The Rockwood Files: High mileage

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

When I was growing up, we kept our navy blue Pontiac Bonneville a long time – mostly out of necessity and partly because my mother had a hard time letting go of things, including cars, empty Cool Whip bowls and every picture I ever colored in the second grade.

At one point, the car’s headliner – that fabric on the ceiling of the car’s interior – started to pull away from the roof and sag down like an inverted parachute. Before it got low enough to brush against the tops of our heads, we performed a do-it-yourself fix using thumbtacks. We spaced them out evenly which created a quilted appearance, and we used gold thumbtacks, which did not add the touch of class we were hoping for.

From that point on, the car had a series of things go wrong with it until finally the fixes cost more than the car was worth, so Mom and Dad were forced to get a new one. No one was happier to see that old car go than I was – dumb old car with its dumb old problems.

But now I feel bad about looking down on that dumb old car. Because now I am that dumb old car, experiencing my own series of malfunctions on the highway of life.

It started a few months ago when I woke up one morning and limped my way to the bathroom. The bottom of my left foot felt like it had a permanent cramp in it. It was weak and sore and completely unwilling to be used like a regular foot. I chalked it up to a pulled muscle and assumed it would go away in a day or two. It didn’t.

Two weeks of limping to the bathroom convinced me to Google the problem which led me to a WebMD page about plantar fasciitis, which really is as unpleasant as it sounds. Part of the suggested treatment was wearing orthopedic insoles, which really are as uncool as they sound. So off I went to Walmart to stand on that foot-analyzing Dr. Scholl’s machine in the pharmacy, hoping nobody I knew would walk by while I stood there getting my new insoles.

After a week of using the insoles and stretching my foot, I felt good enough to start walking again for exercise. It was just a few fast walking sessions – not a marathon, not a 5K, not even a slow jog. But after a week of walking, I woke up with a strange pain in my hip – bad enough to send me to Dr. Google once again. The diagnosis? Hip bursitis. Then I checked my birth certificate to make sure I was actually 42 and not 82 because the word “bursitis” does not line up with my youthful outlook on life.

The treatment for my mid-life bursitis is Advil and rest, which is great because I’m an excellent “rester.” No one avoids exercise as well as I do.

But the cherry on top of my broken-down sundae came last week when I felt this mysterious hitch in my ribs – almost like something is stuck in there. It’s more annoying than painful, mostly because it’s a constant reminder of this gradual yet inevitable “wearing out” process that happens to all of us sooner or later.

I haven’t Googled the rib problem yet but I’m pretty sure one of my ribs is out of line, a problem my chiropractor can hopefully help remedy. If not, I may try putting it back in place with a gold thumbtack.

After all, it worked for that old Pontiac.

gwen-headshot-2014Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.