My dad used to joke he kept Johnson & Johnson and Ace Bandages in business. Dad raised three girls, none of whom were dainty. Three daughters, three athletes, seven sports. We hit softballs, tennis balls and badminton birdies; flipped and twisted in gymnastics and diving; hit the floor for volleyballs; and ran full-tilt towards hurdles. When we weren’t in season, we were still moving.
Sprains, muscle pulls, bumps, bruises and cuts were the norm in our household, much to my mother’s chagrin. She would have preferred ballerinas. Oh, we did that too, but only when we were young. When we got older, our competitive streaks took over.
Recently, as I wore an Ace bandage on my ankle and searched for my wrist brace, I thought of Dad and wondered what he would have said of me taking up karate at the age of 46. I can see him shaking his head, then slowly grinning and saying, “Why not? I’d expect no less from one of you girls.”
These days, instead of smashing my knee on hurdles I’m blocking punches, being dumped on my butt, and having my wrists twisted in ways they don’t want to twist. When I was 20, I was made of elastic and would have shaken it off and done it again. Now, at 50, I think fondly of those days but reality says they are far gone. Now, instead of being made of elastic, I’m being held together with elastic!
I should own stock in Aleve. I have a physiatrist who greets me with, “What’d you do to yourself now?” My Swamp Water and Biofreeze are close at hand. And I’m the proud owner of three ankle braces, a wrist brace, several Ace bandages, multiple ice packs, and a heating pad (with a very important auto-shut-off feature, since I often fall asleep on it).
I have strengthening exercises for my wrist, my ankle, my neck and my core, courtesy of the physical therapists. I use the penetrating heat of a tanning bed as balm for my sore muscles.
True, my limitations are gaining on me, but I’m too stubborn to give in. Some days I’ll win, some days the aches will. Either way, I’ll continue to train.
But for now, it seems I’ve come full circle. I’m once again keeping Ace Bandages in business, just like when Dad was around. And weird as it may sound that makes me smile…just a little bit.