Running, Biking, Triathlons, Swimming, Snowshoeing; what's next? Sal's does it all.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Work is Calling

It's thirteen days after surgery and I am back at work. Fortunately, I guess, being a librarian in today's high technology world doesn't require much, if any, physical stress. Being able to drive to work safely and use a keyboard are my only real requirements.
There are a few things I've noticed this morning about working (remember I'm an old man, 58, so my perspective has changed over the years).

1. Three hours into the day (around 11am) I looked up at the clock. It felt like I had been here for five straight days.
2. At 8:30am I realized the lunch I made last night to bring to work was still sitting in the fridge at home.
3. I miss my mid-morning laying on the couch having a second cup of coffee time.
4. Commuting is still not fun.
5. How many darn meetings can librarians schedule in two weeks? This profession has more meetings than any I can imagine.
6. I'm sooo Fat, my work pants hardly fit anymore. Something about not running, swimming, biking or lifting weights with my upper body I think.
7. It is nice eating anything I want without concern of how my body might react the next day when running and wondering what route I should take that has bathrooms and/or port-a-johns close at hand.
8. I miss my mid-afternoon laying on couch time and the third cup of coffee, maybe dozing off for a few minutes. My boss seems to frown on snoring sounds coming from my office.
9. I like my fellow employees but would not have missed them a ton if I never came back.
10. I get a lot of junk emails in my work account. Many emails I consider junk concern meetings I'm supposed to attend. Ugh.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Time After Time

Once the surgical drugs wore off and I began to feel more human, which really seemed to take 48 hours, it was time to figure out how to spend my days. With limited movement and no strength in my dominant arm, the right one, I am also limited to activities I can pursue.
I have ten accomplishments thus far;

1. Shredding. Jan has set me up with this annual task, the destruction of envelopes filled with receipts, pay stubs, bank statements and the like. I'm working on my second garbage bag, anyone need starter paper for their fireplace?
2. Reading the bookclub book, "Brave New World". Our bookclub will meet this Saturday to enjoy some discussion, wine and food. I'm finding this book particularly challenging to read, classic or not.
3. Napping. Normally I don't take naps, now I just fall asleep uncontrollably around 3 every afternoon. I still don't like naps as I always feel so groggy after I wake up.
4. Getting the mail. Yes, just walking fifty feet to the mailbox and breathing fresh air feels good. Except then I get to the box and find no mail and it's 4pm or later (it's 5:30pm today and no mailman yet). Why do we have daily mail, it should be delivered maybe 3x a week?
5. Updating my ESPN fantasy football team. I play in a league with some distant family members and their friends. For three years in a row I made the championship round, winning one, kind of like Peyton Manning. This year my team stinks and I can't seem to find players who will come through on game day, just like the Bills have struggled to find some good players for 14 years.
6. Watching Ellen DeGeneres on tv. This show is on about the time I come out of my nap. She provides a gentle introduction back to life.
7. I try to watch the television news, but it's so depressing after about five minutes I have to change to sports talk, though that can get old quickly.
8. Physical therapy. Today I began therapy, which went well. I will be going back once a week for a couple of weeks, at least. I might be able to drive a vehicle again by next Tuesday!
9. Drinking coffee. I still seem to be on the Pacific Northwest plan of drinking coffee at least three times a day.
10. Bugging Jan. She has had to do everything, including working from home, making three meals a day, getting me water, helping me dress, she does it all. I am very lucky.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Surgery Update

This will be a short article as I can only type with my left hand. All of the nurses, doctors an physician assistants were really nice at the UR Strong Medical center yesterday. It was nice being at a small medical building instead of a huge hospital.  I kept telling Jan we should leave because my shoulder wasn't that bad and I was wasting everyone's time. She wouldn't let me go. :(

My surgeon ended up repairing a frayed bicep tendon, shaving a bone spur, repairing torn labrum cartilage and doing something with bursitis. I guess the surgery was necessary. Kind of amazing I could do three triathlons the end June through July. Now it's all about recovery and not driving my caregiver, Jan, nuts.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fears of Surgery

On December second I get to have arthroscopic surgery to repair tears in the cartilage around my shoulder (the labrum). The length of recovery will depend on how much damage there actually is; hopefully it’s just some minor scar tissue buildup and not extensive tears.
1.       When I begin swimming again will I just go around in circles since my right arm will be so strong?

2.       Will I get over the fear of falling? Snowshoeing and falling go hand in hand for me and that could be a real mental challenge to get over.

3.       I plan on lifting weights with my left arm while my right is still in a sling. Will the left arm become grossly distorted when compared to the shriveled right arm?

4.       I’ve only had surgery once before, yes I have been lucky. When I was four years old I had my tonsils out and my stuffed dog Bela came along. Do you think I can take him again?

5.       People wear pajamas everywhere now. I am supposed to wear loose fitting comfortable clothes to the surgical center, but the idea of a 58 year old wearing pj’s out in public seems weird to me. I think sweat pants will suffice.

6.       If the anesthesia wears off and I wake up during surgery is it okay to scream?

7.       Will the doctor give me a tape of the surgery so I can watch it later?

8.        Will Jan get tired of waiting on me? I’m a bad patient when I have a cold, can’t imagine what this will be like. Have pity on her.

9.       Is Bourbon a suitable alternative to pain medication?

10.   How long before I get sick of daytime television?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fear of Flying

No, I'm not afraid of flying, but a few people I have close relationships with would prefer other modes of transportation. Sometimes, though, flying is the quickest method of getting to your destination and there is little choice but to get your butt on a jet.

Recently Jan and I flew to Portland, Oregon to visit family. We went on Southwest Airlines due to the low cost fare that was offered for a time period that was perfect for us. Southwest is unique in that there is no assigned seats. They have A,B, and C seating assignments. In general the sooner you log on within 24hrs of your departure, the better chance you get to be in the front of the line. In practice, this does not work. If you wait one minute past your time you will end up in mid-B seating. This time we paid an extra $12 per person ($24 round trip) to get preferred early check in. This basically enabled us to get an A seating assignment and better selection of spots once on the plane.
There's no free lunch.

Seating space on all jets is pitiful. I read today that some airlines are thinking of shrinking some of the seats even more and offering them at "special" prices. The current minimum is small for anyone over 5'8" and the width is just horrible. Jan's elbows were jabbing me the entire flight. I can't imagine a smaller space. In the event of a crash you are supposed to duck down, bent over, hands over head. The majority of our population can't do that in the size seats offered today.

Ten things I learned about flying during this adventure;
1. Southwest Airlines crew are the nicest of any airlines.
2. I liked my minor Augieism - a business traveler on our flight home offered me his free drink coupon. I readily accepted and had my first drink of alcohol ever on a plane (Heineken beer, nice and cold). I almost got a Scotch in honor of NervousNellywhileflyingWeinpress, but the beer sounded good at the time.
3. It takes longer to get your checked bag from Rochester than Portland, even though the PDX airport is 5x larger.
4. Always, always take your own disinfectant wipes and clean the seat armrests and tray table as soon as you sit! The tables are the worse offenders of germs. On one flight a baby was having its' diaper changed on the seat tray. I understand a parent doing this, but just think if you were the next person in that seat? Yuck.
5. Did you get up and walk to the bathroom, like everyone should be doing on every flight to stretch legs and help prevent blood clots? Good. I hope you had more hand sanitizer when getting back to your seat and used it liberally.
6. Pets on plane. Sorry pet lovers, but this is getting out of hand. We had three dogs and a cat on our plane from Chicago to Rochester. One dog was a Labrador, very large, service dog. The woman had no obvious disability, such as sight, walking, hearing, etc. Maybe it was for anxiety? She got on the plane first, off first, got the best seat because of the dog. Nice deal. I may be insensitive here, but this seems a stretch.
7. Where in airports do animals eat and relieve themselves? At the Chicago Midway airport it seems to be anywhere they please. Three cleaners were working on a large area that a dog had used and people had then stepped in. (the Labrador maybe?)
8. When the flight crew repeatedly tells passengers not to place coats in the overhead bins because the flight is full and space is limited, don't do it! People are so self-serving.
9. Hey pig(s), the crew brings trash bags by at least 4x on a 90 minute flight. Do you really need to toss every piece of garbage on the floor by your feet?
10. Can we please get rid of seats that recline? Yes it can be a bit more comfy to lean back, but going back to my notes above, leg space is limited. Having your 1980's mullet cut hanging a foot from my head is not a pretty sight.

Sorry, another blog article not about running or triathlons. Well, I was wearing Brooks running shoes on the plane and did continuously stretch my legs (within my own seat space). I also read a Running Times magazine and almost completed re-reading "Once a Runner".

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Portland on my mind

Truly I am sorry for the four plus feet of snow western NY got within two days of Jan and I leaving for Portland, Oregon. It's absolutely ridiculous to have that much anytime, but mid-November? Wow! However, here it is 45-50 everyday and no rain for the last four days, perfect running weather.

I am happy. In a day or two I will run around Nike headquarters, about a mile from my daughter's home. Maybe I'll be recruited by Alberto Salazar? Maybe Olympian Shalane  Flanagan will join me for a run?
 Probably not, but I can dream.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Subaru Commercials

I'm not overly fond of the hokey down-home Subaru radio commercials. In fact, they really annoy me with the fake warm fuzzy stories. What to do? Well, I wrote my own since I know a family that has two Subarus. The story is called "A Subaru Tale about Mike and Lou".

Lou and Mike, great friends for years, were traveling to Mendon Ponds for a race. Not just any race, this had hills and trails, deer and squirrels. Their beautiful wives gave kisses goodbye and off they went from the cozy confines of Spencerport heading east across the great river.

Kayaks firmly attached to the Subaru roof, bikes loaded on the back rack, running clothes jammed inside, Lou and Mike were ready for any adventure. They had smart phones, GPS devices, satellite tracking, written directions and a gas station map from 1973, getting lost was not an issue. The Subaru was filled with gas and ready for the twenty mile long trek to the hundred acre pond and deep woods of Mendon.

The Sirius radio was tuned to their favorite station with KC & the Sunshine Band blasting out a 1970’s hit and Lou singing along. After two hours they realized something might be wrong. It’s only a 25 minute drive, even at 45mph. The truth came slowly upon the two of them, once again they were lost. Having been to Mendon Ponds 93 times in five years you would think directions would not be an issue, but when you are easily distracted – Squirrel! – well, anything can happen.

Fortunately the Subaru self-directing button got pushed as Mike was searching the radio for another Credence Clearwater song and a sweet female voice came on to give them turn-by-turn instructions. Ninety minutes later they were safe in the Mendon woods, running amongst the wildlife. This is why Mike bought a Subaru and you should too.