Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Family surgeries

The last few weeks have been interesting with my family.  About two weeks ago, my mom fell while painting her bathroom.  She went to the ER which in my opinion did not take very good care of her.  They made a preliminary diagnosis of it was broken, put her arm in a sling, gave her pain meds, and sent her on her way.  The next few days afterwards, she was in a lot of pain and really hated feeling immobile.  She told me she had some breakdowns of not being able to put on deodorant, dry her hair, drive, lift her arm, etc.  It really puts in perspective those little things we take for granted.

My mom who is normally a very self sufficient woman had a really hard time with this.  A week later, she had an appt. with the Sports Medicine Dr.  He x-rayed her arm again which showed breaks at the head of the humerus, shattering of the bone, and dislocation.  Her options were limited to reconstructive surgery or letting it try to heal on its own which would have resulted in likely only minimal function.  And since functionality is what she wants, she opted for the surgery.  It is at noon today.

After surgery, of course, there will be a lot of physical therapy.  She is not looking forward to this, and I told her my estimated time for her recovery was at least 2.5-3 months.  She felt a bit grim by this and truly thought that with the surgery, maybe a month later, she would be all fine.  My feeling is there is probably ligament damage which always takes awhile to heal.  In some sense, by telling her this, it has ignited fire in her to take less than that time, I just hope she does not try to do too much, like try to come to my place in October to take care of the dogs while I'm gone.  She's really quite upset about this.

Then, my dad's wife had a surgery last week.  She decided to get a tummy tuck.  So far, she is healing nicely from it.  The question that remains for me is was this for her or for my dad or both?  My guess is both.  She's always been a bit worried about her size--she's tall at 6'0 feet.  And married to someone like my father who is vain (and yes, he would admit to this) is difficult.  He certainly loves his wife, but I know he wished she was smaller.  

With the surgery, she isn't going to be a size 2 or 0 or something, but she will be smaller.  I'm hopeful, it will help with her self image, but I don't know.  I should footnote this with that she had tried diets in the past, got medically tested for thyroid and such, but I also believe she was on a long term asthma medication and/or prednisone which she later learned she should have been getting blood tested for regularly.  She also exercises and eats pretty healthy as well.  We'll see how it all goes.

Hopefully, both recoveries will go smoothly and no complications.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Debuting orthotics

A few months ago, I posted on the asymmetry of my feet. Since then, I've followed up with my podiatrist and waited for my new custom orthotics.  They were available a month ago, but the company messed up, placing my metarsal pads at my arch rather than my midfoot area. My podiatrist was not happy and even floored that someone was dumb enough to do this when explicit directions and measurements were given. But be so, we are all human.

Yesterday, I finally received them! The podiatrist told me they would take a few weeks to get used to, and indeed he is right. Even upon placing them in my shoes, they feel different and kind of hurt. I'm hoping as my feet get used to them, they will feel better. I'm sure it will also help when I get new shoes which I've put off, waiting for these orthotics.

With these kind of things, I hate waiting, waiting to get used to something to feel right. What if they never do, and then that is a waste of $400 of which my insurance will only cover 25% if that. (Doesn't this sound ironically like recovery) In the past I have had a tendency to push ahead of the pain and trudge through anyway. This has not always proven effective, so patience is of essence here as well as just being smart about this. What my head really wants to do is just go for a mid-length run and "see" how they do. If they do well, then it is a score for me, the orthotics, and the podiatrist. If they don't, then it becomes, "well, I tried it, didn't work, see nothing works, etc."

I think part of this is also the fact that I want my feet to feel relief from long runs. When I hit mile XX, my feet immediately hurt, and I just feel them digging into my insoles. The pressure is real as is evident from the wear pattern. When I know I have long runs planned for the next two weekends, this just doesn't bode well to get used to the orthotics when I need them now. <sigh>

One interesting conversation my podiatrist and I had was when we were talking about how people did with the orthotics was:

Pod: Some people just don't have the body or feet for running. For some, their feet hit a breaking point and will go no further. 
Me: I have already run two marathons and a half marathon, so it's proven my feet can handle it. 
Pod: Yes, but it's about cumulation over the years.
Oh, that was hard to hear but in fact true.  It's funny, because I could say this about anything else--another person, a dog, etc. when talking about their capabilities of certain sports and jobs but when it comes to me, how could that be so?  

In reality, cumulation of what we put our bodies through does count.  Some of those things we can't get back, so it is vital that we take care of them.

p.s.-Day 1 of running with orthotics did not bode well.  At every mile, on the dot, my feet felt pain.  Ugh!  Hope this won't last too long.  With walking, there is some discomfort but not as bad with running.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bunny antics and enrichment

Thanks for those who commented on my last post. I really appreciate it lots! I'm feeling a little better since that post, and this past week has had some interesting insights which I'll share in an upcoming post soon.

The good news about the computer cord was that it was just the cord and no damage was done to the computer. To boot, the computer repair place only charged me $41 total. Here's a photo of Clover's handi-work.

I know this was a result of not bunny proofing well and some lack of vigilance on my part even if it was for the shortest amount of time as possible. So now the cord is covered with pvc pipe until I get something else (I've tried a tubing before but she ate through it) I also realized yesterday when I was cleaning, another cord had been chewed, like totally broken in pieces. This was to my Wii.

But, despite all her mischief, I can't help but continue to provide enrichment for her. Clover now has her own weave pole set. I have posted some videos on facebook of her learning the weave poles, as well as her latest trick: jumping over the dogs. When I'm on my other computer, I will upload the file here. 

 Lastly, here is a photo of two of my three dogs plus Clover in the background just hanging out. I love her "super bunny" position.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Just ranting

It's funny, because it has only been a week since I last posted, however, it feels like forever.  I guess in some ways I haven't had much to say.  Life is well life--still job searching, still trying to figure out what it is exactly I want to do, trying to figure out my moral ethics and beliefs on a variety of topics, whether a marathon is really doable this fall, etc.  All good food for thought but can make you crazy and frustrated too.

I guess the job search is probably the most frustrating out of all these topics, because when it boils down to it, you need some sort of money to live.  It is unfortunate that money has to have so much meaning, but it just does. 

The other thing that bothers me is that I may apply for xx amount of jobs and get nowhere simply because I fall short of one criteria.  It truly sucks.  I've talked with HR people on how this works, and for some employers, if you are one criteria short, you are immediately chucked from the pile even if you may be the coolest, hardest working type person. 

I read an article a few months ago about a guy who committed suicide, because he could not get employed after two years of searching.  Whether this man may have had a mental illness, I do not know, but that isn't really the point.  Even those people who are mentally sound, and may do all the right things, it still does not always work out.  They may not get to a point of suicide, but yes, they can get frustrated and depressed.  It just reminds me how fierce the job market is and how much talent may be missed.  Sometimes, I feel like it is the HR people that can make you or break you.

It's a scary time for me and many people who are jobless right now.  I've thought about a lot of things--what I could do, what I need to do, whether going back to school is an option, etc., but everything is incredibly scary.  Even if you invest and believe in something, it does not guarantee you will come out on top.  You may or everything may flop, and then you are right where you started before or worse.  With school, both taken time and money--both of which I feel like I do not have enough of. 

I know I'm ranting here, and I try not to discuss this too much on here as I do not want to appear like I am whining or depressed or woe is me, etc.  I guess the good thing with this all is that I haven't reverted back to ED.  Times of stress in the past has caused me to go running backwards.  I can't say the idea has not crossed my mind, as sometimes I do think it would be nice to slice my food budget.  But deep down, I know it solves nothing and only creates worse problems.  Certainly, that in and of itself is a nice victory, but still my head kind of minimizes it, thinking I should be past this point by now.  I should be able to endure anything that comes my way.

I'll end this post with highlights or not so highlights of this week:
  • I know I at least have a bartending gig in mid September.  I'm hoping this will provide an outlet for networking.
  • I finished Clover's weave poles--all ten of them!
  • Thursday turned out to have a little of Murphy's Law.  I was going to meet with a few people for Search and Rescue work.  Well, that didn't work out, but I already made plans with a few people to visit them.  I did visit with a few, but all the times were shortened. 
  • On Friday, I had to take my netbook to the computer shop.  I discovered Clover had chewed part of the powercord, so my netbook was spouting out "cricket-like" sounds and giving me the blue screen of death.  I'm hopeful it is just the cord and the computer is not damaged.
  • Friday night, my mom was painting and fell.  She broke her humerus bone in several places.  She is miserable and in pain, but I'm thankful it was not worse like a cracked skull or something.
  • Yesterday, I did another Search and Rescue training with some other trainers.  I try to go to this facility 1-2 times a month, as they do similar training.  We also use similar training techniques.  Tovah is doing well overall, but this training definitely takes time.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mourning the loss of a self.

It is not often that I read an article and really relate to it like I did this one: Leaving the sport, gaining an eating disorder.  Though I'm not big on the title "gaining an eating disorder" like it was something that came out of the blue, I did like some of the points the article mentioned.

The big highlight to me was about loss of identity.  Here was this woman who had devoted her life to gymnastics, retired, and then appeared to become fixated on her body.  While it is true as she says, "
The same quality that made me great at sports made me want to get really skinny," the real underlying issue was feeling a huge loss--a life she had known, now going into the unknown, feeling lost, and developing a different identity for herself.

Coming from similar experiences, it is hard to "find" a new identity.  There are those who go unscathed and immediately jump into something new with ease, but I think for a lot of people it isn't easy.  With eating disorders, this can be seen on both ends of the spectrum.  For some, it is the beginning of an eating disorder, for others, it is a loss of an eating disorder as they enter recovery.  What both have in common is that each necessarily needs time to mourn.  I think people forget this and then blame themselves for not being "over" it (whatever that may be); or, they may feel that pressure from misunderstood people.  Or, they hold onto the ideal, that this is their only identity.

For those of you who need scientific evidence, in this New Yorker piece, "
Scientists have found that grief, like fear, is a stress reaction, attended by deep physiological change."

The take home message here is that it is okay to feel sad and upset.  In fact, I think it is important and healthy. This doesn't mean it has to be some huge event, or some tear jerking session (though of course it is okay to cry too-nothing wrong with that), but it's more a feeling of a kind of acceptance.  It's knowing that the loss of one identity allows for us to grow into a different identity--an identity that we can embrace, learn to like, and be successful at.

The woman in this article was lucky in that her eating disordered behavior only lasted about a year.  For many others, it is a long, drawn out process of years.  I hope those reading are not in the latter.  But if you are, and this is one of the things you've held onto-the identity of an ED, I hope you will be able to eventually let go of it.  A good question to ponder here is: how do you want to be remembered--the eating disordered girl? What identity do you want?