Sunday, February 16, 2020

My last doctor visit


This past Friday was my last visit to the doctor I've had for the past 15-20 years. I honestly don't remember when I started seeing him. He wasn't the first doctor I had when we moved to Northeast Indiana. I saw a guy in Ossian, but then he died of a heart attack or motorcycle wreck or something. Then I saw his Physicians Assistant for awhile. Eventually I found Dr. A on S. Anthony Blvd, and I've been there ever since. He actually wasn't accepting new patients, but a friend who was a patient of his got me in. I remember my first visit was a prostate exam. Nice way to be introduced.

He epitomized the "old school" doctor for my time. Not like the old, old school who used to make house calls, but just a step above.

In fact, he told me Friday that he was only one of three doctors in the world who still used entirely paper records. I am not sure if that's true or not - I have a hard time believing it - but I bet there aren't many like him left in the world. There was literally NO computer anywhere in his office. And this was the one and only pic of him I could find on the internets!

Anyway, my bp and heart rate seem to have evened out on the 40 mg of Lisinopril, so he wrote me a 90-day script with one refill, and instructed me to see my new doctor sometime in the next month or two. (My bp was 136/84 and heart rate 52 at his office on this day. He was ecstatic.)

I do have a new doctor lined up. My doctor told me he went to his office last week to check out the doctor and his staff, and he was very well pleased. I thought that was a nice touch. One of those little things I liked so much about him. Like the time when I was out of work and he instructed his staff to not charge me; or the time he spent with me each visit talking about running; or the smile he always greeted and left me with; or the always calm and hopeful demeanor he exhibited... how he would sit and cross his legs and look at me when we talked... and so many things. I will miss him...

So, if my new doctor (a much younger guy) can be half as good as Doctor A, I will be thrilled.

And... I guess that's about all there is to say about that...

Thursday, February 13, 2020

When it sucks


This is a picture of my right calf. At physical therapy yesterday they used suction cups. Apparently it's called 'cupping therapy.' Webmd says,
"Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage."

My PT used a pump to attach the cups. It didn't hurt, but I guess these marks will be around for a few days. It's WAY better than dry needling as far as I am concerned!

Actually, PT did not suck yesterday. It was much better than Monday. I said I didn't want anymore needles, and didn't do as much scraping, but concentrated more on my posterior tibial tendon. This is what I told the doctor at FWO I thought my problem was. He pretended not to hear me (I guess). My PT seems to agree with me though, as it is one super sore tendon.


So, yesterday I got a calf and foot massage, the cupping, then I did a series of exercises to strengthen the foot, ankle, calf and glutes. I tried to pick up a towel with my toes for several minutes, did some balancing maneuevers, resistance band stuff, and jumped around a bit (plus a few things I'm sure I am forgetting). I was tired, and a little sore, but not near like my Monday session was.

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Our swimming lesson went pretty good last night too. Aside from the first class, we have still been the only two pupils. Last night the female instructor was absent, so the guy instructor kind of just let us swim laps. He gave a few pointers here and there, I suppose to justify his getting paid and all. I made every lap without stopping, and for the first time was able to do the front crawl (free style) and actually breathe! That's something I'd struggled with since the first night, and it felt good to finally find a rhythm.

The only bad thing is... I can't seem to fall asleep when we get home from swimming lessons. They don't get over until 8:15 pm (which is my normal bedtime), and then I take a shower, and it's after 9 before we get home. I feel plenty relaxed, but I suppose the physical exertion that late is keeping my endorphins going strong. I think it was after 1 am before I fell asleep. The alarm comes awful early at 3:50 am. It's not near so bad when I'm sober though. As Warren Zevon said, "I can sleep when I'm dead" (not really, because I need my sleep, but...).

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We had snow last night - just a couple inches - and it was pretty pretty this morning. It still is as I sit at work watching the flakes float to the ground in downtown Fort Wayne. Not a bad day again. So... I'm waiting for a catastrophe, ya' know.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The losing end


One of my all time favorite album covers is from Neil Young's second studio album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. I'm not sure what it is about the picture, but it was burned into my mind at an early age and has stuck with me. The album contains four of his signature hits: Cinnamon Girl, Down by the River, Cowgirl in the Sand, and the title track, all of which were written in a single day when Neil had a 103F fever. It was also the first album with his longtime backing band Crazy Horse.

This morning I woke up thinking of a lesser-known song from the album though: The Losing End (When You're On). It's a simple song with a country sound. There's really nothing spectacular about it. But... sometimes we can feel like that, can't we?
It's so hard for me now
But I'll make it somehow
Though I know I'll never be the same
Won't you ever change your ways
It's so hard to make love pay

When you're on the losing end
And I feel that way again
If you disregard the lines I crossed out... it's a refrain of mine right now.

I had my second physical therapy treatment yesterday and came home near defeated. Not only was I physically beaten (and my leg and foot bruised), but I was even more mentally and emotionally drained. I hadn't been that low in a long time.

I couldn't stand the pain of the dry needling. The fact that she hit a blood vessel or something didn't help. Apparently the PT was taking the scraping out on me for that. I have literally not been in so much pain in as long as I can remember. She honestly had to get me a sweat towel because I was perspiring so bad!

As I said, the mental anguish was likely worse than the physical pain. Therapy hurt worse than it did to run, and it seemed that particular identity is become more distant with each step.

So, after having surgery in December for this stupid belly button hernia... my blood pressure is out of control, my legs won't recover from the last marathon, we are yet to find a church home, I still have no inclination towards a different job, the situation with my parents continues to get more stressful, and... "...I know I'll never be the same..."

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This morning I read from 'Common Prayer: A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals' something Bernard of Clairvaux (a 12th century Cistercian reformer) wrote:
"The first step of pride is curiosity. How does it show itself? Here is an example. There stands a monk who up to this time had every appearance of being an excellent monk. Now you begin to notice that wherever he is, standing, walking or sitting, his eyes are wandering, his glance darts right and left, his ears are cocked. Some change has taken place in him; every movement shows it. These symptoms show that that monastic's soul has caught some disease. One who used to watch over his own conduct now is all watchfulness for others."

I've never considered myself a prideful person. Though I suppose if I am the one defining it, I would never define it in terms of myself. Especially if I were full of pride.

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And so my mind meanders to Jesus' words in Matthew 16:25, "For anyone who keeps his life for himself shall lose it; and anyone who loses his life for me shall find it again."

Hmm... maybe losing isn't all it's cracked down to be. Perhaps, when you're on the losing end, you are actually on your way. To somewhere...

I don't know.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Sunday in the park; two popes


We did not attend a Sunday worship gathering again yesterday. We kept the grand kids overnight and... while we had more than enough time to make it 'somewhere'... it's honestly just easier to not even bother. And I really hate that...

Instead... after the wee ones were picked up, we opted to take a walk in the park, so to speak. We drove downtown and walked through Promenade Park and over to the Lawton skate park, looped around by the Old Fort, and wound our way back through Headwaters Park and The Landing on Columbia Street. It was a nice 45-minute stroll. I took the above pic from the bridge that connects the Fort and Headwaters Park East.

Sure, it's great to take in some nature and feel the cool against your face; to be free from the obligation of "church." But I don't like it, and I don't think it's right. Not for me anyway. Not that we shouldn't enjoy long walks and the beauty of creation... but I don't for one second think that's what Jesus gave his life for and called me to.

It is frustrating. I/we feel like there is no place we fit, and I lack confidence in my ability to get along with others (to tolerate them) and not be a nuisance to some innocent God-loving group of people. It seems everyone is either so liberal that anything goes, or we've got to be praying for our military from the pulpit to be "Christian"... and... well... I know... the real problem is... ME.

Yesterday I did wonder to myself what it would be like to try starting up the "Beer & Hymns" thing... Simply open up our house even, and anyone that wanted to join us in singing hymns together (if Jane would play the piano for us), and people could bring the beverage of their choice (or none at all)...

I also thought about the prospect of trying to do a 'worship in the park' thing. You know, just be present at the same time and in the same place each Sunday morning... I don't know. Stupid stuff. And why would I do that to myself again????

--

Anyway, yesterday afternoon we decided to try watching a movie. Of course Amazon Prime wouldn't work, as seems to be getting more and more common. So we watched 'The Two Popes' on Netflix. I'd seen ads for it, and heard other people talk about how good it was. It was actually WAY BETTER than I anticipated. It was funny, intense... emotionally powerful. I was fighting back tears throughout.

It also stirred within me many of the thoughts above. The tension between following the disciplines of the church (respect/love for God), and the call to social action (the mission of God). It's a fine line. When the one Cardinal remarks, "Maybe I could just be a parish priest again"... I found myself longing for that life. Yet, at the same time, I know there is no "just be a..." involved. Not for me.

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So, here I sit. The sweat towels are in the washing machine at the ol' YMCA. I'm listening to the whir of treadmills and whatnot. I can feel life seeping away from me every day I am here, as I force myself to not make waves, trying to fit into the system, trying to be a good little boy who 'knows my place'...

... ... ...

Bah... I want to scream!!!!!

Sunday, February 09, 2020

The first snowblower-ing of the year


Friday 2/7/2020 was the first time this season I used the snowblower. As you can see from this picture out our front window, I did not get it cleaned off before we'd driven on it.

I actually debated whether to even bother. We only got an inch or two of snow last week. However, I came home late Friday morning and decided to give it a quick go-over.

The neighbors probably wondered what I was doing. I worked out after work, so I had my running shorts and shoes on. I suppose not just everyone uses their snowblower in their shorts.

Anyway, this is a posterity posting. The first snowblower use has been noted. It did not get a very good workout, but is still one of those things I'm really glad I have.