Saturday, June 12, 2021

‘Cracking up’ in body and mind

| January 24, 2021 12:00 AM

As the old year morphed into the new one, I’d carried a round of physical therapy forward as well. Seems I’d developed a tennis elbow, a condition whose root cause can be tough to determine, but is easy to diagnose.

It was odd, however, that it was in my non-dominant right elbow and I haven’t been playing any tennis. The elbow had developed a persistent “cracking” months ago, which I thought was nothing more than aurally comical. By September it had begun to ache; I felt a bit foolish when I finally made an appointment in November with the orthopedic center to have it checked out, picturing myself dashing into the building, knocking wheelchairs over and kicking crutches out from under patients, exclaiming “Outta my way! I have a cracking, achy elbow!”

I was prescribed a series of twice-weekly PT sessions stretching through the holidays — and on both Christmas and New Year’s eves. It was humbling to see some of the other clients’ conditions. One appointment I held the door open for a young woman in a wheelchair being pushed by her husband with three small children in tow. I can only imagine what it took to get that family out the door and into, and out of, the car.

My therapist, however, graciously reassured me I was wise to have my elbow treated now to avoid a worsening condition down the road.

Though somewhat sheepish about my minor condition, I kept up with PT and home exercises, switched my mouse to my left hand; my day-to-day routine otherwise largely uninterrupted, other than the absolute certainty that just rising from bed each morning would elicit a resounding crack.

Perhaps between the annoying elbow issue and all the time spent working from home I’ve gotten a bit loopy. Maybe we all have.

Here’s a few recent “overheard in the Marino household” moments:

• While folding clothes one day my husband walked past the room, and asked how I was doing. I enthusiastically answered, “Great! These pairs of underwear are practically folding themselves!”

• One evening while we were standing in the kitchen talking, we went into a laughing fit because I didn’t realize I was inadvertently holding my cellphone so it was shining on his face and asked him why his face was glowing.

• The other day while cleaning out some bins in our bedroom closet I discovered a forgotten package of pistachios, one of Jim’s favorite treats, that I’d hidden away intended for his Christmas stocking. That evening before dinner he bounced into the living room and stated with the joy of a 3-year-old, “I’m going to put pistachios in my soup!” After my eyebrows climbed to the top of my forehead, he revised that. “I mean my salad!” We’re still cracking up.

At least we’ve managed to not take ourselves too seriously and keep our sense of humor in spite of everything that’s happening in the world around us.

Did I mention my right shoulder has started popping?

Community Editor Carol Marino can be reached at