I Play With Pain

My parents have a wood furnace in their house, and throughout the year my dad collects wood to burn over the winter. Last Thursday I was helping my dad clear a downed tree from my brother's property, which entailed pushing wheelbarrows full of wood up a hill and loading it into a truck. I don't know how many times I've done this with my dad, but on Thursday I pulled a muscle on the bottom of my ribcage, and the pain that I experienced from this pulled muscle was probably the worst of my life. Of course it didn't help that it was right at the bottom of my ribcage so that I would feel it every time I breathed, and the faster and deeper I breathed the more it hurt. And as if that wasn't enough, I also had two shows this past weekend with my cover band.

As we were setting up on Friday night I honestly didn't know if I was going to be able to get through the show. Every breath was painful, and I couldn't really bend, lift, or setup any equipment. We got through soundcheck and I decided to just go with it. The show must go on, right? The first few songs of the first set were the most difficult, and I had to drop a few lyrics because I literally couldn't get enough air moving through my lungs with the pain. But after that - because of the ibuprofen, the warmth in the bar, just loosening up, or all three - things got easier, and it was actually a really good show. That night I slept very poorly because there was no comfortable position for me to be in, and I was up more than 2 hours before I wanted to be.

On Saturday, after taking it easy in the morning and the use of a heating pad, we had an afternoon show from 3-5:30 at East Fishkill Community Day. Literally thousands of people, along with tons of food, vendors, games, and activities. I had never been and was a little shocked at how expansive it was. But my muscle was less than impressed, and it just kept hurting. As a result, I took things a little bit more gingerly than I did the night before, and pretty much stayed right at my keyboard. The wireless mic was there but I didn't even use it. Oh well - still a good show and a good response from the crowd.

I've performed with cold before, but never with a pulled muscle that caused this much pain. And as I write this, it still hurts a bit when I take a really deep breathe, but nothing compared to what I was feeling on Friday and Saturday. So to everyone who came out to enjoy In The Pocket at the Quiet Man Pub in Wappingers Falls or East Fishkill Community Day: You. Are. Welcome.

That's 5 1/2 hours of performance when other singers probably would've put themselves on the disabled list. I play with pain.

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    © STEVE SCHULTZ