellus Bennett and Falcon Dwight Freeney got their helmets stuck together like two mountain goats locking horns. Talk about an awkward dance.

Speaking of dancing, upon the advice of friends I spent considerable time Sunday morning practicing the Dirty Bird – the Falcons celebratory touchdown dance. I didn’t practice this at church, which I’m sure my pastor appreciated, but had planned to break it out as the confetti fell on the Falcon’s victory.

We were so sure of this victory that David opined Brady was a shoe-in for MVP – for the Atlanta Falcons.

I replied, “I’m sure Tom Brady’s balls are pretty deflated right about now.”

Of course those words came back to haunt us, just like Tom Brady came back to rally his team to an amazing, unprecedented, overtime victory.

It was like watching Lucy pulling the football out from Charlie Brown. The only comfort was that at least it wasn’t the Seahawks sitting dejectedly on the sidelines.

I’ve always found the Super Bowl to be educational and I learned several valuable lessons on Sunday.

No. 1: Don’t send a wine-drinker to buy beer.

No. 2: Men who mop are super sexy, even if they aren’t named Mr. Clean.

No. 3 And never, ever count Tom Brady out.

 

Contact Cindy Hval at dchval@juno.com. She is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.” You can listen to her podcast “Life, Love and Raising Sons” at SpokaneTalksOnline.com. Her previous columns are available online at spokesman.com/ columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval.