12:35:08 pm on
Monday 30 Nov 2020

Socks Put On
AJ Robinson


Moe Howard is ecstatic on completing his annual change of socks

The Three Stooges came into my life when I was a young child. As a boy, I got a kick out of their slapstick antics. I remember when Moe said he was going to change his socks and he added that it was going to be an incredible experience.,m

I didn’t get the joke.

At the time, as a boy of about eight, I didn’t get the joke. When I was older, I got the joke. The inference was that Moe changed his socks so infrequently that doing it was an exciting event. Just today, I had a similar feeling when performing the simple ritual of putting on my socks.

The reason has to do with a recent medical issue. As I’m now in my fifties, I’m starting to deal with the problems of getting older. I had a kidney stone. I can’t walk quite as far as I once could. I now have some pinched nerves in my neck.

As a result, I have pain, numbness and loss of strength and dexterity in my left arm. At least it’s my left and not my right, as I’m right-handed. So, I went to my Osteopath; he did a few adjustments to my neck, which helped, but not much.

Next came x-rays. I was not happy with the results. Even just from an x-ray the Osteopath could tell there was trouble in the vertebra of my neck, specifically C4 through C7. To give you some perspective, when Christopher Reeves broke his neck, it was up in like C3.

The Osteopath ordered two more items; an MRI, to see what was going on in my neck, and Physical Therapy (PT), to try to ease the tight muscles, release the nerves and so forth and improve the functionality of my arm. I knew his prescriptions were necessary, as I’d noticed the diminishment in that arm. Doing up buttons was hard, I couldn’t open or close the car door, carrying groceries or any heavy load was nearly impossible; moreover, I couldn’t put on my socks.

My hands won’t work together.

Oh, I could do put on my socks with the right hand. When I tried to slip on the right sock on, my left hand just couldn’t do it and don’t get me started on clipping my fingernails. My left-hand nails are nice and short, but on the right, I’ve got claws.

So, I was more than ready to start. The PT began right away, and the staff was good; walking me through the various exercises to loosen my shoulder muscles, stretch all the arm muscles and help to improve the stretch and dexterity of my hand. I had homework, too; exercises I needed to do each day. I set to work doing them without fail.

Over time, the numbness in my arm diminished; now the numbness is almost gone. The pain vanished; a little of my strength returned. Just this morning was a major advancement. I put on my socks and, to quote Moe, of The Three Stooges, “What an experience.”

Yeah, I know, not such a big deal for most people. There are plenty of people, my ninety-something-years-old mother among them, that are dealing with far tougher PT sessions and goals. For me, today, socks were a big deal.

Later this week, I go back to the Osteopath to learn the results of the MRI. He told me to expect injections to reduce the swelling or surgery. It would be akin to what my wife, Jo Ann, had on her back and she came through it okay; I would hope that’ll be the case for me. If an operation is necessary, that’s okay, too, but the idea of someone poking around my neck makes me nervous.

Not everyone is to know of my plight.

Still, no sense worrying until I must. I most definitely am not telling my mom. For today, I will be glad of my tiny victories, be grateful for what I have. I’ll strive to improve what I can.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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