Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Took a little mild ukemi today, worked with the jo and threw with my right arm. 

Left shoulder burned a bit, biceps tendon complaining hotly down my arm. I figure it's an inflammation of the sheath of the tendon from the swelling on my shoulder, and have gone back to my ice pack for tonight. 

Down to one naproxen sodium today, Voltaren cream and ice. Using rubber tubing for exercises to strengthen the rotator cuff and brace cartilage now MIA. 

I'm quite functional, working is no longer uncomfortable and budo is becoming less so. I still like to keep my left hand in a jeans pocket rather than let it hang, and with this injury it may become a habit. 

I'm weighing what CG has told me for years, about the practicality of shoulder rolls, and wish I didn't have to understand what he's talking about, this way. 

I don't think I get another chance with this shoulder, and I'm not likely to take any. 
It's like stepping out of a photo negative.
I know, we don't see them so often any more, life is digital. My life is certainly digital, and I'm OK with that. But I remember life in photo negatives. The first photos of my early life, were in black and white.

Now that you know you're reading the diary of a Mature Person, maybe what I'm about to write about seems crazy.
Maybe someday, the idea that money was green and white, will seem crazy too. The Euro is much prettier in any case. If pretty equals worth, that explains a lot. Doesn't help me much ;-) .

I was doing martial arts (aikido), fell wrong, and ripped the top ligament which holds the collarbone down to the shoulder, right off. Now I have a lot of cartilage floating around and a shoulder which droops oddly beyond the slightly elevated shelf of the collarbone. I'll get a pic up here soon enough. One bit is too far up, the other too far down.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to feel more recovering, than injured. There's no surgical answer, the shoulder is too mobile a joint for surgeons to be happy with their limited options for repair. It wasn't recommended for me, and I was left to do my own physical therapy.
A friend gave us some tied-off color coded surgical tubing for Chuck's hip rehab, and I have adopted it for my shoulder rehab. Sitting on a physioball today, doing my 15 reps of 3 different angles, toning the supraspinatus up for its new job of holding my shoulder together, in the absence of the cartilage whose job it was, before.

I am also using "medicine balls" for simple range of movement, such as I would use in working.
Using the surgical tubing to build strength in the directions I am currently weak.

Gently, slowly, irrevocably.

I've never been one to take "no" for an answer, and I'm not about to start now.

I'll consider myself healed, when I can do kata without limitation, or make a basket without a hitch.
Not that I like basketball, just that throwing things up, right now, is not comfortable.

I'm not going to try aikido again, nor shoulder rolls. It's just not worth it, any more.
I prefer to have my shoulder to work, to do weapons kata, and daily life.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Having lived in Europe for just over 5 years, and being an interested observer in the US economy, I have some commentary, especially having to do with our current drubbing in the international economy.

Some people may not think of having your currency devalued internationally, as a drubbing. I'm not sure if it's a way to make our debt appear smaller, a way to benefit manufacturing at the expense of the rest of the population, or what.

In any case, our investment in the Euro via our bank account here, has been a good one. Expensive, but good return on our Euro purchase. I haven't worked the percentages out yet. Something which costs 99 Euros, currently costs about 148 US dollars. About a year ago we bought in at almost 2000 Euro. The value has gone up. Not sure of values yet. I try to think of buying Euro as an investment which, at this point, will only go up.

Health care.. GM's re-negotiation of their health care program led me to wonder: Could US companies be more competitive, if the cost of health care was shifted onto the state?
Our main competitors, Western Europe and Japan, have socialized health care. Manufacturing companies do not need to figure health insurance into their costs in these places. American companies do. At what point will we realize what a drag this is on industry, and socialize health care, as has every other civilized nation, and some we don't count as such? (Cuba, Iceland).

Health insurance coverage is decreasing in the US:
Meanwhile, poverty is increasing.
(don't read the text, just look at the numbers... )

Public transportation.. France and German have both had enormous train strikes.. resulting in enormous traffic jams. Trains save gas, they save lives (reducing traffic and therefore accidents) they save personal fortunes (no car payment, no insurance!) and they create jobs. Toll roads, hello Texas, do none of the above.

Total rail fatalities in the US were 911 (no, really..).
Total highway fatalities were 42, 642.
Pedestrians were 4, 784 (don't know if this was counted in traffic fatalities, assuming most were killed by cars)
Pedalcyclists died at a rate of 773 for the year of 2006.
766 people died as a result of air and air travel related accidents.
Source: http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_02_01.html

The only thing that kills more people than cars, are heart disease, cancer ("malignant neoplasms" nothing to do with cigarettes I'm sure) strokes and the like, chronic respiratory disease (gosh, could that be cigarettes, or, worse, air quality, possibly having to do with cars?), accidents (to include what?), the flu and pneumonia.
Source http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_05.pdf

What's shameful to me, is that the US can't conceive of the idea that, perhaps, somewhere, someone is doing something better than we are.

And if they are, that we could learn something from it.

Instead of everyone just picking up bad habits and overpriced blue jeans from us.

(I'm just kidding about Iceland. We recently met an Icelander on a train, an opera singer, who was utterly civilized and funny.. we just tend to forget about it as a country! but it's there, and the people are interesting)
Still healing.. still frustrated at not being able to train fully.
Using ice gel packs and naproxen sodium to manage discomfort, which isn't bad as long as I don't do too much, or anything stupid. Occasionally, doing nothing in particular, I get bright stars, little asterisks of pain. Possibly from things that used to connect, that don't, any more.

At any rate, I can swing a sword, I can work, and I can complete most daily tasks.

I can't sleep on my left side, or load the left side a lot.
It's interesting that I have to work, and work out, smarter.

If I have to get hurt, I'm going to get everything I can out of it.
Even if I don't want to.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Watching late fall winds, blowing leaves and snowflakes around in a damp and frosty mix.

My shoulder is healing fast, but the top AC ligament is pretty much shot. Fortunately, since the earlier injury, I have paid a lot of attention to getting in the gym and keeping my rotator cuff and shoulder musculature strong. That, and the intensive bodywork I have undergone, has made a huge difference in my adaptability to injury.

I've also done a lot of manual labor and swung a lot of steel, be it an axe, sling blade or katana.
The orthopedist remarked, on the wear on my bones.

Wasn't sure what to say, to his fascination with that.
He's happy with the mobility of the joint, and I can reach almost straight up (not quite, not yet). Normally, I can reach and hold my own fingers behind my shoulder blades. Not today, needless to say. The bruising has slipped down under my arm and into the space between the bulk of pec major and humerus. Not as ugly as it was. I've been religious with gel ice packs, Voltaren gel, and liniments (Kwan Loong and BioFreeze).

Overall, I'm not unhappy with my healing. Other than having to do it in the first place.

I skipped my naproxen dose last night and this morning, and was sorry. I've also got a little heel spur thing going on with my right foot, so between the foot drag and the bump on my shoulder, I might as well live in a bell tower.

Getting hurt isn't just about getting hurt, it's about where you start from, IF you're lucky enough to get the chance to get better. People in car and bike crashes don't make it, all the time. A point for telecommuting...

My general good condition, integration, psychological resilience (hard-won and a bit stretched, at the moment) and general deep stubbornness has all stood me in good stead.

I've become a fan of "Medi-Taping" a Japanese practice which has spread, happily, to Europe. The light, gentle elastic tapes provide a kind of support for the injured joint and counter-stimulus to injured and contracting muscles and nerves. The osteopath I hang out with as often as possible, taped me up the Monday after the injury, and it was great until Thursday, when it was itching like crazy and I took it off. Boy, was I sorry!
Next, I was scratching at the door of the physiotherapist's I knew, asking them to put some back on.
They were incredibly sweet and kind, and taped me back up.
It's a little itchy, but I don't care. I can scratch through the tape.

So, two points.. not starting from zero, and knowing kind folks, who will take in injured strays.

*shuffle, drag, hunch.. "yeth, Marthter... "

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Not much I can do, with a bum shoulder, so I'm taking myself on nice Walkies.

I've decided to make one more batch of delicious cranberry jam with the tiny, elusive wild cranberries which grow on the ground in the forests here.

Some little yellowish mushrooms caught my eye...

Hours of poring over mushroom books paid off! The Germans call them "Trompeten-Pfifferling". They are lovely little things with yellow stems, dark caps, and gills becoming light lilac as the fungi mature. My German book indicates they are "Cantherellus tubaeformis", though these look a little like the American var. Lutescens.

Our anniversary dinner was splendid, with these little beauties in a simple cream sauce over chicken breast, romanesque from our garden, polenta toasted in olive oil, and the last of our collection of Alsatian Reisling Gran Cru.

I found almost a kilo of these little beauties on the steep hillside. I shared a generous handful with our landlord, and dried another big handful of them to keep around for soups and such.

Yes, I'm contemplating another run out there, despite the despicable drippiness of the day!

I need to get some sloes and more cranberries anyway. Yeah.. that's my excuse..