A golf ball directly before the hole
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Joe Golfer lines up for a short putt. It’s a familiar situation, the same almost-gimmee he’s stroked thousands of times on hundreds of greens. A four footer, straight into the hole. Easy as pie.

 Joe slowly draws the putter back….twitches and jerks…..and pushes it 8 feet past the hole. “Mother!!*#$@#!$“, exclaims Joe.

Welcome to the ‘Yips’, one of the quirks of the game of golf. It’s said that a half of all golfers have experienced this sudden loss of ability to make a simple shot. Sometimes it’s just temporary, a hole or two. Other times it’s a career ender. Even the greats — Ben Hogan, Ben Crenshaw and Sam Snead among others — have suffered this mysterious affliction. Doctors and sports psychologists and tried and failed to identify why it happens. And how to cure it.

 And it’s not just confined to golf. It happens in other sports too, most notably baseball. The Yips have destroyed the careers of major league baseball players like Yankee second baseman Chuck Knoblauch. He seemingly overnight lost the ability to throw the ball to first base. It’s a toss that Little Leaguers make on a daily basis; suddenly this All-Star can’t throw the ball 60 feet with any kind of accuracy. Pirate pitcher Steve Blass was another afflicted with this strange syndrome, able to fire the ball hard to a catcher but utterly helpless to lob the ball to any base.

 And as my family has now learned, it’s not just confined to sports. Because the Yips have come to our home. Suddenly without warning — after three weeks of giving herself injections — Michelle couldn’t stab herself.

OK, stabbing might be a bit overdramatic but that’s what she calls it. And really that’s what it is. Self admistered stabbing. Since early August, she’s had to give herself a little shot to reset her body for this whole project. It’s a short little 1/2 inch needle, just tiny. Michelle takes a new syringe each night and draws the medicine out of a refrigerated bottle. Then she takes a pinch of belly and pops the needle right in.

 Says Michelle:

 Up to now, it’s been fine. Easy. Something I have to do every night and I haven’t had a problem. It’s never hurt at all. It’s been matter of fact, nothing I’ve even been thinking about.

Michelle has been traveling a lot this summer — two weddings in California and a family vacation in Virginia — and still managed to stay on track with her drugs. She’s had to store the medicine in family’s refridgerators, hotel mini bars and even restaurant coolers. She’s injected herself in all kinds of places, from cramped restaurant bathroom stalls to hotel rooms. And never once has it been an issue. Until tonight.

 I knew there was a problem when she went upstairs to do the deed like always. But she didn’t come down for about 45 minutes or so.

 Michelle tells the tale.

It’s like a suddenly lost the ability to stab myself. But the last few nights I’ve had a little issue. I haven’t been poking myself hard enough. I’d pop the needle in — it never hurts so that’s not the thing. But I was going too light. So I’d have to push the needle in just a little bit more and that kind of freaked me out.

 I kept swabbing the skin with alcohol pads, prepping for it and getting it through my mind. But I just couldn’t do it. I would step back and take a deep breath. And then try again, swabbing my skin. I went through nine alcohol pads, just going through the motion. But I kept chickening out.

At this point you might ask: Why didn’t I just do it for her?

Don’t ask. Just don’t. We’ll have another entry soon that details my wife’s drug regimen and exactly how ‘helpful’ I’ve been. But having me push a needle into the body of my wife was just not something on the table.

Not that I wasn’t my usual helpful supportive self. After seeing her come into the bedroom and slip into bed, I growl at her: “Hey, you’ve got to do it. You aren’t going to bed until you make this happen. Just go for it.” Oozing with sympathy and understanding there.

Back to Michelle:

I kept thinking, hey if I just didn’t do just this one shot, would it really make a difference? Would this whole thing fail because I couldn’t give myself this one 10 cc lupron injection? I almost had myself talked into skipping just this one…..

But folks, that’s not Michelle. Not the Blog Heroine at all.

 I just can’t fail. I just can’t stand the feeling of failure. I have to make this work.

So with the help of Emma and Sara, Michelle was finally able to do the deed.

Both girls really helped me. They did a little countdown, like 1-2-3-GO. And I just felt like I had to. I was running out of time and patience, and their encouragement seemed to make it happen.

Stab. All done.

Not your typical kind of family support. I mean most kids cheer their sisters or brothers on during sports events, or applaud during a concert of pray. But a countdown for a needle? Ah well, I guess you’re learning that we’re not your typical kind of family.

So at least for this night, the Yips were put to rest. But tomorrow, there’s another 4-foot putt to face….

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