A Therapist Airs Her Dirty Laundry

Earlier this week I posted a photo of three days’ worth of dirty massage linens – stacked up into a pile that was taller than the washing machine.

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First off, kudos to those clients who recognized their linens from last week! The Lumosity is paying off!

Second off, some of you apparently think that I’m exaggerating (you are wrong) or that I have no intention of actually washing and drying and folding, and washing and drying and folding, all through the Thanksgiving holiday (you are wrong about this, too).

For those who think your massage ends when you slide off the table … a relaxed bowl of melted muscles … I assure you, I’m thinking of you as I do the laundry. Every weekend. And, when pillowcases are in dangerous short supply, often at 5:30 in the morning.

(Yes, some of your linens are warm on the table because they were in the dryer at 6 a.m. that morning. And, I swear to you, if you hustle them into a laundry basket right out of the dryer, they will hold heat for hours.)

If you are one of my massage clients, know that I love you.

That’s why I do the laundry and fluff and fold it … at dawn and on my day off. I don’t mind. Really.

(Folding linens is a much nicer and far more productive task than all those office meetings and “brainstorming” sessions I sat through in an earlier life.)

But, here’s what you may not know.

Those linens? The warm, luxurious flannels? The light cotton ones? The sweet pinky plaids? At some point you indicated that you liked them.

You like being toasty warm during your session? You get my warmest, coziest set and the table warmer is set to “high”. You battle hot flashes and want the cool light blue ones? Check! You like the pink plaid ones, because, because they are so lovable and so pink? Sometimes, I’ll hold them out of the rotation for days just so they are ready for you.

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The ever-popular Pink Plaids.

I pick your sheets just for you. It’s crazy, but when I see a set roll out of the dryer, I think of you.

Some of those flannels are wearing thin. Some sets last a season, some have lasted for more than a decade (2003 was an exceptionally good year for ever-soft and resilient Wal-Mart flannels.)

Some sheets have been torn apart by our new “high efficiency” washer.

Tearing my sheets apart is not efficient, stupid Washing Machine.

So, I’ve cobbled together “new” sets with top and bottom sheets that sorta, kinda match. (If you get an unmatched set, I have decided that you are a thoughtful client who will appreciate, and maybe even be amused by, my thriftiness.)

Lately, I’ve told a few clients, “This is it. I’m not buying any more linens. When these fall apart, I’m closing up shop.”

I said it sort of jokingly, but I was surprised by the response.

One of my clients (Pink Plaids) was angry. “That’s a ridiculous thing to say.”

One of my clients (Extra-Soft Medium Blue) was startled. “Really? Really? When? What are you going to do?”

(My response: “Write about baseball.” Which requires going to games, eating popcorn, and heckling umpires. And, where “spin cycle” refers only to my explanations about why Jim Johnson’s series of blown saves last season only shows what a great pitcher he is all the other times. He really is. Please don’t trade him, Baltimore.)

OK, the linen thing was sort of a joke. But, maybe not. It seems as good a barometer as any. (OK, my elbow is probably a better barometer, but watching the linens fray away is more fun.)

A Sad Postscript … Thanksgiving Tragedy for Lime Green Cozy Flannels.

Even using “slow spin”, Inefficient Washing Machine tore the top sheet to shreds today. Shreds.

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Stevie surveys the carnage.

A shame. I really liked that Lime Green Flannel set. We had some good times. She never complained and never called in sick. I’ll miss her.

But, as you can see here …

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And, here …

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I’ve still got a ways to go.

Baseball Free …

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Things I’ve learned in the past three baseball-less weeks.

Did you know it only takes four seconds to put the toilet paper roll on the hanger in the bathroom?  I had forgotten that that’s what that little wall bracket thingy is for. Did you know that you can do that every time you start a new roll?

Now, with no baseball to watch, I suddenly have all sorts of time to do the things that I haven’t done for awhile.

Like catch up on my People magazines.

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Have you heard the news? Kim and Kanye are getting married! Ahhh, precious young love. So sweet and pure and true.

(Dear San Francisco Giants, you should be ashamed … whoring out AT&T Park like that. But, don’t worry, Hunter Pence, I still love you.)

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“If you wanna be a Hunter’s Hitter, you’re gonna have a lot of movement. Like a hungry man chasing a taco.”

(Really, you must watch this. Now. I’ll wait.)

And, tidy up the workplace.

These linens don’t wash themselves.

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(Warning To Future Massage Therapists: This is three days’ worth of laundry. They don’t tell you about this in Massage School, do they?  Yeh, happy folding, Sucker.)

And, look what happened while I was watching baseball … the barn is finished!

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And, in fairness to Barn Dude, he did finish it before the World Series, just as he promised. (Hey, Barn Dude, are you reading this? I still need a shelf in there!)

Cold, heavy rain all last night. It’s clearly not baseball season anymore. So, I was just about to count the days until Pitchers and Catchers report (78) when this Tweet from Jaye popped up.

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I only have a few Twitter followers, and most of them are obscure overseas marketers trying to sell me something – like saris. Apparently, I’m the only Yoga teacher who doesn’t wear a Sari.

(But, I’ll wear a Sari before I’ll ever wear Lululemon.)

Jaye is a blogger, too. And, a really good one … read her, ok?

Her Tweet reminded me that I hadn’t written in awhile. Mainly because what is there to say on a baseball blog when there is no baseball?

The bulk of off-season baseball stories are about players seeking tens of millions of dollars.

(Which is better than stories about players being bullies. So, there is that.)

Or, the Washington Nationals asking the D.C. government to give them $300 million for a retractable roof.

Which leads me to these points.

Point #1. If you can’t play baseball outside, then maybe you shouldn’t be playing baseball. (Florida and Arizona, you have Spring Training … ALL the teams are there every spring.  And, you have the Fall League! Isn’t that enough for you?) And, Houston Astros, if the Texas Rangers can play outside, why can’t you? (And, Toronto, Seattle, Milwaukee? Oh, never mind …)

Point #2. Really, Nationals? A retractable roof is going to put you in the playoffs? Why not spend $300 million on Robinson Cano? Or, two Carlos Beltrans?

Editor/Husband says that $300 million for a retractable roof seems reasonable to him. (This conversation really happened: Me: “Hey, you can have 30 Jim Johnsons for that.” He: “If only he were retractable.” “I don’t know what that means.” “I don’t either.”)

Point #3. The Mayor laughed at the Nats’ request. Laughed. And, someone in his office said the roof would be “butt ugly.” So, uh, I guess that means no roof?

Point #4. Editor/Husband says my stubbornness about indoor baseball is similar to the outcry over lights at baseball parks and the first night games. The first major league night game was in 1935. (He remembers this? Editor/Husband is much older than I thought.)

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Lights. Clouds. Sky.

Things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving? Just 78 days ’til Pitchers & Catchers report.  Happy Thanksgiving!

My Elbow. Manny Machado’s Knee.

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Manny Machado. August 20, 2013 vs. the Oakland A’s. Photo Credit: me!

Two years ago I tore up the tendons in my left elbow. Giving too many massages, going a little too deep, doing a little too much. (Trust me, massage may be peaceful on the outside, but it’s brutal on the inside.)

Each time I did a massage, my arm ached. The discomfort was one thing, but the emotional toll was, in many ways, much worse. What if I am doing permanent damage? What if I can’t do massage anymore? What if it hurts forever?

When a doctor diagnosed it as “pitcher’s elbow” I thought, well, that’s pretty cool – if I’m going to have a stupid injury it might as well be a baseball one.

It took more than a year, but today that elbow is nearly good as new (thanks mostly to Yoga, laser therapy, and patience). Nearly. But, now the right elbow is torn up … same thing, different arm.

So the cycle begins again.

Which brings me to my broken heart.

As the post-season hopes for the Baltimore Orioles grew dimmer and dimmer this weekend, their third-baseman Manny Machado was badly injured on Monday in a freakish knee twist that came as he was running to first base. His season is over.

He looked stricken far beyond the physical pain. (I think he started to cry.) And, I wonder if the physical pain was as bad as the emotional pain? What about next season? How bad is it? How long will it take? What if it doesn’t get better? To go from Superstar to disabled list on a stupid, routine play.

I’ve been an Orioles fan for nearly 30 years. And, in all that time, I have only one Orioles shirt with a number on it, with a name. I never even got a Cal Ripken jersey (although I’d be proud to wear one). I celebrate the team. I don’t like getting bogged down in picking a favorite player.

(Players can let you down. I’m looking at you, Rafael Palmeiro.)

Until last year, when I got this …

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Manny Machado – the barely 21-year-old poster child for the Orioles’ exciting and bright future — made me break my rule.

Because he hits doubles like crazy. And, does amazing things like this

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And, this

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Nowadays, when my elbow feels good, everything is good. But, when my elbow feels bad, which is still a lot of the time, I get frustrated. I worry about the quality of the massage I am giving. I worry about the long-term damage I might be causing.

I love what I do. What will I do, if I can’t do this?

My office is in a small rural community. I keep my massage prices low so people can afford me. So I see a lot of clients from all walks – many dealing with chronic pain from repetitive stress and work-related damage. Pain much worse than my crabby elbow tendons.

Construction workers, butchers, ranchers and farmers, plumbers, nurses, truck drivers, carpenters, mail carriers, police officers, piece workers.

All I can hope to do is try to take the edge off for them, to work out the sticky places, loosen things up, and maybe give them some brief relief.

One client, who deals with daily pain from her job, said to me recently, “There’s no other jobs out there. I can’t afford to lose this one.” She worries every night that she won’t be able to “hold together” enough to work.

I suppose Manny thought some of those same sorts of things. From invincible to injured in a blink.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether you make a million dollars or just scrape by. Injury is the great equalizer.

It can take away your job and your paycheck. It can take away something you love. Just like that.

But, there’s some good news.

Manny’s MRI showed a tear to a ligament that helps stabilize and protect the kneecap. A painful injury, but one that generally heals on its own after six to eight weeks of rest and rehab. It could have been much worse.

I’m not 21 anymore. Healing is much better, much faster, when you’re 21, like Manny.

And, Manny has access to resources that many of us don’t. He has a team of doctors and therapists who will help him recover. (Hopefully, he has an awesome massage therapist. And, yoga therapist. And, if not … well, I hope the Orioles finally look me up.)

So, no worries, Manny … my heart is broken for you today. But, I know you’ll heal. You have to. Baseball’s no fun without you.

And, for those of us who hurt a little – or a lot – doing what we love, we want you to get better. We need you to get better. So you can inspire us to heal, too.