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.
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.
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: