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Advice & More April 2018

Back Pain is Back, But I Look Ahead

By Arnold Bornstein

I am still racewalking, and one day while doing so, I started thinking that with persons living longer and healthier lives, you can frequently be sandwiched between care and concern for your children and care and concern for aging parents.

I recently again experienced a possible option for punishment. It's commonly called back pain. I don't mean the typical aches and pains of sports or aging, but the knock-down, drag-out excruciating kind.

What fools these aging mortals could be. For example, I have been racewalking for exercise, and previously in competition for quite awhile. A number of years ago, my brilliance involved my trying four fast quarter-miles around the local high school track without properly stretching and doing flexibility exercises first. And this was the day before we were to leave for a Florida visit.

My misconceived motivation was a snap decision to determine if I was in good enough shape to compete in the New Jersey Senior Games as a last-minute entry – the track and field event being 15 days away.

The pain wasn't getting any better in Florida during a short visit to my wife's mother. Upon returning home, I knew it was time to see my orthopedist.

Since I have reversed the preferred process – by making a short story long, rather than making a long story short – let me conclude by noting that I had to arrive at the local hospital by ambulance rather than under my own steam. It wasn't herniated discs as I had suspected, but it was muscle spasms, and my doctor told me that it would heal slowly and fully, with physical therapy and time.

It was my second serious sports injury – the first one involving two herniated discs 10 years earlier after completing the New York City Marathon. The discs eventually healed and I resumed running until switching over to racewalking.

I am still racewalking, and one day while doing so, I started thinking that with persons living longer and healthier lives, you can frequently be sandwiched between care and concern for your children and care and concern for aging parents.

Unfortunately, there are situations in our society when you find parents not giving enough attention to their children and vice versa. You can get it from both sides – the needs of older children and the needs of aging parents.

I have been told that in some Asian cultures there aren't assisted-living facilities or nursing homes because it is considered an old and cultural obligation for children to take care of their aging or ill parents.

Humanity being a study in contrasts, there is also the old saying: "One mother can take care of nine children, but nine children can't take care of one mother."

In any event, the animal kingdom on this planet provides countless examples of the enormous, instinctive bond between animals and their offspring – as well as with human
beings, which also includes the element of love.

I recall an incident while I was in the Navy during the Korean War, in which our destroyer raced toward a Navy fighter pilot who had crashed in the ocean off the Korean coast. As we got near him, you could see that he was in agony and apparently delirious – and he was shouting periodically : "mom...mom...mom" before we got him on board.

The bond is never broken.

 

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