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Dec. 13th, 2014

cat under stars

Crossposted from FB

Rode my bicycle today for the first time in months (coasting down the hill for GISHWHES notwithstanding). A whole five minutes up and down gentle slopes (because there are no flats near my home). I will pay for that later, but right now I feel pretty good, and glad to feel my heart beating again. Though five minutes, admittedly in sub-freezing weather...I remember when that wouldn't even raise my heart rate.
This, and normal non-diabetic socks and I'm feeling positively healthy.  (Okay, fuzzy socks, but still...)

Nov. 19th, 2014

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Quick Skippy note

Overworked Skippy today, having spasms in my leg because I took the cafeteria hill with just the stirrup, not the boot brace. I thought about going to physical therapy tonight but decided against it--I've got a Skype I promised to do this evening and didn't want to be rushed.

Should've put the TENS on it when I got home.  I put the anti-inflammatory gel on it as soon as I got in, and I don't know if the TENS is a good idea on top of that.

Aug. 11th, 2014

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mirrored from today's FB

Oh ajumma...
I go to PT today only to remember the hard way that they're at lunch until 2, so I go to coffee two doors down and then stop in the grocery store between on the way.  I pick up bananas and hooks, noticing the tasty beef in the refrigerators but knowing they won't survive out while I get PT.  So I take care of my ankle, swing back to the coffee place to borrow a moment's wifi, and then back to the grocery store to get some delicious Hanwoo beef.
As I check out I notice an ajumma standing there watching me check out.  She's younger and better dressed than most but there's still no hiding an ajumma.  Worse, after I put the beef in my bag, revealing the bananas, and walk towards the door I notice her walking in the same direction.
You have to understand, growing up the way I did I'm a human T.Rex.  I track motion without even thinking about it.  Motion in my direction, or mirroring my direction, sets up a fight-or-flight response in me, again without thinking about it.  This ajumma triggered that response, and since the crutches ruled out flight...
I walk out the grocery store door, passing the tall young woman whose job it is to stand there and greet and watch.  Ajumma comes up behind this woman, grabs her firmly by the bicep, talks into her ear and practically shoves this young woman towards me.  I look ajumma directly in the eye, making my intentions vividly clear.  The young woman looked scared poor dear, but to her credit did not come after me.
No, I wasn't shoplifting.  No, I'm not intimidated.  And no, you do not want to mess with me.  After where I've been even an ajumma is not all that scary.

Jun. 18th, 2014

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Enjoying the Scotch in my veins even though realistically, as little as I had should be completely metabolized by now.  A nice thought anyway.

I despair of this injury--pretty sure rest and light exercise are not doing the job.  I'll wait 'til my Monday appointment because that's less than a week away, but I suspect we'll have to get aggressive with it.  Evil Little Hammer again I suppose.  I'd say "hopefully not" surgery but if that fixes it well and quickly I wouldn't have any objections to it.  My budget would be trashed but I have a few months to recover on that, and with walking those would be a nicer few months.

Sick and tired of crutches, but can't get around without them.

Jun. 14th, 2014

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Getting back in the saddle

So I've been slowly and carefully rebuilding my left ankle tendon.  Crutches to work--the uphill on that campus is still too daunting to get more than halfway without them, even without a backpack.  Around town I bring them, not only to cope with rollercoaster sidewalks but because they're big silver flags to wave cabs down with.  Buses I limit myself to those I'm sure to get a seat on, so so far that's weekends for short errands.  The doctor said no surprises or sudden moves on that ankle, and a moving bus would constitute sudden moves.

There is one position that gives me sharp pains and that is worrying, especially since it's easiest to hit when walking downstairs, a fearful thing for me when my feet are this vulnerable.  I avoid those pains as much as humanly possible but it slows down my walk since I can't use the mile-wide stride that I'm fond of.  Front to neutral is fine, but neutral to back is courting trouble.

But today I was pretty rested, did a little shopping without pain *yeah!* and the worst thing I've had to deal with is sniffles.  It had rained for a few days and stopped, so I'm taking a Claritin and hoping that's all it is.  I don't need sinus trouble on top of this!  So I decided it was the day to get back on the bike.  I walked it up the slight hill behind the apartment, an area without shops so I rarely go there but with much milder hills than the other direction.  Once I got to a relative flat I got on and rode, slight uphill for a short block, slight downhill all the way home.  The tires were very low dammit, but otherwise no problems.  My left side wasn't happy but I know that biking is quite necessary.  My neck and spine tilt slightly left and only an activity that forces balance will keep that in line.  Since I can't walk on sand yet that rules out surfing, so it's back on the bike.  Passed a lovely lake park I didn't realize was so close, but the water was mucky and it was crowded so I doubt I'll find my fireflies at that one.

I went to a Thai massage earlier today, no doubt the reason I feel so much better today than yesterday.  I may go back if I solve the nose problem.  You see, with a regular massage they lay you face down on a massage table, with a nice little hole for your face.  Unobstructed breathing.  With Thai the masseuse uses her whole body as leverage against yours, requiring you to lie on a mat on the floor This mat has no nice face-hole.  When she was working on my back I tried to go face down, propping up my forehead with my hands and this preserved my nose from a squishing.  However it trapped 'used' air between my hands and my face, so I couldn't get a solid breath.  When you're trying to relax, easy breathing is essential.  Air hunger will tense you up and make you panic.  A pity too because I know she was standing on my back in such a way that felt good, other than the not being able to breathe part.  So I should either solve that problem or find a more conventional masseuse.  Not bad though, no harm trying it once.

The inside of my left leg is tense just now, so I'll go hand the laundry before it decides it really really did not like the bike ride.

May. 15th, 2014

long kiss goodnight

Feeling foolish but hopeful

Because I may have found the cause of my recent leg/ankle grief, and it's self-inflicted and may be quite fixable.  Maybe.  It's done some damage.

I'm aware of what weight and backpacks and an unwillingness to settle myself does to my feet, so to mitigate that I've been wearing Nikes or Reeboks pretty much exclusively.  Even the Skechers I used to rely on for dress shoes rarely get worn.  I just bought a new pair of Nike Trainers a bit over a month ago, about the same time I bought the folding bicycle.  No TV, so I was in serious wander mode.  Looking back I can remember the signs of my feet/ankles burning out, but then I was just staving off restlessness.

Today was Sports Day at work, meaning I had good reason to wander out and watch students but the perfect excuse to stay in my office and get things done.  I had the office to myself which meant I could do a few stretches.  It also meant I had my alternate shoes, some budget off-brand sports things.  At the end of the Nike day my feet still hurt, the arch felt swollen enough to be uncomfortable despite the anit-inflammatories.  Then I remembered--when I bought the shoes I found the arches a little bit high and the heels a little bit low relative to the fronts of my feet, but figured that would not be a problem.

What if it is the problem?  What if my previous injuries simply mean I need a heel higher than the balls, never lower.  That my arches are a little bit flat, and holding them up will both irritate and weaken them?  And the posterior tibialis, trying to take up the slack, took the hit because it was the weakest link, having taken that very bad fall i Hannam?

What if it's simply a matter of ditching that one pair of shoes?

I put on the off-brands after I got to coffee and walked ever-so-carefully to the local grocer.  As long as I was on flat ground I felt good, better than with the Nikes.  I didn't feel stable enough to walk without the crutches on the wavy Korean sidewalks, but inside the store and in the coffee shop building I was weak but pain free.

I found the site Athletes for Athletes and will try those exercises, in addition to the stretches from the barefoot runner site.  I refuse to pack it in.  Yes my foot bones have spurs and that is bad, but I can't lose weight if I have to rest all the time.  I must get moving again.

Now to figure out where I put the slip that tells me when my next doctor appointment is...

May. 12th, 2014

cat under stars

A setback

My feet have really been feeling good lately, no real pain minus the occasional warning pull, warnings generally heeded.  After breakfast Sunday I hobbled about a block looking for a masseuse (found, but closed Sunday afternoon) and got some really good food for dinner.  That was pushing it, Sunday should be total rest, but the weather is beautiful and I've been cooped up for so long.

Now Monday is my worst day, foot-mileage-wise.  Today a colleague called in sick so I had his class and mine together.  My class is used to me hobbling and we're in a lab room, a bit smaller than the classroom though with frankly miserable seating for me.  Today I was in their classrooms, walking between rooms,, balancing the feet pains with the shoulder pain or so I thought.

I forgot about travel, teaching, and how adrenaline shuts off my pain signals.

I got up to my desk now and I was in agony.  Both feet have tendons that are very frickin' unhappy with me.  Arches mostly, but the main tendon that got me on crutches in the first place is painful despite the eucalyptus patches.  I left my mouse behind in the other building--not going after it.  Will need to pee shortly--it has to wait.

I wonder how much more rest time this is going to cost me?  The last few days I've been doing stretches, arch stretches, front of leg/foot stretches, these toe things they recommend on the barefoot running page.  They felt good, really good.  I fear tonight.


May. 7th, 2014


Small update

Went to my doc to get more buffered naproxen and his staff sent me upstairs to a foot doctor.  Okay --shrug--  I got in there and he had a room full of workout equipment.  Cool, I thought, someone who understands my desire to strengthen and not just do damage control.  He talks to me, he's young and his English is only okay.  After he asks me what the deal is I ask him if he can pull up the MRIs, he says no.  I give him the rundown and show him my left foot...plantar fascitis.  Eh, that was three years ago, I got the EWSTthingie and it went away for a couple years until I did a stupid. Let' s go with conservative treatment, he said.  Rest, stretching, hot packs, we'll talk about orthotics.  Nikes?  Ick, he says, you'll need hard soles so your feet don't twist.  Ick, I said, imagining the feeling of hard ground on my sensitive feet.  So I got my painkillers to hold me over until I go back to Sangmo (really must find the papers for that so I go on the right day) and try to talk that doc out of another MRI because they're damned expensive.  But this young guy also tossed out that word, degenerative, in relation to my feet.  I instinctively rebel against that--they will get stronger, I will make them stronger, just tell me how.  I did a little research and I can tell myself comfortably that my feet are not in fact circling the drain.

He also told me two things I really did not want to hear.  Lose weight--yeah right, how?  With wandering off the menu and biking limited to flats, and thus gyms, I've no real exercise outlet.  Swimming?  That involves a public pool, and my weight and color in this town, to say nothing that I really don't enjoy that anymore.

Stretching I need to do, yoga I need to get serious with, and I'll put up another message on the local FB to find a masseuse.  Part of the problem with the feet is that they're at the end of the muscle tension stream.  My body has figured out that I can ignore headaches and medicate stomachaches away, but so far have found no way around foot pain so the tension settles there.  And truly, I love massages.

Right now both feet are barking, begging for stretches I suppose.  I will...inaminnit.

May. 6th, 2014

cat under stars

Going to pay for that later

But I spited (spit?) my feet to please my brain tonight.  This was a four day weekend for Buddha's Birthday and Children's Day, and I've been stalking these shots for a couple weeks.  I figured I had time, but then the Sewol went down and the city left this unlit in mourning.  I'd been resting faithfully for the whole four days, walking around my apartment a bit today to clean up and because I was nearly pain-free and could do it.  Tellingly, the dishes are not done.  However instead of my morning mocha I timed it for this evening to catch some twilight shots of this...float?...that celebrates Buddha's birthday.

Yes I"m aware of how tilted some of the shots were.  Being picky on that point meant leaning a lot and toying with the tripod a lot, either of which could have made the ankle pain quite a bit worse.  I may get around to GIMPing the photos, or not.

My favorite is the second to last.

Also uploaded today are some shots from last Saturday morning I think it was.  I'm still not sure whether this is Yellow Dust or pollen gone mad (my neighbor says the latter, because it's yellow and not brownish) but it was thick and everywhere.

Now Skippy will taunt me.  Do I take allergy meds that will prevent swelling and make my nose and upper teeth happy, or do I take the painkiller that will only reduce the swelling somewhat?

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