I can feel it in the back of my head, too, but that’s not as annoying as the squinting sensation or the pressure on the temples.
Truth is it’s put a damper on the trip already. Usually, it takes a smart-alecky retort from the GM or a drive out of Clearwater and to some weird, backwoods outpost like Lakeland or Port Charlotte before I want to go back home. As it stands, the thumping in my head has already started.
It should be noted that I’m a hypochondriac of sorts. I’m a lot like George Costanza that way in that if I have a headache with symptoms that correspond to stress, tension or sinus trouble, I immediately think it’s cancer. I usually start with the worst possible diagnosis and work my way backwards to something reasonable. Trust me when I say it’s no fun.
So it goes without saying that I would have no idea how I could have handled the sinus infection Ryan Howard had last June. Remember that one? Twice in the span of 24 hours Howard was rushed to the hospital with a fever of 104 and no clue as to what was causing it. The crazy thing about that was Howard—more or less—climbed out of his hospital bed to slug a pinch-hit, three-run homer off then-Orioles’ reliever Danys Baez to spark a rally.
Unfortunately, the Phillies ended up wasting Howard’s heroics, which were a little too cliché to begin with. Seriously, a high fever and a clutch, late-inning pinch homer over the center field fence… oh, he couldn’t set off fireworks by smashing one into the light fixtures?
Anyway, it was later learned that the source of Howard’s problems that June day was a sinus infection. Make that one whomper of a sinus infection because Howard is a big fella. You know, one of those rawboned strong men the type Grantland Rice and Heywood Braun would compose lyrical poems about because not only could he knock over walls with a line drive, but also he could chop down a redwood with his trusty ox JRoll by his side.
Nevertheless, if Ryan Howard was knocked to the deck by a sinus infection, I figured he must know a thing or two about fighting the dastardly symptoms. Hey, I was about ready to drop to one knee, but fought it because everyone knows you can’t show weakness in a big-league clubhouse. The vultures are circling even on the best days so the instant anyone lets their guard down, it’s over.
I learned that Howard still has some minor sinus trouble from time to time, but nothing remotely close to the incident last June.
“Mostly it’s some nasal congestion and some post-nasal [symptoms],” he said. “But it has never been as bad as it was last year.”
Like the rest of us, Howard is not immune from some aches, pains and sniffles. He is human, after all. But unlike most humans, Howard can go from the hospital, whack a monster homer and then get dropped off back at the emergency room.
“Yeah,” Howard said with a wry smile and shrug of the shoulders. “Sometimes that’s the way it’s got to be done.”
Nope, it wasn’t exactly, “Just get me to the plate, boys,” but to those of us who seem to have chronic sinus issues, it may as well have been like FDR’s first inaugural address when he told Americans beaten down by The Great Depression that, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Better still, no one had to shove a rubber hose from a Neti Pot up the ol’ schnoz. Hell, Howard did everything but have outpatient surgery where he was given a shot of whiskey and a bullet to bite down on to serve as an anesthetic. If that guy can knock one 420-feet after getting knocked down, I guess I have to nut up and take the vice-like pressure on my melon like I have a pair.
What would Ryan do?
He’d hit a three-run homer, Shirley.