Saturday, September 26, 2009

Acorns fall, tennis balls fly

It's raining acorns here in New England.

They roll around underfoot and shower from the oak trees so hard and fast that you worry about getting hit in the head. I googled "acorns falling early" and saw a ton of entries, dating back a couple of years. Many blamed it on the greenhouse effect and weird weather. We certainly had strange weather this summer: rainy and cold for most of June and July, stifling for a patch of August, and, lucky for us, beautiful weather for a couple of weeks, just when we were on vacation.

Anyway, you could almost call these acorns a health hazard. Sometimes I think, wouldn't it be "funny" if I tripped on an acorn patch and bled too much due to my low platelets and needed an emergency transfusion. It might reinforce my place in the category of "patients with weird problems."

I think I landed in that group (imaginary, of course,) when I went in for my second transplant with my arm in a sling. My major complaint that time was not about complications from the chemo but rather from the intense pain in my shoulder. I had played doubles the day before, determined not to fall on my Hickman catheter. Which of course is what I did. Wham. I tripped and could almost see the fall coming in slow motion. I tried hard to stay on my feet. That only made it worse. My friend Mike took me to the emergency room, where they said I had a separated shoulder. I have a bump as a souvenir. My doctor at the time, Dan DeAngelo, looked at me and asked, "What did you do?" I mumbled something about tennis, and he smiled. One of our tennis teachers later told me, "You have to learn how to fall." Hmmmmm.

I saw this same teacher the other day when I was going onto the courts to "play" doubles. He said he was glad to see me back on the court. I told him that I wasn't really playing, because I couldn't take more than a step or two and I was afraid of falling. "No excuses!" he said. "Get out there and run!" I didn't run, but I did smile.

I've played doubles a few times, and although it feels great to get my serve in, to hit a solid serve back and to actually get to the net for an angled volley, I let a lot go by. I think I should stick to just hitting with friends or playing an occasional set or two with people who know where I'm coming from and don't mind a slower game.

The other day I played with two of those and with a very nice woman whom I haven't seen for a while. She was on the other side. She's a good player and she seemed to have fun, but I felt bad that I wasn't giving her a good game. Also, maybe she couldn't help herself, but she didn't need to slam the ball at me so that I had to jump out of the way. She could easily have won the point by hitting a more controlled shot, just not one right at me. I don't want to be babied, although I appreciate and get a laugh out of an occasional "gift." (Thank you Donna for hitting it right at me at the net so I can put it away and feel so strong.) But I don't want to be killed, either.

Speaking of tennis, I made a tiny investment in the future. I've been afraid to plan anything, out of fear that the other shoe will drop. But I went to the Cape with the kids, and then to New York, and nothing happened other than a good time.

When playing tennis, I noticed my racquet really needed new strings. I can't describe it very well, but when the ball hit the strings, they seemed to complain. It wasn't a pretty noise. When I took lessons last fall from another of our coaches, he said not to restring until I was playing regularly. I don't think he anticipated the extended leave. So a few days ago, I took the racquet to a local tennis and golf store, and the man who took it for restringing said the strings were very soft, way below where they should be. After I get it restrung, it will take much less effort for me to hit.

So I made another small investment in the future. That should be good, as long as the acorns don't trip me up.


susiegb said...

I'm all for making investments in the future ... (smile) Far better to be the 'glass half full' type of person! So I'm glad you are!!

Here's to many years of balls hitting that sweet spot on your restrung racquet!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely! Investments in the future!

donna said...

You had some great shots even without the occasional gifts. You're on your way back so keep that racquet ready by the back door! Love you!

PJ said...

Glad to hear you're playing tennis. Watch out for those acorns--I can barely get down my driveway without getting pelted.

Nelle said...

So glad you made an investment in the future. I think once I did that a few times it helped me tremendously. I love the little artwork of the acorns. I was afraid I might need platelets this week. I am a vision of purple lumps. I guess because of my valve I would not get them. I was thinking of just how much you have been through this week. Patience has never been my strong suit.

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Wonderful post about living within limits, stretching those limits and making a bigger stake in the future.

If nothing else, you needed to restring your racket, so you wouldn't be playing with the handicap of too-soft strings. That will help feed the positive feedback loop of playing better, feeling better, playing better, feeling better.

With hope, Wendy