Costa Rica 13 -- October 12, 2005
I tried to blame it on Larry

By Bob Corbett

I tried to blame it on Larry, but it just wouldnít stick. I woke up about 4 AM and had to use the bathroom, but when I rolled over to get up I had a terrible back pain, I could barely get out of bed, the pain was just so sharp.

I know lots of people have back pain routinely. I donít. Very very rarely. Back in the 30+ years I lived in Webster Groves I used wood as a significant part of our winter heating source. It was a great place to do it. Webster is filled with huge trees and tree companies are always at work on them. They have to pay dumping fees to haul trees away, so they were more than happy to dump nicely cut log lengths in my yard. I could even be very picky most of the year and only accept oak, maple or other easy splitting hard woods. If it got to be autumn and I didnít have 4-5 full ricks up, I would condescend to take elm, but hated to. It is very hairy when you split it and takes so much time. The other hard woods are fun. They cleave like smacked glass when you hit it hard in the middle with a splitting maul.

At least twice in those days I hurt my back splitting wood. But that was years ago. And even more years before than I had hurt my back in soccer a couple times. In the past 10 years I can only remember a couple relatively minor back pains.

So this worried me. I made it to the bathroom, and back to bed, but couldnít sleep any more anyway. Laying down was fine, and even turning over gingerly. But it hurt. I fell back asleep for about 1/2 hour and then was up for the day.

I wanted to blame Larry. If I hadnít moved that ladder to get those numbers on that blasted airplane, ..... and so on. But I knew that blame would never stick. It wasnít moving the ladder. After I did that, I walked down that whole mountain and in sum, 6 more miles yesterday and felt in top shape when I went to bed.

It was my dream. Yep. My dream. I rarely dream. Very rarely. I had a marvelous next door neighbor in Webster, a Roman Catholic nun and psychologist, Katie Kelly. She and I used to argue about everything, and sit on my front porch with a glass of wine or two and just intellectually fight about everything. Dreaming was a major issue. Katie was a Franklian and into dreams. (A student of the work of Viktor Frankl, Austrian psychologist.) But she talked about REM -- rapid eye movement -- as being the sign or evidence of dreams and claimed we all dreamed every night. I would just go crazy. I may be a philosopher, member of a discipline renowned for obscure language, but many of us in philosophy are deeply committed to common sense language, if not ideas. I used to argue with Katie that I didnít give a hang about REM, for me a dream was when you woke up you knew something went on in your head and you could say at least something about it. You won the lottery, or your aunt died, or you cat ate the dog, something. None of this silly REM for me.

And thus in my sense of REAL dreams, I only have about 4-5 a year. I rarely dream. Last night I did. It seemed like right before I woke up I did. I was driving a car, which is odd since I donít even own a car. But I was driving my fatherís old 1988 Chevy Caprice, but I was driving it somewhere here. The road was one of these gravelly roads, not really paved, just compacted gravel over dirt. It was gleaming wet. A daily experience I have. I was trying to get the car going and it would start and conk out. All of that was perfectly real-seeming and corresponded to real life. Then the car started up and started to sputter and I gunned it, and the car started sliding sideways. Now that was real dream stuff. The car might in reality spin, or slip in place, but it wouldnít go sliding sideways as though it were on ice, but it did in the dream and I was quickly approaching a side concrete/stone wall. I slammed on the brakes, which was rather silly, since I was sliding sideway toward the wall, and the passenger side was going to hit, but I wasnít going fast so it wasnít going to hit hard, but I lunged somehow to get out of the way -- out of the way of what? I was, figuratively and literally in the drivers seat.

I donít know if the car hit, but I woke up with a very sore back, and thatís what I think did it, the dream and not Larryís ďassignment.Ē

I managed to both shave and shower. The shaving hurt more than the shower, but that may be because the shock of that ice water overrides other pain. I got dressed but had a terrible time tying my shoes. I was worried about what this would do to my day (days???) Yech. I even thought about trying to go to this massage therapist who advertises around town since there doesnít seem to be a chiropractor in town. But, $50 or so.... I did what I almost always do when some health issue arises. Wait it out. My mom taught me that. A simply great and wonderful woman and mother, but she simply didnít believe in illness. It was taken to be a moral weakness. You just got out of bed and lived your day. No nonsense with mom around.

I walked and hurt a bit, but not nearly as bad now that I was up, and dressed and went out. I walked so slowly, and walked stiffly as though I had a board strapped from my neck to my rump. But I walked to the coffee house about 6 blocks away and was feeling decent, not great, still walking so slowly.

I read there an hour and then walked back home in the soft rain. Still feeling better. An hour later, it was only mildly painful, but I thought, no more exercise today, light day, I'll ride the bus over to Manuel Antonio to get my bags of fresh pineapple and bananas. (I first only purchased pineapple from this guy, two bags every other day. then he gave me that neat two bananas in the same skin I told you about, and after than I brought bananas too. Today he gave me an orange and a tangerine to try. Probably now my bag of fruit will get bigger each day).

I walked to the bus stop and was feeling decent, but getting up into the bus hurt, it is high up. As we rode up the mountain, I could tell I was doing so much better, so I said: Iíll ride 3/4 down the mountain, then get off when the hill isnít quite so steep and walk the rest of the way to get in at least a mile of walking. But, by the time we got on the very top, and thatís where the airplane is, on the very top of the mountain, I was really feeling good and twisting and turning and not hurting. Next thing I knew I had wrung the bell and was getting off. Getting down wasnít easy, long way down.

I did check at the plane site again. Same guys who saw me, started laughing and wagging their finger at me, no doubt saying, stay away from our ladder.

By the way, Larryís surmise the plane may have crash landed had actually occurred to me the very first time I saw it. I canít imagine any other way it could have gotten to the absolute top of this mountain.

So, I walked down all the way into Manuel Antonio, to the beach and am happy to report the back is just fine and I have already logged 2.87 miles of walking today. I didnít walk back up the mountain, just down it. But now Iíll go walking the flat road along Queposís waterfront to finish up my miles for the day.

Itís very hot now and today is a big soccer day. Games all afternoon. I know because of that they wonít show Cardinals baseball, but world cup qualifiers. Wish I could see England play Austria, but they will no doubt show the game of Costa Rica vs. Guatemala, though the game means nothing, Costa Rica has already clinched 3rd place and Guatemala is out of the competition.

And Iím just delighted to have my full walking capacity back!

Bob Corbett




Bob Corbett