Yesterday I had to finish on the twelfth hole because one of the foursome twisted and hurt his back so much that we had to get him to the hospital. Being known as the doctor on the golf course has one major side effect: strangers tell you their medical stories.
When I started with this club at the beginning of the year I played with this man who only comes here in the winter. For the rest of the year, he works up north maintaining gardens. He negotiated a two-month membership. Golf etiquette dictates that you shake hand with your playing partners, but he said he had this skin condition and was not sure if it would be infectious. On learning that I am a doctor, he started to tell me that he was rather concerned as not only his hands but his whole body seemed to be covered in what looked to me like eczema. I refrained from commenting. This man is interested in a lot of things and one does not get bored playing with him. He is knowledgeable about gardens and grass in particular. My wife was my caddie that day and she found him interesting too.
Then he disappeared. One week, two and then three.
Imagine my surprise when he reappeared one morning and the first thing he did was to shake hands with me.
I must have hesitated a bit. He said, “It’s all right. It’s not infectious.”
Apparently his skin got so bad he went to see a specialist. They discovered he was allergic to shell fish.
“But I never had shell fish,” he told them.
They then found that he had been taking Glucosamine with Chondritin for his back pain. He has been doing so since his aunt gave him some seven years ago.
There seems to be more allergy nowadays, and I have often wondered why this is happening.
This episode throws up something interesting I have observed since becoming a doctor. We all have different views on who to listen to as far as advice is concerned. It seems doctors still top the list and I have often had friends asking me for a second opinion. I did not think much about it at first as I was getting used to it. Now I realise that a second opinion from a doctor who does not charge a fee is considered most valuable.
Money has spoiled everything. In fact, half way through writing this, I had to deal with an enquiry from
Hong Kong about some doctor’s recommendation to remove a kidney. Since a high fee was involved, a friend wanted my opinion, although I was given nothing more than an MRI to work on, and I am only a Child Psychiatrist.
In my book, I commented:
“……Most medical students with any emotional problem do not seek help from their psychiatric department but from the professor who drives the most expensive car……”
Most people traditionally choose to believe in their hairdresser, bartender, spar attendant and nowadays their personal trainers.
My new friend’s aunt was rich and gave him the first batch of Gucosamine with Chondritin. He trusted his aunt, and his back did improve very quickly. His aunt was doing well on it and as Glucosamine is a natural product it must be safe. No, he does not blame his aunt.
(Mmm…., cocaine is natural, so is opium, so are a number of other things.)
He has not been allowed out and has wasted nearly half his golf membership. He is glad though that he now knows what his problem was.
Golf without doubt is very stressful for the back, but it has a range of health benefits, or that was what I was told when my wife encouraged me to start having lessons. Now I realise the health benefit is for her as she now has at least five hours of freedom from me everyday. Here is a warning for those ladies who want to do the same: golf is the only addiction I know for which there is no cure.
Joking apart, here are the benefits I have observed:
Walking – Walking has always been regarded as a good exercise for health maintenance. Yet some courses, especially those in the
do not allow you to walk. Slowing down play does not make economic sense. So what can you do? My advice is make sure you do not get too good at the game. That way you will need to do a lot of walking looking for that little white ball. Perhaps that is why I am still not that good! Another way is to make sure you play with someone else and let him drive the cart. He will feel honoured and you can have the exercise. There is also fresh air and beautiful scenery if you remember to look. U.S.
A rare sight at a golf course
(Concorde flying over the Barbados Golf Course in 2003)
Mental – You are aware that you need to get five things right all at once when you try to hit the ball. This is good to prevent early aging or whatever they call that illness, “Alzh...something…mer”, sorry, I forgot. Also if, like me, you meet new faces most days, you exercise your brain in another way. Experts now feel that seeing new places and meeting new people are two important ways one can use to exercise the brain. You can of course supplement golf with Bridge or Mahjong.
Finally, maintain a healthy attitude. In golf, always blame something else but not yourself -- one of the first lessons I learned when I started.
And, remember to do the deep breathing. Who knows? You might putt like Tiger one day.
Tiger Woods Putting ©2007 Am Ang ZhangGolf Posts:
Golf and Disability
Golf, Cholera and Tiger Woods
Autism, the Brain and Tiger Woods
The Open and The Brain
Ancient Remedy: Modern Outlook
Tiger Woods and Breathing