New Tricks

old dogWe have all heard the old saying You can’t teach an old dog new tricks and speaking as an old dog, I can testify that it is often true.   We old dogs do like things our way.  Mostly.  But every once in a while, life intervenes in a way that breaks through our old doggedness and makes us change.  As I mention a while back in my post, PT, I have been subjecting myself to Physical Therapy in an attempt to reduce nerve pain radiating from my back into my legs.  In the first three weeks it has been unclear whether the assortment of massages, stretches and exercises prescribed by my physical therapist have helped, made the pain worse, or simply moved it around in this old body.  If it were you going through this course of PT, I’d be telling you it takes time to work, but this is my body … and I want to feel better now.   My therapist is understanding and tries to keep my spirits up with jokes like What is the difference between a physical therapist and a terrorist?   You can’t negotiate with a physical therapist.   Funny and true but not helpful.

Last Friday at PT, my legs were particularly painful, the result of a long shift of taking care of the cats and kittens at Best Friends of Animals Live Saving Center.   I was struggling though my stretches while my therapist was working with a woman who was having back pain, showing her how to lift and move heavy objects without straining her back.   As I listened, I was picturing myself taking care of the cats … bending to reach lower kennels, scooping litter from containers on5bd9fbb8e46cb933d01b6865_shutterstock_636995701 the floor and reaching for things on the counters.  I realized I was doing it all wrong.  I thought about how many times my lovely wife has told me I shouldn’t slouch like a teenager.   It dawned on me that for seventy years, I have been lucky enough to have a body that I didn’t have to cater to but now, on the verge of 78 years old, I can’t have that luxury.   So, I had my therapist give me a short course in lifting and posture before I went home.   It is indeed hard for an old dog to break old habits but I’ve been trying.    And one week later my physical therapy seems to have turned a corner … I am feeling better.  Yeah, maybe it’s the placebo effect but is good to feel optimistic again   Tomorrow is cat care day and I’m going to try out my newly rediscovered skills body maintenance skills while I’m taking care of the kitties.

So, if you are someone with younger eyes and you want to avoid having to learn new tricks in your senior years, take a few moments to learn to lift things properly (here) and how to maintain a good posture (here) now.   And if you are already an oldereyes with back issues, check out the references, hang in there and (as my friend Barry says) keep moving.

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2 Comments on “New Tricks”

  1. It’s never too late!
    Cheers for something that works.

  2. barrythewiz Says:

    So glad you’re making progress. And thanks for the “honorable mention”.

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