High mileage

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When I was growing up, we kept our navy blue Pontiac Bonneville a long time – mostly out of necessity and partly because my mother had a hard time letting go of things, including cars, empty Cool Whip bowls and every picture I ever colored in the second grade.

At one point, the car’s headliner – that fabric on the ceiling of the car’s interior – started to pull away from the roof and sag down like an inverted parachute. Before it got low enough to brush against the tops of our heads, we performed a do-it-yourself fix using thumbtacks. We spaced them out evenly which created a quilted appearance, and we used gold thumbtacks, which did not add the touch of class we were hoping for.

From that point on, the car had a series of things go wrong with it until finally the fixes cost more than the car was worth, so Mom and Dad were forced to get a new one. No one was happier to see that old car go than I was – dumb old car with its dumb old problems.

But now I feel bad about looking down on that dumb old car. Because now I am that dumb old car, experiencing my own series of malfunctions on the highway of life.

It started a few months ago when I woke up one morning and limped my way to the bathroom. The bottom of my left foot felt like it had a permanent cramp in it. It was weak and sore and completely unwilling to be used like a regular foot. I chalked it up to a pulled muscle and assumed it would go away in a day or two. It didn’t.

Two weeks of limping to the bathroom convinced me to Google the problem which led me to a WebMD page about plantar fasciitis, which really is as dr-scholls-kioskunpleasant as it sounds. Part of the suggested treatment was wearing orthopedic insoles, which really are as uncool as they sound. So off I went to Walmart to stand on that foot-analyzing Dr. Scholl’s machine in the pharmacy, hoping nobody I knew would walk by while I stood there getting my new insoles.

After a week of using the insoles and stretching my foot, I felt good enough to start walking again for exercise. It was just a few fast walking sessions – not a marathon, not a 5K, not even a slow jog. But after a week of walking, I woke up with a strange pain in my hip – bad enough to send me to Dr. Google once again. The diagnosis? Hip bursitis. Then I checked my birth certificate to make sure I was actually 42 and not 82 because the word “bursitis” does not line up with my youthful outlook on life.

The treatment for my mid-life bursitis is Advil and rest, which is great because I’m an excellent “rester.” No one avoids exercise as well as I do.

But the cherry on top of my broken-down sundae came last week when I felt this mysterious hitch in my ribs – almost like something is stuck in there. It’s more annoying than painful, mostly because it’s a constant reminder of this gradual yet inevitable “wearing out” process that happens to all of us sooner or later.

I haven’t Googled the rib problem yet but I’m pretty sure one of my ribs is out of line, a problem my chiropractor can hopefully help remedy. If not, I may try putting it back in place with a gold thumbtack.

After all, it worked for that old Pontiac.

gwen-headshot-2014Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

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