Playing Hurt

I’ve mentioned over the last several months that I’ve had both hips replaced.  I was mobilized to Iraq in 2007-08, and the weight of the body armor and my lower back and hips just did not mesh well.  Some, most even, guys had no problem with it, but for some reason it just debilitated my hips to where walking up steps during my last few weeks in theater was agonizing.

As you might expect, it really affected my golf game once I returned.  Bending down to retrieve the ball out of the hole was about more than I could do, and I usually had a playing partner get it for me.

However, I had both hips replaced, and the lack of pain now is remarkable, especially when I remember how much I used to hurt.

It’s Always Somethin’…

…As the immortal Rosana Rosana Dana would say on Saturday Night Live.

Over the last year, my right knee has gradually gotten worse and worse.  Before we went to Scotland for our bucket list vacation to see The Open Championship and play Kingsbarns and The Castle Course, I was having trouble walking even nine holes.

I had told the orthopedic surgeon about the trip, and he gave me my sixth or so cortisone shot, and God Bless Him, he hit the sweet spot, because a week after the shot, and two weeks before we left, the pain was gone.  I walked Carnoustie on two different days, walked Kingsbarns, walked The Castle Course, walked St. Andrews Old Course on Sunday, walked the town, walked through airports…kinda like a normal person.

But about a month ago the pain started to come back.  At this point, I’m back to where I was before the cortisone shot.  I went back to the doc and he said, “no more cortisone.”

“You need a knee replacement.”

I knew that was on the horizon, but now that horizon is a lot closer.

Playing Hurt

The weather here in Charlotte is still awesome, so I played this past Sunday.  In shorts, in mid-60 degree weather.  It was the first time I had played since the first of July where my knee was reminding me on every step that it was not happy.

Shooting Your Age has always been about, and for, those of us who are baby boomers, or even older.  Few of us have escaped injuries, or just wear and tear that eventually wears and tears.  So this isn’t a “woe is me” story, because I know that the great majority of readers have similar stories of your own.  It’s just facing the facts of playing hurt.

What I Noticed

More than anything else, walking up hills is where I have to really compensate.  Whether it is walking from the cart up a hill to a tee box, or to an elevated green, or out of a bunker, it almost is mandatory that I walk straight-legged, with my knee locked.  I simply can’t put pressure on the knee walking uphill.  I can on level ground- it is moderately painful, but I can bend it.  But not walking up hill.

Unfortunately, as you know, walking uphill means you’re walking to your next shot.  Your tee shot, or your putt, or whatever.  Trying to put the pain aside and make a normal swing is difficult.  Even if it doesn’t hurt, you think it might, and are flinching in anticipation.

At least, I am.  And did.

Looking Forward

Without question, the next few months will be cart golf only.  I go to the surgeon who will actually do the knee replacement in early December to get the details and possibly get a date.  Between now and then golf may well be confined to chipping and putting.

If you’ve dealt with a knee replacement and have gotten back on the course, share your thoughts and experiences with your fellow readers.  How long was your rehab?  How long before you felt you were back to 100%?  Did your swing change?  Are you better or worse now compared to before the surgery?  Anything else you want to share?

Hopefully you are in great health and playing great golf.  Thanks for reading and enjoy Shooting Your Age!


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