Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to heal

I got to stop by CFD yesterday, and it was so amazing!  I didn't stay for a very long time, just enough to say hi to a bunch of people and show off my shoulder and how it's hooked up to a bunch of electrodes, so I can make it twitch.

Seeing all the lovely active sweaty people made me realise I need to stop sulking about being a one-armed wonder and start living the "wonder" part while making the "one-armed" part as short and impermanent as possible.  So here's my game plan.  Some of these points I'm already following; others I'm going to start incorporating.  As always, any and all comments and suggestions are welcome!

With a few exceptions that I'll note below, I'm going strict paleo until I'm healed enough to use my arm again.  The reasoning is pretty simple: it promotes reduction/avoidance of inflammation, which in turn helps avoid infection and speeds healing.  I've also been using an ice pack and occasional doses of ibuprofen, as my shoulder still seems to me to be a little swollen (no redness, oozing or other signs of infection, though).

I've also been keeping half an eye on portions, though I'm not actually counting calories.  Reason is that I know my BMR is about 1500 cals/day when I don't factor in any activity, and I haven't been very active at all lately.  This isn't too much of an issue, since the sudden and dramatic decrease in exercise and activity means my appetite dropped to almost nil.  However, I do tend to binge-eat when I'm bored, and ennui has been the main emotion of late.  The times I have caved, I've kept it pretty paleo, though, so that's a semi-victory.  A better fix is finding something to erase the boredom, and I'm working on that.

My exceptions to the paleo rule are mostly driven by the fact that I'll be staying with my godparents for a couple weeks while my parents are on vaycay and I'm still pretty helpless.  They keep chickens in their backyard!  I'm also expecting to encounter

  • delicious homemade fermented things (like sauerkraut, not beer), as well as
  • happy milk!  that is, not all cooked and nastified, just as pure as Bessie intended (wink wink)
In addition, I'm fully planning to deviate from strictitude when I just want some goddammn chocolate already.

So far, this has consisted of one leisurely two-mile stroll around the neighborhood a few days ago.  I attempted some squats and one-arm push-ups against the arm of the couch the same day, but I was still pretty shaky from the meds and it didn't work out very well.  Since then, however, I've focused on cutting down severely on the meds, and I think I'm finally close enough to myself again to attempt another try.  Besides walking, which I intend to do at least once a day, I've come up with
  • squats
  • pistols, once I'm up for it
  • one-armed push-ups off the wall or the arm of the couch
  • side plank holds
  • front one-armed plank holds, once I'm up for it
  • sit-ups
  • one-armed kettlebell stuff
As soon as I can do more than just slow controlled movements (I don't know how long that'll be), I'll start working bouts of slow running into my walks, preferably barefoot, as well as jumps onto low objects, like stairs.  At the moment, any movement that causes me to tense up my body and thus my shoulder involuntarily or quickly is fairly painful.

For my right arm: officially I'm still not supposed to take it out of the sling unless I'm showering or doing the only prescribed exercises, which consist of straightening my elbow and bending my wrist, 20 reps at a time, 3 times a day.  I've been taking it out of the sling and letting it rest on  a pillow in my lap as much as I can, working my wrist and hand, as well as bending and straightening my arm when I'm standing with it hanging by my side.  There's little to no pain associated with these movements, or with slow isolated shrugs (of which I'm still doing VERY few, just to be safe), mostly just joint stiffness.  I'm pretty worried (read: totally paranoid) about losing muscle mass, though, so in my eyes it looks like my arm's already transformed into this shrunken blobby thing from a week of disuse.  Meh.

Like I've mentioned before, I'm been prescribed some pretty serious meds for the pain, which all the doctors told me numerous times was going to be quite considerable.  The first several days it was bad enough that I was popping pills like a toddler eating jelly beans off the floor of a movie theater.  Side effects included being awake for like 4 hours a day, not wanting to eat anything at ALL and getting seriously backed up in the ol' GI department (tmi, sorry!  but something you should definitely be aware of if you ever have to take these), as well as being super shaky and out of it whenever I was awake.  Now the discomfort has shrunk to more manageable levels, so I'm trying to do without the scrips as much as possible, relying more on ibuprofen or my handy dandy shoulder electrifier during the day, then taking meds at night if I need the help to get comfortable enough to sleep.  

To help with the anti-inflammation, I'm taking between 6 and 9 capsules of fish oil every day.  I'm also drinking a couple glasses of Metamucil+water and at least 4 6-oz cups of fully caffeinated coffee every day to help combat the aforementioned particularly unfortunate side effect, and it is totally working.  The more you know...

At this point I'm just trying to get back into a normal awake-during-daylight-hours schedule, and get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep at night.  But sometimes naps are an awesome way to pass the time.

So there you have it!  My genius plan to take over the world be a total badass again as soon as possible.  What do you guys think?  

PS:  Here's me being extremely pouty a day or two after the surgery:

...and here's me right after I was finally able to take a SHOWER!  And put on REAL CLOTHES!  And a BRA!  I tell ya, bathing never felt so good.

(btw yes I know my clothes don't match at all.  it was the first thing I could put on after over 72 straight hours of that damn hospital gown, and I wanted some COLOR!)


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Surgery is not nearly as fun as it sounds

So.  I'm out of the hospital and fairly lucid, despite this heavy-duty shit I'm taking every four hours.  (PS: I'm gonna say that's the reason I might be a little more foul-mouthed in my writing than usual.  So far I've managed to hold myself back from howling "FUUUCK!" every time I tweak my arm, seeing as my mother's nearly always in earshot, but I need some kind of an outlet.)  I'm waiting for the latest dose to kick in so I can try and catch a couple winks, so I figured I'd share all the loveliness with you.

Honestly, it wasn't all that bad an experience.  Every single one of my doctors and nurses were totally spiffy.  Even the intern who bruised me up trying to get the IV in was a very sweet girl - it seems, however, that my veins shrink under stress.  There are FIVE needle holes from failed attempts in my hand and arm, with varying degrees of bruised-ness around them, including a real shiner that takes up a good patch of my forearm. Finally the nurse took over and got it in fairly quickly.  That was probably the worst part of anything that happened there, though.

Once the IV was in and the anesthesiologist was done chatting with another patient (very nice man and very good at his job but that dude could TALK!  Quote from the nurses:  "Where's Dr. So-and-so?"  "Oh, he's off somewhere talking." They both laugh.), I got a little something in the IV to calm me down and the doc administered a block on my right shoulder.  That's basically a numbing injection put in just below a nerve cluster so it spreads through my arm.  My thumb and first two fingers numbed up pretty quickly, but I could still feel the rest of my arm.  The other meds kicked in very quickly, though, so I was slightly past caring.  This was about when I lost all sense of time.

After a while, they rolled me into the OR.  I was still pretty content-feeling, but a lot more alert than they were expecting.  The surgeon noticed that my shoulder wasn't marked at all, so he quickly scribbled something on there, which I definitely felt.  "Is my shoulder supposed to be numb yet?"  Pause.  Some confused glances.  "Um...yes.  We'll fix that for you.  Don't worry, you'll be asleep for it."  Surgeon, anesthesiologist and one nurse rush around purposefully.  Two other nurses help me onto the table and give me a breathing mask.  "This is just oxygen.  Just take some deep breaths..."  Well, as it turns out, it wasn't actually just oxygen.  That's the last thing I remember before waking up.

I don't remember what I dreamed about, but I know it was all very vivid and seamlessly woven in with drifting into consciousness and seeing blurry nurses check my stats or just rush past before I dozed off again.  Finally there was more of the blurriness than the vividness, so I figured I was awake.  Everything was still flowing together pretty well, though, so I can't tell you at what point my mom came in to sit with me, or how long it was between then and the time we left.  I do remember saying very vehemently that if I ever had a kid, it would not be in a hospital.  Okay, semi-conscious self, whatever you say...

I do remember the conversation the people in the "room" (they're just separated by curtains) next to me were having...a little more specifically than I'd really like to.  As far as I could tell, it was an elderly lady who'd hurt one of her legs, accompanied by one or more daughters, all with very heavy, rather refined Southern accents - you know, the kind who actually still drink mint juleps.  At some point, she stood up with the aid of a walker, and immediately started pissing herself lavishly.  She was nowhere near shy about it, and neither were her daughters.  Some gems I remember: "Oh lawdie, it's all in my shoes!  They're just full of it!"  "Well now we're gonna have to rinse them out, Momma!  Don't let's forget now!"  And this one, a good five minutes after she started: "Are you still peeing now, Momma?"  "Yep, it's still just comin' and comin'!"

From ghoulies and  ghosties and piss-covered old ladies, good LAWD, deliver us!

That's all for now, folks.  I've got the deets on this fancy sling to share with y'all, as well as the pretty pictures they took of my insides while they were stitching me up.  For now, though, here's my flower.  They gave it to me when I left.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

And I'm off again...

I'm leaving for my surgery in about 15 minutes.

I am very scared.

For at least the first 10 days I'll be hopped up as all hell on two different kinds of very heavy-duty meds.  I might blog while on them, and if so it should be pretty hilarious.  But the bad thing is that I'll really need them.  The docs have warned me several times that once the injections they'll do for the actual procedure wear off, this will hurt.  A lot.  Constantly.

*deep breath*

This will fix my arm...this is the right thing to do...I can get through all the pain and rehab to get back to where I was the other day, when I maxed out the day's lifting schedule at 3x195 deadlift.  Even though it'll take a while.

But you better believe I'll come back stronger than ever.  My goal?  Bodyweight snatch by 18 months from this day.  Snatch Bost, you're my inspiration for this.

Arg.  I'm still super scared though.  Wish me luck, guys.

Be back at CFD as soon as possible!  If I say anything particularly ridiculous you have to remember it and tell me about it later.

Catch y'all on the flip side!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm back! Did you miss me?

Last Monday I got up at some god-awful hour like five am (it didn't really matter, because I'd been too excited to sleep most of the night) to drive to the airport and catch an early plane to Ohio.  Why?  Because I got to go stay with The Man for a whole week!  (During which I opened my laptop maybe once.  So no blogging.)  And it was absolutely AMAZING.

Did I stick to paleo?  Hell no.  I wasn't even remotely primal.  I ate grilled cheese sandwiches and potatoes and corn cooked with bacon and cookies from Subway and marshmallows whenever I felt like it, and I drank coffee with milk (and sometimes cocoa mix) all day long.  And I didn't even try to think about calories.  I just ate what I wanted of what was there, when I felt like it.  And I focused more on the people I was dining with than the food itself.

Did I exercise?  Hrmm...well, yes.  Sometimes several times a day. shall I put this...I wasn't really focusing on burpees and air squats.  Well, not solo ones, at any rate.  Hee hee!  I kill me!

I did, however, get impromptu lessons on how to ride on of these:
It's like a skateboard with two wheels, and the fore and aft sections rotate individually.  I'm terrified of falling and freeze up as soon as both feet are on it, but I managed to go about two feet down the road a couple times.  I consider that a success.

Was I blissfully happy the entire time?  Well, no.  500+ miles is a lot to get over on a regular basis, but we manage.  And when it's suddenly shriveled down to nothing, it can be a bit of a shock to be so close, so soon, after months and months of distance.  Emotions run high and low and everywhere in-between before they finally level out (which usually takes just a few days) and the bliss does take over.  Sitting close together on an old bench, looking out over a perfect lake winking in the sun and letting the flood of feelings just rush out is a good way to speed up the process, too.  Especially if it ends with a whole bunch of kisses.

There weren't too many pictures taken - I didn't put on a shred of makeup or bother with my clothes save for the one day we went to a wedding.  Here's one pic from that day.  Please ignore the fact that I look like I'm about to eat the world and The Man looks (so he says) like he's shyly working his way up to strangling me.  That just gives us character.

Yep.  There we are.  Two adorably awkward, beautifully flawed, regular ol' people who managed to stumble into each other one day and never wanted the moment to end.  Funny how things work out like that.  And it's taken a hell of a lot of effort on both our parts to pull each other along this far - but now it's been just about three years since that first day, and hopefully we'll both keep on pulling for three score more.  Because you know what they say...

...slow and steady wins the race.