Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

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By Parker Heinlein
Outdoors Columnist 

Trying Something Different Than Dad


December 7, 2022

Why didn’t anybody tell me this was going to happen?

I never understood why my father took to the couch when he turned 70. But he did, and for much of the rest of his life that’s where he remained.

Mom used to say it was because his legs hurt. I left it there. I was young and healthy and full of myself. No way was I going to follow in his footsteps or lack of them. That was his choice. Not mine.

I’d stay active until I tipped over. Or so I thought. Then I turned 70.

I’d accumulated a few aches and pains over the years, but certainly nothing debilitating. It was my dog Dot who first came up lame, following the opening month of bird season this fall. The vet recommended resting her for a week.

Maybe that’s what did it. I rested for a week, too. At the end of seven days Dot’s limp had improved, but I had developed a hitch in my own git-a-long.

The pain was hard to ignore. Standing became difficult, as did walking – the one thing at which I’ve always excelled.

Relief, however, was only a couch away. While sitting or lying down the pain vanished.

“Wonderful,” I thought to myself. “The cure is inactivity.”

But while that approach worked for my father for another 20 years. I’m trying something different.

I’m convinced I’m suffering from sciatica. Nothing is cut, broken, or torn. Like an old doctor friend of mine once told me: “It’s only pain.”

Each morning now I struggle through a half dozen exercises I discovered on the Internet that are designed to relieve sciatica. I do sit-ups, and spend time on the stationary bicycle. I lift weights.

Nothing, so far, has been of much help.

Except the couch.

It calls to me, I suppose, as it did to Dad.

“Sit down. Take a load off.”

I try not to listen. I don’t want to become weak and frail like my old man in his final years. I fear this is how it starts.

Instead I’ll push through with my routine of stretches and exercise, all the while fully expecting the pain in my legs to someday simply disappear.

I just hope I don’t have to take to the couch for that to happen.

Parker Heinlein is at [email protected]


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