Medicina Gymnastica

To conclude, as I am a compound of soul and body, I consider myself as obliged to a double scheme of duties; and think I have not fulfilled the business of the day when I do not thus employ the one in labour and exercise, as well as the other in study and contemplation.

The De Coverley Papers by Joseph Addison

I was today reminded of a drunken Saturday afternoon I spent on Jarvis Street in Toronto many years ago with Lorraine Fry and several others.  We were drinking beer in a low-rent pub and intent upon becoming progressively pissed which we did quite handily from what I recall.  Today was oddly reminiscent of that experience though I hadn’t a drop of alcohol.  Instead we began our day with equal enthusiasm by going to the Golf Club for what can best be described as our “Atkins” breakfast – three fried eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato slices and cheese.  The serving is generous by any standard (at least ten pieces of bacon for example).

Our only mission today was to collect a lamp shade which we had made to order. After we picked that up in Bells Corners and put it into the back seat of the car we trundled along to the grocery store in Stittsville where we renewed our larder and household provisions including toiletries. Somewhere upon our return home to deposit the groceries, etc. we were intrigued by the possibility of getting a lemon cake from the Cake Shop on Wellington Street near Parkdale Avenue in Ottawa. In determining to get the cake we fleshed out the adventure by deciding to go to the Pelican Restaurant on Bank Street in Ottawa South for some fresh oysters and whatever else captured our interest.

When we landed at the Pelican Restaurant it was after one o’clock and there was a welcome dearth of activity (quite unlike our experience on Father’s Day several days ago when we were turned away from the trough). We wasted no time placing our order from the somewhat restricted lunch menu, a dozen oysters each and a lobster roll each, accompanied by hot orange pekoe tea. We motored through that satisfactorily and hastened to accomplish our next objective at the Cake Shop. Luckily we were conveniently afforded a parking space immediately across the street from the Cake Shop. Within moments we were on our way home with our prize.

Back upon Terra Firma we instantly set about devouring our lemon cake and additional large cookie along with fresh strawberries we had earlier purchased from a street vendor in Almonte. It was superb! A glass of milk washed it all down.

Moments later I was asleep on the couch.  I slept for at least an hour. When I awoke, aside from feeling refreshed, I had a gnawing sense of guilt which of course resulted from our many indulgences throughout the day though I was quick to observe that I wasn’t obliged to recover from alcoholic stupidity. The further good news was that I was able to get numerous relieving cracks out of my numb feet. In addition my back felt remarkably less rigid than normal.  It was no accident that we didn’t go for a bike ride today as we normally do. First, the weather was cloudy and partly rainy early this morning; second, I had decided yesterday to see if an abeyance of cycling for at least one day might engender an improvement of my perpetual lower back pain, which apparently it did. I suspect the business of lying on the couch with my feet raised on a firm throw pillow also contributed to the circulation in my legs and thus diminished the customary tightness I endure in my leg calves and hams.

I plan to avoid cycling for at least the next two days, partly because I have appointments on each of those two days, partly because I want to see whether the cycling is in fact the primary cause of much of my muscular discomfort. I am so committed to the value of exercise – and frankly I enjoy bicycling immensely – that it requires great restraint for me to avoid it.  During our winter sojourn on Hilton Head Island bicycling is as much a part of our daily vernacular as the babbling of a television ad.  In the result we end up bicycling practically every day of the year, non-stop, whether on Hilton Head Island or here in Almonte.  Seemingly this has taken its toll upon my anatomy. The time may have come to withdraw from the habit every second day.

Although it was unrelated to my muscular condition, I purchased some cough medicine today in hopes of relieving a minor but annoying lung congestion which has hounded me for at least the past month.  I have had an incessant dry cough characterized by an attempt to get something out of my lungs.  The over-the-counter product called Benylin contains Acetaminophen (Extra Strength) 1000 mg which I can tell after having taken only 30 ml of Benylin seems to be rendering what for the past six weeks (since I quit all prescription and non-prescription drugs) is a welcome relief from constant low-level pain.

In the interest of comprehending my condition and its alleviation I am bound to note that for the past two weeks I have had two massages by a registered massage therapist. The work he did yesterday on my left lower back may well have contributed to a moderation of the customary rigidity I endure.