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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ouch! My shoulder . . .

I've been working with a shoulder injury now for several months, not a rotator cuff tear, thank goodness, but some tendonitis and strained traps and pecs, the result of a combination of poor posture, a lack of follow-through in my swing, and age, so says Jenna, the physical therapist.

Of course, I continued to play golf . . . until swinging the club caused so much pain that I couldn't swing the club.  Then I requested physical therapy.

Then I played golf -- twice -- and re-injured my shoulder.  Then the physical therapist threatened to discharge me for noncompliance.


Desperate not to be sent away and doomed to chronic pain, I agreed to a two-week break from golf, during which I cleaned all my bathrooms, twice, and started on the closets.  I've made multiple trips to the Goodwill store, so the golf break wasn't in vain.  But today was the end of my two-week golf break.  The sun was shining, the wind was light, and the outside thermometer was predicted to pass 60.  Perfect winter golf weather.

I will stop if I hurt myself, I promised as I skipped out the back door swinging my golf purse and smiling.  Probably no more than a little chipping and putting, I lied, just to make my departure from the house a bit easier.

My shoulder felt a little stiff but I didn't have any pain while I warmed up with some soft little chips.  My putting seemed to have weathered my break from golf.  I tried a couple of flop shots.  Everything was still fine.  I took a bigger swing and tried some bump and runs.  Still ok.  I was good to go.

Barb and Cindy and I played together.  Cindy's still rehabbing hew new knee and Barb's fighting a back problem.  What a group!

Cindy teed off.  She went right.  Barb teed off.  She went right.  I couldn't stand it.  Forget chipping and putting.  I pulled out my driver, teed up and took a swing.  I went right, but not as much as Cindy or Barb, and nothing hurt.  I played on,

It happened on my 5th tee shot.  Too much takeaway.  Then I lost control, came down across my body, and sent my ball flying toward the OB line on the left side of the fairway.  We all watched it go, bounce, bounce again, and roll past the white stakes.  I teed up again, took care, lined up, facing 3 off the tee on a par-4, and playing Barb for a dollar-a-hole, our usual wager.  So I took a mighty swing and sent a provisional flying down the center of the fairway.  I also felt a mighty POP in my shoulder, followed by searing pain.

I should have stopped right then and there.  I'd promised I would.  But I didn't.

We went first to retrieve my errant ball, only to find that it wasn't OB.  A bush had stopped it.  So I declared it unplayable, which it was, dropped, and hit my 3rd shot, through some little trees, down into the fairway, about 80 yards from the green, setting up a perfect 8-iron shot for me, directly to the cup.  No more POPs but the pain was excruciating.  I cried.

What do you want to do? Barb asked.

Let's go hit yours and see if it calms down, I told her.

Barb's shot 2nd shot went to the greenside bunker.  I still had a chance to save my dollar.  I pulled out my 8-iron and took a couple of gentle, cautious practice swings.  No popping.  No searing pain.  Just stiffness and regular pain.  I hit the ball and it flew obediently toward the green, keeping clear of the left and right bunkers, putting me within reach of the cup.

I bogeyed.  Barb bogeyed.  Dollar safe.

By agreement, we suspended the match.  I took a break from my big sticks and just chipped and putted on the 6th hole, but the 7th is a par-3, and I was feeling better so I decided to play it.

Of course there was pain but, thankfully, no more popping.  I miss-hit an easy, uphill bump and run and couldn't handle my putter.  It was too heavy.  Even a little putting swing wasn't possible.  I was finished.

I wonder what Jenna, the physical therapist, is going to say tomorrow?  I wonder if I'll be healthy enough to play 9 next Sunday?