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Over 60…And Getting Younger: December 24, 2010


“Be careful- don’t fall, we can’t afford it!”

These are the words of warning that my beautiful wife Lorraine blesses me with every day. Whether I am going out to bring in the newspapers, or take out the trash or the yellow recycling barrel, these warnings ring in my ears. Usually I am watchful and circumspect in my approach to the dangers and hazards of suburban living, so these cautionary words are not necessary.

Two weeks ago on a Monday evening, I was just sitting down at a card table for a gin-rummy game with three other distinguished gentlemen. We play for small stakes, and so it is not an expensive or dangerous game.

As I slid into my chair in the clubhouse to begin play, I heard a huge pop in the vicinity of my right knee. I was sure everybody in the large room heard the noise, but no one stopped playing mahjong, poker, or canasta to look over in my direction.

I have never before injured myself in playing sports. Since childhood, I have been an active participant in baseball, punchball, basketball and schoolyard football. In my later years, I added tennis to my sports regimen. Not once did I ever receive an injury that would disqualify me from the activity I was pursuing. How could I hurt myself sitting down to a clubhouse game of gin-rummy?

I did not remove myself from the game, even though the pain in my right knee started to build. I think I even won $18 in the game.

Upon returning home, I should have placed an ice pack on the knee to reduce swelling and pain, but I did not. For the next two weeks, I limped a lot and the pain increased, especially at night. I was truly concerned.

My wife, Lorraine arranged an appointment with an orthopedic physician. I envisioned only the worst: a knee replacement, or some other dire consequence. The doctor had X-rays taken in his office and he pronounced, “Nothing serious, only a slight tear.”

Lorraine and I were both relieved.

“Take extra-strength Tylenol, walk a lot, no more tennis, and return in four weeks to recheck the damaged knee.”

Ice packs are the only treatment that gives me pain relief. Sleeping is still difficult. I still get little pops in my knee as the bones shift. I am OK.

How did I injure myself in a gin-rummy game, is the burning question? I am chastened!