This is a true story from my clinic. I have changed some details to anonymize the main character.
David looked at his upcoming fiftieth birthday with some detachment.
According to his calendar someone called David was turning 50 in august, but it couldn’t be him.
No, because David was a young father of two. He was smart, active and full of energy and that image just didn’t coexist with being a “50 year old”.
There was a little something though, nothing important, but last Sunday with the Old Boys football team, his left knee had been swollen and painful after the match. The football – no matter how childish it might seem for outsiders – was important to David and his friends. It was two hours of playing, laughing and being bloody serious about something that had nothing to do with work or duties.
He needed the Old Boys football team to stay playful, have fun with friends and be energetic for everything else in life.
With that in the back of his mind he went to see the doctor. The doctor said:
“You can have surgery or you can try to rehabilitate the knee with physiotherapy and training but you will not be playing football any more.”
For a second it felt like life was over.
50 years was apparently it. Full stop!
The doctor gave David a prescription for painkillers and a reference for a physiotherapist and he was out of the clinic in 8 minutes and in that short amount of time his life went from free and full of options, to restricted.
His arms were hanging, all energy had left him. He walked slowly home and felt like an old man. He sat in a chair for a bit. He looked at his kids playing, and then the kids asked him to go to the park and play football.
And that was when his mood changed.
He went from giving up to full of fury.
He was furious – not at the kids, as the three of them made their way to the park with the football – but at his shitty situation.
He would not surrender to a life of no physical fun.
While playing with kids in the park he made up his mind – he would be the one man who avoided surgery and restored the strength of his knee so he could keep playing football for the rest of his life.
Come on fiftieth birthday – I’m ready!