The pain is always there. It’s bad when he sits down and worse when he stands up and worst of all when he lies down. During the days, he oscillates back and forth between perching stiffly on the couch and awkwardly pacing the floor. During the nights, he passes sleepless hours stretching and contorting his body this way and that, looking for a comfortable position that doesn’t exist. None of the painkillers make any difference, not even the T3s they gave him for his shoulder, which are usually enough to chase any ache for a couple of hours. Nothing drives away this pain, though. It’s always there.
A hamstring pull, the doctor says, but he’s not sure. Like so many pains, it doesn’t conform exactly to the textbook definition, doesn’t seem to start exactly where it ought to, doesn’t respond exactly the way you’d think. He’s tried pills and he’s tried massages and he’s tried exercises and now he’s trying electro-acupuncture, long needles buzzing deep in the tissue, trying to tense or release something twisted far beneath the layers of skin and fat and muscle. It’s close to the bone, this pain, dug way down into the nerves. He hopes it’s nothing more than a pull.
Whatever the cause, the doctor is sure of one thing: no hockey. Absolutely no hockey. Not until it’s better. When will it be better? The doctor doesn’t know. One day at a time. One treatment at a time. No sooner than mid-January. Possibly later.