To read part one of the Doctor of Dunk - click here.
The next morning, everything was worse. I hurt to move, taking a deep breath hurt and if I coughed, a posse of pain galloped down my leg. But, as bad as I felt, I had something even more painful ahead of me. I had to pick up Ellen at the airport. Drive? I could barely walk. If I had been a woman, well, I probably wouldn't be in this situation, women seem to have more common sense than men (sorry guys - but you know it's true) and, more often than not, my intuition would have helped me. I would recognize and freely admit something was wrong and that I needed help. But, I'm a man and my intuition was easily replaced by something else. I was blinded to the obvious by Hemotion - the manly, gruff, voice that whispers,"It's just a sprain. Be tough. It's not a big deal. It'll go away. What kind of man are you anyway?" Hemotion, not to be confused with it's brother, Emotion, makes your I.Q. drop to somewhere around your pulse. I ambled, shuffled, stumbled toward my all-man Dodge truck feeling a lot more all-dumb than all-man. I somehow got into the truck, and drove to the airport shifting the manual transmission without careening off the road or passing out.
When I met Ellen, she said "What happened to you? What's wrong?"
"Wrong? Nothing's wrong. What do you mean? I'm fine. I just kind of tweaked my back is all. I'm fine really," I replied as I walked with less grace than the rusty Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz.
"You may want an x-ray. Looks to me like you
could have a fracture." Ellen had many years of practice in physical therapy and knew the signs and symptoms of fractures. I imagine she could see a big, bright, neon sign over my head blinking on and off, "FRACTURE".
"Nahh, I doubt it. Doesn't hurt that
bad. I'll be fine in a few days," I said.
"You do remember we're leaving for Disney World in a few days, right? We're going with my mother, remember? Do you think you can go?" asked Ellen.
Uh-oh. Inside my mind, I was screaming, "NO WAY! THERE IS NO WAY I CAN GO! RIDE ON A PLANE! BUSES? STAND IN LINE? FAST, BUMPY RIDES? NO WAY!!!!" But, what came out of my mouth was, "Yeah, sure. No problem. I'll be good to go."
I went to Disney World and it was a very difficult trip. When the plane landed in Orlando, I let out a yelp that would make a wolf howling at the moon jealous. The theme parks were very crowded and when someone bumped into me, I would sometimes yell, "Ohhh!" and not realize it was me. Very manly. I went on a Safari ride in a large truck with no suspension over a road with deep ruts, logs, and creeks creating the roughest ride I had ever had in my life. But, it gets better. After we returned, I succumbed, got an x-ray, and sure enough, I had a fracture. About three days later, my wife caught me jogging in the neighborhood.
It's as if there are two voices in your head. One, a rational, logical, Walter Cronkite kind of voice: The Voice of Reason. "Douglas, let's face the facts. You, my friend have a problem. A problem that needs attention. You're broken and you know it. And,that's the way it is." The other, the Voice of Hemotion - a tough, drill Sargent shouting, "Suck it up, don't be a baby, don't let others down." Sometimes you have to do things even though you're hurt; you just don't have a choice (read the View on Playing Hurt). But, many times, you listen to the Voice of Hemotion when it is the Voice of Reason that is the truth; the Voice you must heed.
Why do you ignore the Voice of Reason? Sometimes, you don't want to appear weak or incapable as
if asking for help was like standing on a street corner begging for spare change. And, sometimes it's because accepting the reality of your
condition is just too painful. You would rather complain about the pain
you feel rather than feel the pain of the truth. So, you might run even
though your foot hurts, or you play tennis with a swollen knee, or go to
Disney World with a fractured bone in your back.
Do me a favor and learn something from my poor choices. Learn to hear the Voice of Hemotion and listen to the Voice of Reason. If you hurt persistently, if your joint swells, your body aches, you feel grumpy and despondent, get some help. It doesn't mean you're weak and the only person you're letting down is yourself.
Chances are, the solution is a lot easier than you might think.
PS - Reserve your seat for our next free seminar, Runner's Knee: The Ten Mistakes Athletes Make, on July 18, 2006. This seminar fills up fast. Call 512-206-0433 to register.
PPS - A special thanks to my colleagues Christine Springer, for coining the terrm "hemotion", and Mark Tate for sharing his insights and suggestions.