News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Body screaming message about getting older

Eight days.

Thatís how long it took to recover the feeling in my big toe.

No, nothing fell on it and I didnít accidentally kick the nightstand in the dark.

It just went numb while I was installing hardwood floors in the living room.

I donít understand the connection between floor installation and tingling toes, but it may have something to do with aging.

Our bodies have a way of telling us enough is enough. Mine has been speaking volumes lately.

The volume went up late last month after a hot and hilly 72-mile bicycle ride. A ďfriendĒ talked me into riding south on the Natchez Trace Parkway from Alabama to the Mississippi state line, then north to the Tennessee state line, then back to the car.

On the drive home the worst leg cramp of my life struck.

If you saw a sweaty, sunburned, middle-aged man dancing around a car somewhere near Danville on that hot August day, please donít tell anybody.

In the days immediately following the worst leg cramp of my life, we began the flooring project. The intent was quality flooring without the installation cost.

There is a reason that floor installation is expensive. I now know that reason.

For two straight weeks I worked at my paying job by day and crawled around the living room floor by night.

First, we had to remove the old flooring and glue. Then, we had to apply the new glue and install the flooring, trim, baseboards and shoe mould.

Every inch of my body ached — with the exception of my big toe, which tingled.

I feel blessed and realize many people have real health problems. I donít take health for granted because it can vaporize in an instant.

But during an annual physical exam last week, I complained about my minor aches and pains to Dr. Stephen Harbin.

I donít recover as quickly from exercising, I told him. My big toe is numb. My joints ache. My knees creak.

He flashed a smile and I knew what he was thinking. Itís part of getting older.

From the top of my thinning hair to the tip of my tingling toe, the old body has been talking to me lately. Itís telling me to sit down with a bottle of Gatorade and take a break every now and then. Itís telling me to enjoy a 20-minute nap. Itís telling me that itís OK to rest.

Iím trying to listen, but thereís a lot to do.

Scott Morris is managing editor.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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