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Years ago, I realised that as we achieve higher and higher birthday numbers (yes, this is just a nice way to say we get older), time seems to whiz past faster and faster. This summer reconfirmed this belief for me. It seems as if it was just yesterday when I (more or less) moved onto Amélie for the summer, and now it is already October. My summer was (again, more or less) the opening of Dicken’s novel A Tale of Two Cities. Being on the boat all summer was incredibly good for me. My exercise regime went into warp-drive and I found myself swimming and rowing daily, and to greater and greater distances. But as September arrived, I also found that I had somehow totally and completely buggered up my left arm. Common sense would dictate that I should be able to figure out how this occurred, but swimming is such a non-stressing exercise, at times, I have been mystified how paddling off to do a mile one or two times a day would cause so much grief for my left appendage. Having said that, rowing Améliña, my dinghy that admittedly wasn’t designed as a rowing machine, could have been seriously counter-productive, especially at the distances I was rowing her. After having to stop these two methods of being healthier due to my fear of tearing something that shouldn’t be torn, I finally decided to find out what was going on. And because I have a computer, I went first to Dr. Google.

According to a website (one of the potential 257,000 results that popped up) I found the following bit of information. “Many tears are the result of a wearing down and fraying of the tendon that occurs slowly over time. This naturally occurs as we age. It can be worsened by overuse - repeating the same shoulder motions again and again.” Right. This explanation must have been clearly written by someone who is the Head of the Anti-Rowing-and-Swimming League; so with that less-than-good news, I then decided to throw away my computer (not really) and get someone to see if they could somehow magically reduce the pain I had been living with. Yesterday, the knock on my door signalled the arrival of Maria.

Maria is una masajista (trained massage therapist) who was recommended to me by a couple of friends. She arrived at Sol y Mar yesterday afternoon, complete with massive carry bag that contained her massage table/bed/thing and an assortment of tools of her trade. After explaining my problem to her – in itself an interesting thing as she began by telling me that her English was limited to a few words, and as we know, I am not exactly as fluent in Spanish as I would like – she set up the table and told me to climb on. She then began to (not sure if the appropriate adjective here is ‘gently’ or ‘forcefully’) massage my back and arm with a passion that almost sent me into dreamland. At times, her finger movement did result in a non-Dr. Mengele level of pain that did result in me staying awake. Other than that, the experience was better than good.

After what seemed to be either a minute, or an hour, I began to be aware that there was the incense wafting through the air. This awareness corresponded with the sensation of heat being applied to wherever her hands were working. Maria had begun to use two thin metal tubes with burning incense in them, which understandably felt as hot as molten silver being applied to my arm. And then, sadly, she was done and left Sol y Mar in the downpour that had erupted outside after she had arrived. I awoke this morning, wondering if my arm would be better. My first thought was that if it was better, I could roll out of bed and plunge into the sea and do sort of a ‘make-up’ mile to compensate for my recent lack of swimming activity. But as I realised that, whilst my arm did feel better, moving it certain ways still showed that there was something amiss. This realisation hit me about the same time I remembered that I wasn’t onboard Amélie and in fact, yesterday, my friend Rafa and I had moved Amélie from the wonderful swinging mooring she was on to the marina at Club de Vela in el Puerto de Andratx.

Sometimes things just don’t go as one has planned, and even though Maria’s magic fingers did make my arm feel a bit better, the pain was still there. So, feeling that enough was enough, I went to see a specialist to try to figure out what was going on. I have always had high regard for competent people, and the specialist I saw fell into that category. After my usual ‘’my Spanish is crap, do you speak English’’ question, to which he said no, I soldiered on in Spanish, describing (or trying to describe) the pain in my arm. He had me stand up and asked me to put my left arm behind my back, which was pretty difficult. He then took his thumb and pressed a spot on my shoulder, only to hear me exclaim in the universally understood, ‘arrrrgh.’ Right. Easy-peasy (he didn’t say that, but that does rather describe how tricky his diagnosis was. Torn tendon. Wonderful. He even made a drawing for me that explained what happened, and then told me I needed to have an MRI and then with some luck, an injection of cortisone. He alluded to the fact that the injection would only work out if the tendon was seriously ripped up. So, hopefully by the end of this week, the MRI will be completed and I will be all cortisoned up and back to normal (or at least my version of normal).

Moving the boat to a marina is an acknowledgement that summer is indeed slipping away. Now for those of you that don’t live in a climate as I do, the term ‘summer’ carries different meanings. Here, warm weather and virtually constant sun continues almost to the end of the year, and for some of you, ‘summer’ seems to last for a couple of hours on one day in August. When winter actually does arrive here, it sets up an almost contradiction in visual terms. Tourists from northern Europe arrive in the dead of winter and instantly throw on shorts and sandals and can be seen walking about in Palma thriving on how warm and wonderful it is. But for those of us who live here throughout the year, the weather is relatively despressingly vile and we are all bundled up with long pants and jumpers. Luckily, it isn’t winter yet.

The actual reason that I move Amélie to a marina at this time of year is that, ever since I have had Amélie, I have seen that one or two fools have kept their boats at anchor in the harbour, only to discover that the winter winds and storms that blow in from the southwest have sort of ‘moved’ their boats closer to shore. Actually, what I should say is that each winter at least one boat that was left on a mooring has ended up smashed on the rocks along the shoreline. Being in a marina is just a safer place to be, and does allow me to still go onboard and enjoy the gentle movement of Amélie. Besides, I can always take her out and putz about the island if I want to. The chances of this in reality are about as good as me winning the lotto, but I am sure I will pop over to Andratx once in a while to sit on the deck and read (well after I have made Amélie all sparkly clean. This is a far better solution than leaving Amélie on her swinging mooring and at some point having to ring my insurance people and tell them that my boat is now on the rocks in many pieces and then asking them if they would kindly send me a check.

 

 

just wondering who actually uses libraries anymore

 

the first of several random Sol y Mar photos

 

 

another random Sol y Mar photo from this week

 

 

anoche a Sol y Mar

 

the pseudo MRI of my shoulder

 

 

one of the last nights on the swinging mooring

 

 

Amélie (sadly) in the marina

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011  James B. Rieley

jbrieley@rieley.com