Friday, August 28, 2009

"Broken" Update

I still need to write up the whole story, but just to update the family and friends:

I only had to take a regular dose of over-the-counter ibuprophen yesterday morning, and I may skip that step today. My hip may not be my BFF right now, but it's finally stopped trying to kill me.

My knee? It feels...well, I can't say better as it didn't hurt it kinda just feels tight in an "I've-been-fencing-for-12-hours" kind of way.

All in all, I'm not complaining and can't wait for my last follow-up on Monday when, I hope this will all be in the past and I can enjoy the last few hours of summer.

Monday, August 24, 2009

If I Were Stuck on a Desert Island...

I should begin by stating that I have just gotten home from my OD and that is a tale that needs to be told all by itself. Suffice to say I have popped a muscle relaxer (my first one ever) and am chilling here until my toes unclench (I did mention tale, and all by itself, and maybe when I'm not about to be high on the wee little pill that is supposed to give my body some rest time.)

One of the writing prompts I used to give my students (before LOST, mind) was the "Pretend you are to be banished to a desert Island for the rest of your life, what 10 things would you take with you."

Harsh for 7th graders, I know, but it was a way for me to find out what was really important to them: football, drums, make up, video games (yes, I let them have a solar panel that gave them an hour's worth of TV/videogames/movies if they so chose to bring the boob tube and assorted accessories, I am only so mean), hair dryer, model cars, monopoly...yarn (yeah, I used to tell them what I'd take as well*.)

Anyhow, it was once a difficult thing, just as I would ask the kids what video game they would bring, or which ones? Because would you only take ONE game? How many is enough! I'd ask myself, do I bring enough yarn for a sweater? 10 sweaters? 100 socks? There is a dilemma here! Unless you are me in the non-desert-Island world.

Having been stuck at home and immobile lately, I figured it was a great time to start that sweater I've been meaning to make for the last 20 years. Well, the idea has been there a while, the yarn just came into my possession a bit ago...some on sale some not...12 balls of Karabella 8 fine merino (or something, 8 in Melange color 12 and 4 in not-Melange color olive green--they go awesome together, really. The labels are in the living room and I don't trust myself to walk over there an check just this second). But yeah, I've been working on the first sleeve now for months.

I don't have a pattern, per se. More like I know what I want the sweater to look like and fit like (my raggedly old high school uniform sweater whose existence/location is a great mystery even to me...) and there are a million patterns out there that I'm gleaning various bits and pieces from to recreate it, and I'm thisclose to thinking that it's (the sleeve, mind, just the sleeve) exactly what I want and I won't have to unravel the whole thing and start over! (Again, as I have for the last few months.)

So in the real world I really do only need a couple balls of yarn seeing as I seem to be a process knitter, knitting and unravelling and knitting and unraveling in an infinite loop, never really being done as the closer I get, the more often I rip back over and over and over again....

You'd think this would drive me batty, but it's the complete opposite. Were I to put on my psyche 101 hat, I'd say it has something to do with control over something (the yarn) which I hold, unlike the control (or lack there of) over the pain and misery in my body just now...but such thoughts are starting to interfere with the cyclobensaprine.

I will go now before I type something silly that I won't remember and will get me into tons of trouble later...cuz yeah, my heads starting to feel kinda fuzzy now.

*Always remember your Pipi Longstocking survival training: along with an axe, you will want a book about how to build a raft, just saying

Friday, August 21, 2009

Let's Start with the Limping

I am too lazy and frustrated to look back and see if I mentioned the falling down the stairs at work incident.

But yeah, on a normal, not-rushing, holding on to the damned hand-rail even day, I not only slipped, but TUMBLED (hard) down almost an entire flight of stairs. I slammed both knees, my hip, my back was scraped, my tailbone, my elbow...what am I leaving out...just, everything got hurt...except my head. I am nothing if not schooled in protecting the noggin, it would seem.

I filled out the accident report and then just waited for the swelling and bruises to come and go. They were doozies, all the colors of the bizzaro rainbow: blood red, jaundice yellow, gangrene green, just-wrong black. I did mention hitting everything hard, right?

What hurt most, aside from my pride, was the fact that I'd just run the course of treatment with my Osteopath and could happily say that my hips were almost (never will actually be) matching again! Nothing hurt when I walked! Life was good! And yet, like some perverse Ken Follet novel (more on that later) or twisted 6 Feet Under episode, everything goes to shit in an instant.

Sorry, no real other way to put it.

I decided to wait until the swelling and bruises died down before I ventured back for another appointment, as the last thing I wanted anyone to do was touch my owies, much less manipulate them.

Three weeks later only the most tenacious of the bruises were there, but I'd say 90% of the swelling was gone, but my hip and knee were starting to bother one another, and me. As an aside? All this time I was doing the treadmill/bike/elliptical for 15-20 minutes + the leg extension torture device every morning.

So off I went to get adjusted. butt doctor did not like the look of my once "good" knee. It was still swollen, and in all the wrong ways. He thinks I might have slammed it in just the right way to tear/cut a bit of my patella tendon. Yes, that would be the tendon that keeps you kneecap from shooting up and sitting on your thigh. (Yes, I too got the extreme heebie jeebies when he explained the situation.) I was BANNED from any exercises that involved bending my knee more than say 30 degrees as ANY such exercise might keep it from healing and/or TEAR IT MORE.

No bike, no elliptical, very careful with the leg extender as I kinda need to keep building up my thigh muscle. But walking was fine, dandy, no problem!

But as I found out last Saturday? Maybe a limit of less than 3 miles at a time and NO HILLS.

Yep, see, friends came up and we wandered. There was no forced marching as I was setting the pace and we were all happy not to try to break a sweat because, hello, wandering! All over Belltown and into the Sculpture Park where there was a hemp fest going on. It was free entry, so we decided to check it out.

As another aside: I miss Santa Cruz. They had hemp fests and they were cute and safe and not filled with millions of people...and more to the point? No scary young guys screaming at the top of their lungs, "WHO HAS BROWNIES!" one second and then the very next in a very threatening tone, "WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!" Yeah, we left shortly thereafter...

But not before we got stuck in a bottleneck of people that I felt was moments away from becoming one of those panic run-away scenes in the movies. Only the fear was palpable. And some of it was coming from me and my inability to deal with such large crowds of people. (Mental note to self: DO NOT DO THIS AGAIN, EVER.) I think it might have been in that congestion of people where I might have hurt my hip or knee could not see where you were going and were were all clasping onto one another so that we wouldn't get lost in the shuffle/shoving. And there was shoving.

Once free? we made it for home...up these really really steep streets that I kept climbing more and more slowly. Nothing hurt, but it felt like my hip and my knee just didn't want to cooperate anymore.

When we finally got home and sat down and I really looked at my knees? My right one was clearly twice the size of the left one. No pain, mind, but everything was just wrong. And that's when I noticed my right hip seemed to be pushing against the fabric of my shorts. Yep, it too was joining in the swollen game.

Did I mention ice and ibuprophen are my bestest friends in the world?

For the next 5 days (today would be #6) I got into a rhythm of stretching, trying to walk, but failing and going for the limp, and icing at my desk (those cool-paks made for lunch bags are the bomb. Do not sit on them if they are starting to melt though, just saying).

I am now officially tired of it all. Can you tell?

And this is not the worst part, but it hurts me nonetheless, I've gained two pounds since I stopped with most of the exercising, and having dropped 9 of the 20-ish I gained since the first of these bike accidents? It just doesn't make me feel all that great about anything. I know you all know this but I will reiterate, losing weight when you're in your 30s is bloody hard.

Okay, I'll stop now.

Up next: What I'm doing to keep my spirits up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Know I Need to Update...

I know I promised pictures as well...

Let's just say I'm behind on everything. If it wasn't for the fact that I've been overpaying my car payment for the last since-I-started (my next payment is due in April of 2010), I'd probably have angry emails from Toyota to add to the list of things I gotta deal with...

I needed a wee bit of an "I don't care anymore" moment that kinda spread. And dare I say it? It started with some spilled milk...

See, I know there is a story in that as well...I'll try to fill you all in or change the subject around entirely sooner than later. Did I ever mention I'm trying to knit myself a sweater for the first time in 20 years? And there's a slew of stuff that I need to play catch-up on...but not right now.

Right now I have to limp around the apartment getting ready for work...and yes, story behind the limping as well...see, stuff is going on...almost too much stuff.

Much more later, promise.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Feelin' Groovy...

As a kid, on the "coldest" of LA winter days I'd crave ice cream.  My mom thought I was bizzaro-girl...though she said it a little nicer (al revesada).

I've been feeling pretty bad for a while now...I can blame many things, hormones, possible ripped patella tendons (okay, just the one, but isn't that bad enough?), the voices in my head, the weather...hmmm the weather...

This morning it hit the form of light sprinkling raindrops...As much as I love 70 degree weather?  I can not stand it when it's combined with 70% humidity.  Or rather, my lungs don't do well with the humidity, especially when there is no rain to make the air less, um dense.  They've adapted to a myriad of things, from never-before-exposed-to pollen in Santa Cruz to mile-high-dry-oxygen-deprived Kings Beach (Tahoe, bay-bee), but humid air?  There is a reason we had gills millions of years ago...lungs + water?  Not so good for me.

It slows me down, makes me feel like I can't breathe, makes me crabby and short tempered, mostly because I'll not sleep right, and it makes me want to live in air-conditioned hell (which drys out my eyes and skin enough for me to really and truly prefer the heat (al revesada, I tell ya).

But when my knee and hip started aching this morning (like spidey-sense, oh yes, my human barometer super-power), it was like a veil had lifted and the last few days were just a wicked wicked nightmare.  I parked my car and looked out at the spreading sprinkles and actually smiled before 8:30 AM...the smell of too-warm asphalt was almost stifling, but the air was air again once I got onto the sidewalk!  

And then the nostalgia hit me hard...that smell was LA getting it's first rain of the year...the warmth and breeze was Hilo as I'd get ready to ride off to work...the friendly greeting of a co-worker driving off the lot was a Kings Beach library patron recognizing me at the wasn't sad nostalgia really just added to my giddiness this morning.  I haven't felt like this in a while...and it felt so good.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Far too Negative Lately...

I think it might be due to lack of pictures.  (Let me believe this, it helps.)  

This will change soon, promise.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

We're All Selfish, Some More than Others

I'm just thinking "out loud" today.  Okay, maybe venting a wee bit as well.

It's been a very long end-of-last-week/weekend.  Visitors are very exhausting.  Especially when they are older than you and want to "sight-see" but really what that means is that they have a vision of what they want and expect but WON'T SHARE IT with you.

Have I mentioned I don't know the sights and sounds of Seattle all that well?  Okay, let me correct that one...I know specific Seattle stuffs, very well.  But I can't be all things to all people.  I have a more, shall we say, pedestrian-based idea of places to go and things to do.  It might involve driving to a particular spot and walking a bit to get to where the actual destination is, but therein lay the problem these last four days... 

I may have let people down since I couldn't be the tour guide they expected.  See, somehow I was supposed to be all knowing and be able to change my plans to compensate for a certain lack of, let's say, ambulatory ability in one of the visitors.  Ummm visiting Seattle and not being able to walk more than three blocks and not wanting a cane, wheelchair, or crutches and instead wanting everyone else to bend to your will?  Hmmm.

Did I actually say, "Why don't you leave him home and we can go explore," out loud?  Why yes, I may have.  

If your hip hurts and I'm offering you a chance to soak in a hot tub to ease the pain and you refuse and then keep complaining?  I'm not going to like you.  AT ALL.  Then commence to treat me like a stupid child because I'm female and you're convinced I must be blood-related to your GF, who is the ONLY reason you are here in the first place?  Let's call it amazing you survived, old man.

Ahem, who said that? Sybil?

What was it Mark Twain said?  Something about fish and friends?  Well, if you're not even on the "friend" level?  Don't push me.  My patience with adults is infamous.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Irrational Fears, I Haz 'em

(Did you know if you accidentally hit the return key instead of say, the tab key, that your post gets posted likity split? We learn something new everyday.)

So the irrational stuff. Or is it? Or should we just get all pseudo-psychological and blame my upbringing on this one, which I'm having a very hard time putting into words:

If I run out of gasoline, VERY, BAD, THINGS will happen.

No really. The other morning my first errand of the day was to go get gas. Of course my "let's not use up more dead-dinosaurs than we have to" self said I should try to go to a gas station on the way to JC Penny as that was my next intended goal. (more on that later)

This entailed my getting onto the freeway at about 10 AM, you know, AFTER so-called "rush" hour?

Lies. Bitter scarring, lies.

As I was patting myself on the back for correctly navigating my way onto the freeway on-ramp (dude, seriously, did not get lost AT ALL), I was presented with the sea of stopped cars, as far as the horizon, really...and my gas light chose at that exact moment to light up.

No, really.

In the place where the rational thoughts live I knew that the light was on because I was indeed dangerously low on dino-blood, but the incline was the culprit. As soon as we leveled out, the light should go off. I also knew that even if I was really in the orange-light-of-doom level of gas, I had miles, MILES to go before the car would stutter and sputter and transform into 1600 lbs of detritus.


Unfortunately, the irrational part of my brain has the power of projection, because these thoughts wholly and completely drowned out everything else:


and took control of my limbs even:

No, really. Cuz turning off all the electrical bits will make my engine work that much less so I will have a drop more if needed. The world may never know, because actually, yes, I did need every spare drop of gas before I got to the gas station, but instead of drowning out the thoughts while listening to NPR go on about all the awful things going on in the world, I got to sit back and listen to my crazy-pants thoughts weave all sorts of world-ending scenarios that had me stalling and running out of gas MILES from, in the middle of Seattle.

See, I kept thinking back to when my mom, older brother, and I were driving back from my mom's work and the gas gauge was dangerously sitting at the "E" while we were sitting in non-moving traffic. In the middle of summer. In LA.

The freeways are not just the arteries of the state of California, they are the only known ways of travel for the majority of Angelinos. They will NOT, NEVER, EVER get off the freeway to take the streets because, um, NO IDEA how to get to their destination that way. Or that was the case back in the 80s. Had we been equipped with GPS navigation equipment, I think my mom might have ventured off the freeway, found a station, filled up and tada! We'd have been all good and happy.

But she didn't.

Instead it was (what felt like) hours of her sighing and tapping the steering wheel with her right-hand pointing finger and saying things like, "Andale carritos," and musing about what we'd have to do if we got stuck on the freeway, out of gas, and more tapping of the finger and moving it about conducting some weird symphony (and yes, I do actually do that myself now, hmmm, learned habit maybe?).

And here's the thing, the entire time, needle on empty, no orange light. Not until we got off the freeway and drove up, then down those hills right off my mom's exit.

My mom's "AAAAAAIIIIIEEEE" wail is not something I can reproduce, but I can tell you it only comes out when REALLY BAD THINGS are about to transpire and therefore has seared itself into my brain in connection with serious accidents, deaths, losses of passports/important documents, and the appearance of that damned orange light from hell.

We coasted into her gas station of choice just in time...just as I did, somewhere in the middle of not-University but not-Ravenna, orange light firmly blazing by that point.

Once I finished topping everything off and resetting my trip-meter to 0.0, this weird calm came over me. I knew I was going to have to deal with way more traffic and madness and errands and possible 100 degree weather, but I just didn't care. The orange light was gone and there was gas in the car and I did not have to use plan I was stitching together in my head (Andy + motorcycle + gas can that I did not yet own + where the hell am I and how do I get him here...), and all was right with my world again.

Until the next thing.