01 November 2011


I've had a twinge of pain behind my left knee for about a month now.  Not too serious - I was taking it easy on it as much as I could.  It did make it rather difficult to run, but it had been improving.

Last night was my 2nd week of curling this season.  Today, the front of my knee is hurting, and I am walking with a slight limp.  It will go away - this is a typical early season pain for me.  How it became that, however, is a fun story.

It was 2002.  I had just started curling a few weeks prior.  It was a late night at work - not too late, but after hours for sure.  I was changing backup tapes in all my servers - I am an IT guy.  We didn't have a central backup solution; rather, we had individual tape drives in each server.  Servers were stacked on top of a table, and also underneath. I bent down - knelt down, I suppose is a better term - to change a tape in the bottom set of servers.  And then I felt a sharp, stabbing pain.  It wasn't enough to knock me to the floor, and I could still bend it.  It just hurt.  

The next day, I went to the doctor, who prescribed some arthritis medicine for it, and it was better in a few days.  I don't think it was really arthritis - it's my only joint pain - but it made my doctor happy to prescribe it.  The pain comes back about once a year at this time, and it goes away.  It's not getting more severe.  I just take a couple of Advil or Aleve and it's all better.

By no means is this my only ailment.  I've also suffered from severe back pain for years.  It flares up about once per curling season, and I have a lot of trouble bending when it does.  In that circumstance, it's just a week of waiting and ease on the back.... and ketoprofen.  Can't forget that.  My doctor loves to try to give me naproxen - I do find that ketoprofen + naproxen = magic for my back - and flexeril, which is a useless muscle relaxant when it comes to my back pain.  

This all became much harder for me when Orudis was pulled from the market.  Orudis KT was over-the-counter ketoprofen.  It's also in the same class of medications as Celebrex, which was pulled completely because of what it was doing to heart valves.  Ketoprofen is not that bad.  It's practically impossible for me to get my doctor to prescribe it.  It isn't typically prescribed for back pain.  But it works for me, and it works perfectly.  

In the case of my back, I could, in theory, go to stick curling, so I would not have to bend. I'm too stubborn to do that, though.  Nope, I will quite slowly and painfully get down into proper position and attempt to deliver.  I can throw excellent takeouts with a bad back.  My draw weight, however, is non-existent.  

Curling is a dangerous sport.  During my second week of curling - I was playing 2nd on a team - the lead and I were sweeping a stone together.  Ben - Ben Emerson, who is no longer with us, but not because of this! - hit a patch of ice that caught him for some reason or another.  And he fell.  Hard.  His head made a sickening and hollow thud as it hit the ice.  Season over for Ben; he had suffered a concussion.   Thankfully, he recovered and curled for several more years before cancer took him from us.

His is not the only concussion I know of that happened during curling.  Another curler stepped on a step-on slider that was left on the ice.  That ended her season early - it was an October accident and she was done for the year.

Of course, there's also the occasional heart attack that has happened on the ice as well.  Yes, it happened at my club - to our iceman.  Luckily, we're close to hospitals, and have members who know CPR.  No one curls alone at my club. 

I am unaware of any on-ice deaths due to a medical condition during curling.  I do know about this tragedy, in which a tornado killed curlers on-ice in Windsor, Ontario, but that's a story for another day.

I know my maladies are only going to get worse.  I'm getting older. Which is why I stock up on double-strength Advil every time I go to Canada.  And why I am going to do other strength conditioning, to try to forestall and prevent these aches and pains before they happen.

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