Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Me and "The Doc"

Sunday morning, I think those extra calories yesterday actually did me good. I woke before the alarm went off, and had to go back to sleep, the club doesn't open till 6:00 a.m. on weekends.

It was shoulder day, my favorite and I trained hard. 

Although I profess to be a loner in the gym, people always talk to me and I am not quite sure why. I suppose I am a bit of an oddity, a novelty and maybe even a freak to some. I have my headphones in, I am concentrating intently, and I don't think I seem very friendly (to be honest), I am on a mission.

Still, I have a great number of friends and acquaintances I speak with everyday when I am there. 

One is "The Doc". I have written about him before, he is a plastic surgeon in town. I first met him several years ago when he came up to me and told me I should come see him to have work done, "Your face should be in the same century as your body" he said. (and no we do not have a professional relationship, I like my face just fine, there are no plans for plastic duck lips in my life!)

Over the years he has made a point of chatting with me at every opportunity, he is in his late 70's and comes in several times a week.

He wanted to get strong, he asked me how to improve his bench. He wanted me to help him learn to deadlift (I didn't train him, I had just broken my rib and I think he then forgot about it all).

One day he asks if I have ever heard of a guy named Pavel Tsatsouline, he is a kettlebell expert. "Of course" I told him, "I have read all his books".

He would tell me everyday what he was working on, if it was a "strength" day or a a"flexibility" day. He would balance on a bosu ball with little weights in his hands, pretty good for an old guy!

I always do a little plyometrics before lifting, just to get everything moving. He always made a point of watching me do my explosive step ups, sort of like a fast jump/step up on a bench, one foot at a time, marching in place with Guns n Roses on my iPod full blast! He told me he wanted to learn how to do it, and I cautioned him it was a very advanced move. He said he would go home and practice first before doing it at the gym, just in case he fell down. 

"The Doc" used to use the smith machine a lot. I use it once a week. Each time when he was done, no matter what day of the week, he would come find me and tell me "I warmed up Smitty for you!" I would thank him and continue lifting.

He would often just stand and watch me lift, usually deadlift or squat or perform RDL's. He always got a kick out of the weight I could push.

A month or so ago I decided I might move to another gym, mine is just way too expensive. I had been visiting them all so I could make an informed decision. He heard me talking to another member while we were stretching in the meditation room and he says to me: "You leave here and I am never coming back". I told him that I would stay, he could sponsor me, I will wear the name of his cosmetic surgery center on my butt.

He liked that, said he might buy me a pair of shorts. That was not my intention, I wanted him to pay my club fees.

A few days later he came up to me and asked me "how much do you need? So I can sponsor you?" I looked him in the eye and said "$289.00 a month"

He got a surprised look on his face and asked if I had a tennis membership. Nope, just a family one. We never discussed it again.

Recently he asked me what I know about Prednisone, "does it make you stronger or weaker?" I told him it was a heavy duty steroid that raises blood glucose levels and makes you swell, nothing you want to take unless you have to. 

Today he came up to me, I pulled my earbuds out of my ears and said "What's up Doc?" He looked at me and said:

"I want to thank you for helping me, for talking to me all the time, for listening to me. I know I bug you." 

"I come in and watch you and am so inspired, you are the one that keeps me coming in. Just to watch you is amazing, you are the most inspirational person I know".

I thanked him and he went on:

"I won't be back for a while, I have to have some procedures done. I wanted to say thanks and goodbye." I asked if I would see him in a few months maybe?

"I'm not sure" he said. "I have some health issues to deal with" and he held out his arms. I gave him a long hug and I wished him luck and watched him walk away. He stopped and turned around and said "thanks for the hug, it means a lot to me." He then turned and continued walking, I watched him disappear down the hallway.

Good luck Doc, I will keep Smitty warm for you.

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