Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 1.18.19
Stanstead, Quebec


Listen to your heart and other body parts

When I was initially recovering from prostate surgery, the common advice I got from people was, "Listen to your body." This was not, of course, in a literal sense, although that could be fun too. ("Hey, kids, come here and listen to my body!") Instead, it was about allowing my body to dictate what I should be doing. So I took that advice, and in those first days following surgery, what I mostly heard my body saying was, "I don't like this."

Since then I've gotten stronger, and the messages from my body have become more nuanced. In fact, it's not my body as a whole I listen to but the individual parts, although there seems to be a general plea to eat chocolate and watch Netflix. But most of the time, there's a whole cocktail party of discussions going on. Come: let's listen to my body together!

My feet

What I'm hearing from my feet is that I don't appreciate how much of the weight they carry around here. They're always there for me, they say, when I need to walk or kick a ball or boot a cat off the bed. "We do nothing but consistently toe the line," they say, "and what do we get? Nail trimmings twice, maybe three times a year." So I asked my feet, what do you want?

It turns out they want one of those spa treatments where little fish nibble the dead skin off your feet. "Seriously?" I said. "All that complaining was just so you could guilt me into sticking my feet into a glorified fish tank?" My feet are the worst. Seriously, my feet stink.

My knees

Two nights ago, my knees woke me up doing a vaudeville routine. My right knee was singing, "On Moonlight Bay" while my left knee was pulling rabbits out of a hat. (That's my trick knee.) "Shut up, knees," I yelled, "I'm trying to sleep!" But they just broke into a rendition of "Swanee" that went on for 20 minutes! Oh, but they paid for it the next morning. As I got out of bed, all they could sing was vintage breakfast cereal jingles: snap, crackle, pop.

So, no, I don't listen to my knees.

My groin-ial area

What can I tell you? Since the surgery, my groin-ial area's not happy. In fact, it's cranky. Crotchety. I know I said I would share what my body was telling me, but in this case, those conversations are just too personal; they're privates.

What I can tell you is that my groin-ial area really feels like it took one for the team. Made the hard choice. Rose to the occasion one last time. And for that, I salute you, groin-ial area, for you can salute no more.

True, it's been through a lot, my groin-ial area, and it has a lot to say these days, trust me. (Oh those walks down memory la...) But frankly, since my prostate was removed, it's been a bit of a drip.

My gut

There's a reason they say "listen to your gut," because your gut is actually very, very smart. For example, a few days after surgery, my gut told me that one daily portion of Lax-a-Day is exactly half a daily portion too much. Thanks, gut! I can always count on you to send me useful information, though I must admit sometimes it's a lot to digest.

My entire upper body

I have to tell you, I'm getting a little sick of listening to my upper body. At first after the surgery I was mindful of what it had to say: "Hmmm, we'd like to help bring in the groceries but we don't want to overdo it. Sutures, swelling, etcetera, you know? We'll just lie here and heal. Can someone bring us a blanket? And that box of chocolates over there? And the remote."

So I listened to my upper body. But now I have a feeling my upper body is taking advantage of the situation. "Oh, we're not sure we should bring up the laundry basket. Scooping the kitty litter? Gee, that's a lot of bending and stretching, isn't it?" It's been two months! Meanwhile, my upper body has become as soft as a fresh bagel and my arms look like stocks of wilted celery. In other words, I look like I normally do, but I feel terrible! I need to stop listening to my upper body.

Also, could someone get me a bagel and some celery? I'm a bit sore...