After 40 Years of Racquetball, Tennis Does Me In! Now What?

In 1974 I was attending the Navy’s Weather Observing School in Lakehurst, NJ. The official name given by the Navy to its Weather Guessers is Aerographers Mates. Navy installations back then were devoted to maintaining good morale and had an entire workforce of civilians and military workers assigned to the departments titled Morale, Welfare and Recreation or MWR. Looking back, I can easily say the Navy didn’t cut many corners keeping their sailors happy with offerings of recreational opportunities. They excelled at keeping us entertained and well occupied. Once I completed schooling and sent to the fleet, I quickly discovered, in addition to Navy Guam’s great MWR program, we also had beer machines in our barracks recreation room, along with a pool table, table tennis and cable TV. Okay, I’m digressing here and I’ll steer back towards the subject. Like all young Navy school students, The enjoyment of our free time outside of class and on weekends was important. For me, I usually found my self at the enlisted club with my classmates during the evenings, and at the gym most other times, where I learned to play racquetball. It was there I was bitten by that bug and I’ve been playing racquetball ever since.

Playing Tennis in Calbayog City
Playing Tennis in Calbayog City

Here it is some 40 years later and I am living here in the Philippines and, with the support of the World Outdoor Racquetball organization (WOR), I am voluntarily charged with launching the sport of outdoor racquetball here. Either I will succeed and will be able to play the game I love for years to come, or I will fail and have to live with the realization of having to play that “other” racquet sport – Tennis. The one reason I never really played much tennis…well two reasons: You can’t play tennis in the rain and, racquetball courts were indoors…dry and air-conditioned! So while I am attempting to make some inrows towards the introduction of racquetball (although outdoors) here in the Philippines, I am resigned to playing that “other” racquet sport.

Now, back to that 40 year reference; since my favorite game was always played indoors on a wood floor (like a basketball floor), I have never had problems with my joints (not including my lower back). My shoulders, elbows, and knees have all fared well over the years but yesterday, just 6 weeks into playing that “other” sport on hard concrete, I blew my knee out. Nothing serious, but when it hurts to walk, then I’m guessing I definitely won’t be playing any more tennis, not anytime soon anyway. I’m certain it is a cartilage problem.

So back to the gist of this post – I took a trip to town this morning to scout around for someone to talk to about my knee. Three hospitals later, I was referred to the area’s only orthopedic doctor, who actually lives in Tacloban on the island of Leyte, some 4 hours away. He supposedly visits the St. Camillus Hospital here on weekends, but with no reliable schedule and under no obligation to do so…according to the nurse I spoke to. So now the dilemma. Do I engage myself in a crapshoot and wait until the weekend to see if I can “catch” him by chance, or do I just take a ferry ride to Cebu where I know my chances are excellent in finding both a good facility and an Ortho Doctor. As long as I can walk okay, I might just have to take it easy for a while, and restrict myself to swimming until I can arrange a trip to Cebu City.

That's the Knee!
That’s the Knee!

Since this is my first go-round with anything of a major physical consequence since arriving in the Philippines last year, it should prove to be very instructional in every sense.

In the meantime though, while I am deciding on my course of action, I have a tennis racquet I need to sell.

For more information on the St. Camillus Hospital in Calbayog City, Samar, please visit the following links:

Official Website of St. Camillus Hospital

City of Calbayog Website


13 thoughts on “After 40 Years of Racquetball, Tennis Does Me In! Now What?

  1. St. Camillus is a fine clinic but most major surgeries are out of it’s realm I think. My son spent four days there after a severe bout with diarrhea and they provided round the clock care. Needless to say he pulled through just fine and we are very thankful. By the way the entire bill came to $700 including p3000 for an emergency boat to take him from the island. Try that in the USA, lol.

  2. Mark, minor surgeries at best. My concern would be cleanliness and sanitation. When my niece had her baby there, I remember her mother having to clean the room. I don’t mind going there for a consult, but I would go elsewhere for any surgeries.

  3. That whole cleanliness idea in general may catch on some day I hope. For me that’s one of the biggest issues there but I guess it goes along with that whole Third World concept. They need a Ladybird Johnson type to start a “Keep the Philippines” clean movement. Maybe I’ll have someone write a letter to Miriam Defensor-Santiago and suggest it as a chance to leave behind a lasting legacy. Just a thought.

  4. Mark, I did ask my niece about the “education in littering” at the schools. She said “Oh yes, we learn all that.” Then I asked “why would everyone choose to ignore what they have been taught” and she just shrugged her shoulders and said “I don’t know Tito.” lol

  5. Hi, I am new to your website and am enjoying your posts. I am retired Navy as well and also married to a Filipina who is from Northern Samar. I have been having the discussion with her about moving to the Philippines after I fully retire from my second career in the next 5 to 10 years. One of her biggest concerns is the availability of good health care as well as the ability to use Tricare, especially in the Visayan region. How have you found the Doctors to be and have you been able to use Tricare? Thanks again for your blogs, and the insights to living in Samar.

  6. Hi Mike and thanks for your question. Fortunately, I have not had much need to visit a Dr. since coming here one year ago. I did have an ear infection where I just made a visit to a local Dr. and paid him P400 for an exam and subscription for an antibiotic. I just paid it out of pocket as to me, it’s not worth all the Tricare filing hassles to get back $12. The way I understand it, you can use any Dr. and then submit for reimbursement. Approved providers must charge within established guidelines for treatment. Routine care here is so cheap I don’t worry much about Tricare. I would recommend that you and your wife sign up for PhilHealth as it provides good basic coverage for most things. If I ever have a major medical issue that arrises, I will either head for Cebu or Manila. Here is a Tricare Provider List that you should check out…

  7. Hi, Randy,

    So, now you have knee problems, too. You probably didn’t notice the scars and I didn’t get around to talking about it, but I had my right knee replaced about 20 years ago while I was a mechanic. An auto accident in ’64 and a torn meniscus(?) about 10 years later and finally 25 years of working on concrete floors made pain too much to work so I had a stainless steel knee replacement. But soon after that, the other one started going bad. Time to get off my feet and on my ass, so I drove 18 wheelers all over the U.S. for 15 years until I was forced into retirement.
    That one still hurts sometimes if I follow Jessa around SM in Baliuag when she wants to go shopping or I walk too much. But since I started taking Glucosamine regularly, that pain is nowhere nearly as severe and so I can last much longer and even suggest I do the grocery shopping at Hypermarket. (l like their meat much better) Because we go there 3 or 4 times per month I can now get them to cut nice THICK pork chops, or Gindara steaks and know when they get their meat so I can get the freshest and best cuts.

  8. We had to take my wife from Sto Nino in a rain storm years ago to this hospital.

    We got a private room with two beds and stayed for about three plus days.

    I felt I went back in time to the 1940s with the equipment they had. The entire costs for doctor, medicine, and room was around $500.00.

    Staff was good.

  9. There are 4 hospitals in the Calbayog City area to choose from. The one that frightens me the most is the General Hospital, as it is government operated. It is under staffed, under supplied, and not exactly the cleanest of facilities, but it is the cheapest and many times is what draws the patients that have little or no money.

  10. I was told by the family that a new clinic/hospital was going to be built.

    Do you know if the hospital ship Mercy will be in the Calbayog City again in the coming months?

    It’s in Fiji right now.

    Well be stopping in the Philippines, but no idea where yet.

  11. No news here about where it (Mercy) is going or if it is even going to stop here. I have heard rumors about a new hospital but that’s all I’ve heard and have been hearing that since arriving here two years ago. We just can’t wait until the new Gaisano Metro gets completed!

  12. Is that a new mall going up (Gaisano)?

    A new mall or market was supposed to be built down the hill from our lots.

    On our last visit (2012). We saw the fenced area with a guard and some signs for the future mall/market.

    I’m on sick leave till I retire 30 June. I would love to take a trip in July, but we don’t want to waste out time in bad weather.

  13. The new Gaisano Metro is a large supermarket that is about half way through construction. Rumor has it that they will be open in three months, but I can’t agree. One thing I have noticed though with major projects and corporate builds here, they finish strong and usually meet their deadlines.

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