Yup, I stuck my neck out in the retirement home and got my face slapped for my trouble. But it was worth it. Without a doubt the most common sight in a retirement home are back problems, meaning walking problems. The worst is the shuffle where one foot remains in contact with the floor while the body moves forward. There is the bent spine stoop, the straight knee, the limp, the twitch, the foot drag and the foot drop. I belong to the ‘Question Mark class. All these ailments lead to one common symptom – the pain grimace. One soon learns who has what and which twitch is whose.
The other day I dropped into a couch with a huge sigh of relief at taking the weight off my feet and my back. Sitting on the couch is a lady who I know by her own particular pain – she uses the walking butt clutch.
“Are you sore when you walk?” I ask the stupid question as an ice-breaker. It works.
“Sore as hell,” she answers.
“And when you sit?” I say, continuing the questioning.
“Not too bad,” she says, “as long as I lean to the left and I don’t sink into the chair.”
“Hmm,” I say digesting this piece of information before I make my diagnosis.
“How about when you stand?”
“That’s the worst!” she exclaims, wincing at the very thought. “I cannot stand which means I am badly handicapped. No museums or art galleries, no standing in lines at the bank or the post office or the bus stop and definitely no cooking!”
“Wow!” I offer in sympathy. “That’s pretty bad.”
“Any more questions?”
“What are you like in bed?”
There is a three second pause followed by a loud thwack which rattles my teeth.
“Well, it hasn’t spread to your arms,” I say, running for the door.