“Patience is a virtue,” according to a line in a sixteenth century Middle English allegorical poem. I’ve been thinking about patience lately and my occasional lack of it. The patience I’ve been pondering has to do with my stubborn refusal to accept physical limitations as I get older. I’m perpetually impatient with my body and its inability to stop complaining. For years I dreamed of doing various physical activities “when I retire.” Retirement is here and my body is fighting my dream. Yes, I’m dealing with a body behaving badly.
I had shoulder surgery in June and I have passed all the range of motion and strength tests the doctor and physical therapist put before me. It’s true that my shoulder still hurts and that is apparently “natural for someone my age.” I just need to “give it more time.” But I don’t want to wait, so I have directed my shoulder to get over it. Tai chi is a good example of a low-impact activity that I assume I should be able to do. After all, we’re not talking karate or kick boxing. I’ve attended three classes and loved them, but I can’t go back because the movements inflame my shoulder. Even walking causes problems on occasion. Four miles and I’m fine. Anything longer and my back and hips cry out for a stretcher. Estelle, a friend who recently got infected by the “walking bug,” invited me to join her for Thanksgiving and Christmas fun runs/walks. She is also dropping hints about a June half-marathon walk. I will sign up for the former, but would need to be accompanied by a massage therapist and orthopedist to complete the latter.
And so it seems I must work on developing patience, since healing is unlikely to occur any faster as I get older. And if I am to heed my advice from an earlier blog, I must also stop complaining, since, like the typical teenager, my body isn’t listening.