The body ages over time. We accept that. Abuse during younger years takes its toll. We accept that as well.

But at what point does pain control our lives? It seems the amount of time it takes to work out the kinks and stiffness increases each passing day and the line between functionality and letting pain take over becomes harder and harder to determine.

I abused my body mercilessly as a younger man. That’s why I hobble around today on two bad knees, a bum hip and an ankle stiffened with a steel pin inside. The calcium buildup on that bad ankle is so bad from a half-dozen or so previous breaks that when I broke it two years ago the doctor couldn’t tell from the x-ray if it was broken again. I can’t raise my left arm above my head because of calcium from two previous breaks and three dislocations.

Helping family move a couch Saturday aggravated an old back injury (compressed vertebrae) and I spent the rest of the day alternating between a hot tub and bed.

Soaked in the hot tub for more than hour this morning before trying my morning walk. Made it about a mile down the road before the pain set in but I pushed on. Pain, a sadistic Master Chief once told me, is only the beginning.

Two miles later, I hobbled back towards the house and started up the long, steep driveway. About halfway up, one knee buckled and I fell. As I lay on the damp gravel, waiting for the pain to subside enough to get up and try again I wondered if it was time to let the doctor operate, again, on the various bones and joints that have declared mutiny. Not really an option. Can’t afford to take the time off.

I managed to get back up the hill and headed straight for the porch and hot tub, letting the soothing, agitated heat of the water ease the pain. With some mobility restored, I stumbled into the shower to complete the start of a new day, ready for an uneasy truce with the pain that becomes part of everyday life.