Monthly Archives: July 2009

Defying the odds

I am a bit on the obstinate side, so when someone says I can’t do something or won’t be able to do it, my reaction is to prove him wrong. So when the orthopedic doc in Toledo told me the bad news about my rotator cuff and the fact that he was “sorry” to be the one to tell me the bad news that the usual surgery was not an option and that I was too young for the reverse replacement, I got a little testy. Okay, I said, how do I learn to live with this. He shrugged as if to say, “beats me”. What would you do? Look for a second opinion maybe? Yep. The nitwit didn’t even suggest PT might help, so I decided to consult with my nurse practitioner. A runner, he knows how important swimming and running are to me, and gave me some excellent advice. He assured me that I couldn’t make it any worse, so there was no harm in working on it. Building muscle strength in my biceps and triceps would be essential if someday I did have the surgery.
During PT for the pinched nerve in my neck, the PTs helped me work on the shoulder. They advised me on exercises, light weightlifting, and all encouraged me to continue doing whatever I felt comfortable doing.
So when I could no longer ignore the fact that the pool was open and my body and mind weren’t ready to give up swimming, I jumped in. Breaststroking worked well, albeit a gawky stroke, and forced me to stretch the arm and shoulder. After a few weeks of doing a 1/4-1/3 mile at a time, I remembered seeing a paralympic one-armed swimmer. I tried the one-armed crawl and discovered that my right arm wanted to take a stroke after the left. After fighting that for awhile, I decided to let it do whatever it wanted and over went the right arm. My form would definitely not get high marks, but so what! I was so excited I swallowed a gallon of chlorine water as I plowed through one lap. It was exhausting but exhilarating. Just knowing that I can do it even awkwardly makes me feel nearly normal again.
If I can swim, surely I can run again, right? Oddly, the shoulder doesn’t hurt with the bouncing of a run, and the stress fractures seem to have healed. I’m now up to two sets of 4 1/2 minutes during each one-hour walk. Eventually I’ll work that up to a 9-minute (1 mile) run, but since I promised my husband, no more LONG runs.
My goal now is to do the Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell 5k in December. This time it will mean much more than just running, because I now understand what arthritis feels like.

Son of the Blob

As my good friend, Edwina, says, the plotline of an old ’50s-style movie wrote itself in our kitchen yesterday….”Son of the Blob”. Home from our relaxing jaunt to VA., we were breadless so it was time to drag out the sourdough and get baking. As I was dumping flour and assorted grains into the bowl, I discovered a container of bulk yeast in the back of the fridge. It didn’t smell yeasty so I figured it was a goner. Hadn’t used it in nearly a year since I’ve been using another brand that works better.
What do you do with old yeast? Dump it, right? Okay, so the nearest dumping ground was my kitchen drain and since those yeast granules are so tiny, I envisioned it sliding down the drain to wherever that stuff goes.
Wrong….I immediately learned that was a very bad idea as the drain began to back up and the drain in the adjacent sink began to slowly regurgitate water and whatever yucky stuff is down there. Suddenly, it occurred to me that yeast — when combined with water — begins to foam and if not enough water is added, it would naturally become a glutinous mass.
My first reaction? Scream loudly! In my mind, this would bring the Saint up from the basement to solve the problem. That didn’t happen, so I grabbed the toilet plunger (yes, I realize this is not sanitary, but at the moment, I didn’t care), and began plunging. Apparently, Fred’s curiosity got the better of him and he tore himself away from the basement and poked his head around the corner and asked, “May I help?” Using two flagstones and a plastic placemat, we stopped up the second drain and began plunging away on the first. That only brought up more crap. Thus began a two-hour plumbing project involving a quick trip to the store for two bottles of drain opener. Dumped the first bottle down the main drain and let that settle for 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, we flushed the drains as instructed and attempted the plunger — as NOT instructed. Down went the yucky water…slowly. One more bottle of drain cleaner later and we were home free.
And yes, I did sterilize the sinks with an entire bottle of bleach. It’s beautifully white again.
That was lesson one for the day. The second lesson was much less of a problem, but equally silly. I began washing my doughy fingers into the bathroom sink and duh…it began to back up. Oh yeah, right, did I not learn anything from round one? That required only 1/2 bottle of drain opener.
I’m still trying to figure out the moral of this story. However, I am convinced that thanks to Edwina, we are on to a new venture of producing sequels to those great ’50s movies. Coincidentally, I smell something burning…uh oh. I forgot the black beans on the stove. I’m afraid to look.