Thursday, July 01, 2010

There Are Old Shoulders

And there are cold shoulders
But there are no old, cold shoulders

By which I mean that despite last weekend's milestone birthday, I don't have a frozen shoulder (the scourge of the elderly), but a rotator cuff injury (like a young, physically fit person might get whilst doing something like rock climbing or going out in the semi-finals at Wimbledon).

My physio sessions have been going well, and I can now make a big circle with my arms, with only a small amount of discomfort. I am now in a special shoulder class, where up to 10 of us do individually tailored exercises for three minutes at a time before moving on to the next piece of equipment.

The session ends with some warm-down exercises, like passing a basketball around a circle. But at the end of today's session, the physiotherapist said it was time for something fun. He got us into two lines, then we had to pass the basketballs backwards over our heads to the person behind, with the person receiving the ball at the back coming round to the front and everyone else shuffling backwards before starting again. And whichever team did it first a certain number of times won. You know - like in PE at school.

The physiotherapist was right - it was fun. Even better, I was at the front of our line at the beginning, so it was designated "my team". I was the captain! I have never been the captain of any sporting team before, but I clearly had the leadership qualities that Steven Gerrard lacks, because my team won!

What with being unable to sleep on my left side for months, having to take half a day off a week to go to hospital, plus of course being unable to make a big circle with my arms, this shoulder injury has been a complete pain in the, well, shoulder. But it's a pretty great silver lining, and a testament to the physiotherapy team, that despite always being last to be picked for games at school I am now the captain of a winning sports team. The fact that the other nine members of the class are geriatrics, most of whom can barely lift their injured limbs, makes no difference. A win is a win, and I didn't even need any dodgy refereeing decisions to enhance the score.

But as all great sportsmen know, this is where it gets tricky. Next week I have to defend my title. I'm going to have to take great care as to whom I stand next to near the end of the session, because if the physio thinks I'm having the old woman with the stoop, or the elderly Indian gentleman with the limp, or the white-haired lady I just call The Dropper on my side he can stick it up his bollocks.