Hodge: Shuswap expedition leads to painful rehabilitation

Advice to readers: Please read today’s column at a reduced speed as it was typed with one hand. If for some reason it does still not make any sense reread it with your left eye only. Thank you.

Canoe Elbow is a relatively painful affliction—somewhat similar I imagine to tennis elbow or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome except  it involves a canoe and not a tennis racket or tunnel.

At the moment, I’m attempting to recover from Canoe Elbow and the journey back from the edge of agony has been, well, painfully slow.

Most of you have never heard of canoe elbow. In fact, probably all of you have never heard of it. The reason for that is simple. I made it up —all by myself.

My doctor is a lovely man—and very doctorish. His assistant is even lovelier and his staff very professional and nice.

However, since being significantly reminded a few months back that my ‘other’ job—aside from writing silly columns—is only a ‘part-time’ job, I have had to budget more part-timish.

To reduce my day-to-day overhead, I have decided to cut back on some costs, including visits to the doctor. I now do my own health diagnosis and recommend rehabilitation programs.

The first real task for a doctor is to analyze the injury and research the cause of the wound. Simple stuff for me because I know how I got where I am. I went canoeing on Sunday. It wasn’t really the canoeing that caused the problem, it was the fact that I’d not canoed much in the past five years—and then without warming up set out on a 20-mile paddle down the Shuswap River.

I blame it mostly on A.J and James the Painter, and a little bit on Teresa but only when she is not listening.

When A.J and Jim suggested Teresa and I test out our new (second hand beat-up garage sale special) canoe by joining them on an ‘easy’ little river run we jumped at the idea.

Getting to the Shuswap is as much an adventure as the canoe ride itself,  but the real fun began in the water.

It took me less than two minutes in the water to remember that you do not want to get cross-winds or go sideways in a fast flowing river.

With no major damage done to the bottom of our vessel or ourselves, Tez and I quickly extracted ourselves from the rocky, snag infested sand bar and paddled our way to where A.J and James were smirkingly waiting in the watercraft.

“I figure we will go about 11 kilometres,” A.J. announced.

“Perfect,” we responded, forgetting that A.J. is not great with math-like calculations,

Seven hours, some 20 miles, and several beverages later, we arrived at the last pullout before the end of the universe. Just in time for fly-feast.

Canoe Elbow never showed up until the next morning. My first sign that something was wrong was that I could not bend it. That was followed by the agonizing knife-like pain that ran from the elbow to the fingertips.

Immediately my mind recognized the symptom of Canoe Elbow.

It’s been four days now and the pain is slowly subsiding, which affirms to me that my medical diagnosis and rehab is working. (The nice thing about being your own doctor aside from saving money is that if you do not like your diagnosis or healing plan—you can simply change it).

My rehab has been simple. No more raking of the yard, moving of crush around the pathways, sweeping of floors, or vacuuming (not that I ever do – but just in case I get asked).

In addition, I have ordered myself plenty of rest and mild arm exercises. My favourite is the one that sees me hold a small object like a 12-ounce aluminum can, filled with liquid (to start) and then slowly bend the elbow raising the can towards my mouth, I repeat this until the liquid is gone —then repeat with another full can.

I have noticed that the more I do this the less the elbow hurts— until morning when the pain has shifted somewhat to the head. It is important to keep the weighted exercise cans on ice so that when one is being used the elbow can sit in the empty space in the ice bucket.

I figure that the injury may be healed by next weekend, which is good because A.J and Jim mentioned something about the Kettle River next week.Oh well, when the going gets tough the tough get going.





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