Category Archives: exercise

Schadenfreude

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Schadenfreude

Hello friends not sure what part of the world you’re in…this week in America people are freaking out over a Peloton ad. For those not in the know, Peloton is a luxury brand of an in home stationary bicycle which has a strong community of enthusiasts. I don’t own one and I don’t want one, I have friends that have made this their religion. Whatever makes you happy.

Here’s a link to the ad in case you missed it –

Peloton Ad

Clearly the husband is an asshole. He is berating his wife and fat shaming her with the $2K dollar gift which is just a smack in the face. This woman obviously suffers from some type of body dysmorphia disorder and her husband is fanning the flames with this so called present. Thanks for the eating disorder babe, perhaps you can gift me with a new neurosis for Mother’s Day.

Oh but wait, none of that actually happens in the ad. Nope, not a speck of it. The husband gives the wife a Peloton for Christmas. She is equal parts excited and nervous about it and spoiler – she loves it. WTAF people?

I guess people are projecting their own feelings about exercise and gift giving onto the world. Do the pissed off people exercise at all, why so many assumptions? The husband says maybe five words in this ad and none of them are related to weight loss or misogyny. I know this is mind blowing for some…(lean in) people don’t just exercise to lose weight. I have exercised consistently for 30 years, weight loss has never been the primary goal.

For me, exercise has been as much for my mental health as my physical well being. Sure I would love to drop a few pounds, exercise alone won’t likely do that. I know that if I want to lose weight the best way to do that is to tweak my nutrition. Move more (always good) and eat less (less junk). One of the most difficult aspects of recovering from my ACDF surgery has been the activity restrictions. I miss the camaraderie of fitness classes. For the next few months I’m limited to walking and a stationary bike (still not gonna happen Peloton).

Here’s 5 things that piss me off way more than that Peloton ad:

1) Health Care in America, it’s a f*cking mess.

2) An ineffective and inequitable judicial system where minorities do hard time for possession of weed, while rich dudes commit “white collar” crimes and pay off lawyers to the tune of 6 or 7 figures to avoid jail time.

3) Immigrant kids dying in detention centers and the entire separation of families bullshit that is happening.

4) Gun violence.

5) Ninja chin hairs (ladies over 40 know what I’m talking about).

In other news…I got a parking ticket last week. I took my son into town to have breakfast and came out to a ticket on my windshield. Our town is notorious for handing out parking tickets so I wasn’t surprised. I tried to pay when we parked but the kiosk wasn’t working. I took a picture of the machine display which announced it’s “malfunction”, I thought I’d be covered.

I called the phone number on the ticket, it seemed promising at first. “Sure – send us an email, we’ll look it over.” A few hours later I did that, here’s how that went:

Me: Hello – I called earlier to discuss a parking ticket I got this morning. The kiosk behind the pizza shop isn’t working, I’ve attached a photo of the display stating a malfunction. I made a good faith effort to pay for parking, it was not possible. Please waive the parking violation. Thank you for your consideration.

PVD (Perfectly Vindictive Dicks – oops my bad….Parking Violations Department): Did you try another kiosk? Your ticket remains open.

Me: I didn’t know I could pay at another kiosk, I thought they were assigned specific zones. Your kind consideration is much appreciated. Have a fabulous holiday. Namaste (Pssst…when I use the term Namaste it’s my polite way of saying f*ck all the way off.)

PVD: I am not going to waive this ticket. There are numerous kiosks. Sorry I can’t void this.

Me: Yeah, I know. I was trying for kindness-guilt-sarcastic Jedi mind trick, it seldom works.

PVD:                   SILENCE

Later that day I took an informal poll on Facebook to identify the best way to pay this fine. The options were – 1) go to town hall with a clear plastic bag full of pennies, Werther’s candies & crumpled up tissues and count it out at the counter or 2) write “schadenfreude” in the memo section of the check.

Ultimately I decided to go with option 2 because the person that gets stuck counting the pennies doesn’t likely have the authority to void my ticket. I tried to lighten the mood by using a Scooby-Doo stamp. I thought of using the upside down flag stamp as a sign of protest but that seemed like too much.

For those that are not familiar with the term schadenfreude, here’s an explanation –

Schadenfreude is the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another. Wikipedia

 

Vigilance, My Constant Companion

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Vigilance, My Constant Companion

Well hello blog friends. I’ve been pretty quiet since I got back from the hospital 12 days ago. Don’t let that fool you, my thoughts have taken on a squirrelish  pattern, darting between cars on a 6 lane highway during rush hour.

Hard to know how successful the surgery was at this point. The surgeon proclaimed it “perfect” so I’m counting on that to be accurate. My zombie arm has improved greatly – now I’m afraid of accidentally undoing all the good the surgery did. Plus I have weird sensations in other areas. Hoping it’s just my nerves coming down from some fairly traumatic events.

Recovery from surgery is a strange place to be in mentally. I expected the physical pitfalls – pain, medication issues, potential blood clots, physical restrictions, general discomfort and overall ickiness. I was not fully prepared for the anxiety, mood swings and FFS tears (who am I).

Before I give you a glimpse into my particular rabbit hole of recovery I need to first state the obvious…I’m very fortunate. I am relatively young and healthy. My recovery is projected to be months and isn’t terminal. The surgery I had was to correct a problem and prevent further damage. It was to relieve the chronic, relatively short term pain (months, not years) I experienced and hopefully prevent further damage.

This isn’t terminal cancer or some chronic debilitating disease that I have to manage for however much time I have left on this planet. I am mindful of this and deeply grateful. I also recognize that the fickle finger of fate has the option to change her mind at any point, even the best strategic plans and intentions can implode at any moment. I’m aware of the transient nature of life and my blessings are abundant.

Some things I have observed about myself…

I’m pretty much a rule player. Sure I may wax poetic about what a rebel I am but when the rubber meets the road, I’m a by the book gal. I want to follow discharge directions to the letter, sadly the letter is fuzzy.

Having more questions and curiosity than the discharge papers accounted for, I took to Google to quench my thirst for knowledge. Probably not ideal. There is a wide range of opposing opinions by medical professionals in regard to Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion.

To brace or not to brace? Collar or no collar? Movement or none? When can I drive? When can I safely load the bottom rack of the dishwasher or put a fitted sheet on the bed? I feel safe pouring dry kibble into the dog food bowl but filling the water bowl seems like risky business. These are the activities that stump me daily.

I’ve already contacted the surgeon’s office about a potential blood clot and difficulty swallowing (which to be fair, are valid concerns and warranted calls) I draw the line when asking about specific mundane household chores. I see the surgeon next week for my first follow up visit since my surgery, I’m making a list.

I’m afraid of breaking myself. My biggest hurdle right now is the mental bandwidth I’ve handed over to fear of botching this surgery. Some is valid, some is unlikely. I find myself in a place of fear more often than I anticipated. It takes months, perhaps up to a year for bones to fuse. During this time of healing I will need to be mindful of what I do and do not do physically. Which activities are considered high risk and should be avoided? Vigilance will be my constant companion for the foreseeable future.

Some people don’t appreciate gruesome neck scars. I was able to drive yesterday for the first time since the surgery. My first errands out included dropping the kids off at school and getting some thank you gifts for my friends. My scar is supposed to air out so I didn’t cover it. There was a definite look of disgust on one clerks face when I came back into the store to borrow a pen. Her exact words were – “Take this pen, we have 100 of them. Now get out.”

Do you have a surgical recovery story? Any pro tips? Feel free to comment with your words of wisdom.

 

 

Fingers Crossed…

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Fingers Crossed…

Muthafuckah. Got some not great news today…for my regulars you may recall a post from last week when I waxed poetic about my crappy health insurance. I begged my doctor’s office for a script for an MRI but they declined because my insurance (sucks) needed me to go through more hoops first because they’re assholes.

I figured an x-ray would be useless because the pain I have seems nerve related. Pins and needles, like when your foot falls asleep. The foot thing usually passes after a few minutes, the situation I’m dealing with is 24/7.  The pain ranges from a 3 to an 8, it’s never gone completely. I’ve had about six weeks of this now and I’m starting to get cranky. However, the insurance company needs a checklist ticked off before it will pay for an MRI so basically we ALL work for the insurance company now – the doctors, medical billers, patients, hospitals, labs – they own us.

Anyway the planets aligned and I got the referrals, made the appointment, and saw the doctor. The appointment was with a non-surgical Orthopedic at the Rothman Institute. The office ran like a well-oiled machine. They even took an x-ray of my neck for $20. which is the best deal I’ve gotten since well, ever. My PCP wouldn’t send me for an X-Ray because she’s scared of my insurance.

The x-ray didn’t show much (shocking) so I got my script for the MRI. The RI office staff managed to get an authorization code from my cheap ass (yet freakishly expensive) insurance company so I got my MRI a few days ago. This morning I got a call around 9:15am from an unknown number so I let it go to voicemail. It was the Orthopedic doctor. Well, that was unexpected. I called the office told them I would be available after 12:30. I got another call from the doctor at 12:32, this is highly unusual. Doctors calling as soon as they get the results to discuss it with you…

Doc: Hello, I wanted to let you know I got the MRI and it isn’t terrible.

Me: (nervous laughter) Great, not terrible is good, maybe.

Doc: We compared this MRI to the one you had in 2010 and the same area is involved (cervical).

Me: I’m glad you were able to hunt that down.

Doc: I’m recommending that you see a surgeon.

Me: Oh.

Doc: There’s some compression around the spine and some fluid. (barely audible) Myelomalacia

Me: Mya-what?

Doc: Myelomalacia, don’t Google it.

Me: Of course I’m going to Google it, you just told me not to.

He then proceeded to name some doctors that are spinal surgeons. I got off the phone and promptly cried for 45 seconds. Then I started Googling, then I took a walk because I can’t do anything else. He told me to hold off on physical therapy until I see the surgeon. Oddly enough I had a physical therapy consult scheduled for this afternoon.

I talked to my husband, I talked to a friend, I talked to God and my dog. I made the appointment for Monday which is a miracle in itself. Hopefully, I’ll have more information and the start of a game plan this time next week.

I put my gym membership on hold. That was when it hit me, shit got real. Exercise has been a physical and mental release for me for 30 years. Now I have restricted exercise (walking) and constant pain, it’s not an ideal combination. I’m trying to not think about it too much until my next appointment, easier said than done. Fingers crossed…

 

Noga Yoga

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Noga Yoga

The yoga people are getting carried away. In the past six months I’ve received approximately 1,395 spam emails trying tempt me to go to yoga. They have gotten creative in their class offerings, including:

Goat Yoga – Yoga with goats – Yay! For $40. a class, you can do an activity you hate with an animal you like that may or may not kick you or butt you with their little goat head. Petting zoos are way cheaper and they have more goats, skip the yogi middle-man.

Dog Yoga – Yoga with dogs – Yay! For $40. you can take yoga with dogs that may or may not annoy you in ways that vary from how your own dog annoys you at home. Whenever anyone dances or hugs in my house our dog rushes in like a Bouncer in club who just witnessed a client get too handsy with the club owner’s girlfriend. It keeps public displays of affection to a minimum.

Bunny Bliss Yoga – Yoga with Bunnies – Yay! Oh FFS how many animals must we go through for the yogis of the world to realize that not everyone likes yoga. Pssst…if you can put together a baby hedgehog yoga, I’ll convert.

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Rage Yoga – Apparently there is a yoga class where you can swear and drink bear…I can swear for free at home and I don’t drink beer, pass.

There’s also destination yoga. Because you should go on the road with an activity you loathe –

Beach Yoga – Get sand in places you couldn’t reach when you were 4.

Farm Yoga – Stretching with cows mooing and the pungent scent of manure as you breathe deep.

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga!!! – You watch the Her Sister’s Shadow episode of the Brady Bunch on repeat but instead of saying – “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!!” you say “Yoga, Yoga, Yoga!!!” 70’s inspired workout wear is optional, Cindy Brady pigtails are mandatory (even the goats must comply)

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I will not yoga in a barn

I will not yoga on a farm

I will not yoga on the beach

and stretch for places that I can’t reach

I will not yoga with goat

I will not yoga on a boat

I will not yoga when I swear

I will not yoga anywhere

Stop spamming me yoga fans

I will always have other plans

So keep your goats, bunnies and dogs

I’ll only yoga with hedgehogs

 

 

I Workout

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I Workout

Whenever I say “I workout” I think of that song by LMFAO – “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” the video plays in my head and whomever I’m talking to is left wondering why I’m laughing. I’ve been exercising on a regular basis for over 30 years. Yes, I know I should be in better shape, thanks for pointing that out (b*tch). It’s a stress reliever for me and it’s cheaper than therapy. We moved to the area 15 years ago and in that time I’ve belonged to a handful of gyms. I’ve been going to my current gym for at least 5 years and I see the same 15 people on a weekly basis. Sadly I have memorized maybe 3 of their names. I recently got called out for this.

I see this woman with blonde hair at the gym at least twice a week. We’ve had several conversations about social activities and work. Here’s what I know – she turned 50 last year and did a hiking trip with a good friend to commemorate the milestone. She injured her left knee while training for it. She works for a company that helps seniors downsize, she’s divorced, never had kids, used to manage a bagel shop and recently adopted a dog ( the dog is a bit of an asshole). So basically I know everything about her shy of her social security number and her name which she has likely told me a minimum of 5 times.

She suggested that we exchange phone numbers for potential business referrals. I asked her to spell her last name (in the hopes that she would say her entire name) and she called me out for not knowing her name. I hesitated a second to see if her name would magically appear in mid air so I could save myself the embarrassment but no such luck. I admitted that I did indeed forget her name and I’m pretty sure I won’t forget it again. Sorry Katie (or is it Kathy? Kimberly? OHFFS, I suck.)!

There’s one guy who is particularly enthusiastic about kickboxing.  He’s tall with noticeably long limbs that are constantly flailed about during the class. Sometimes his timing is off and he goes left when everyone else goes right. Not a big deal unless you get punched in the face because pterodactyl man is going the wrong way.

A tall brunette is late to every class. I don’t care about that people are busy, she probably has to get kids on the bus. My issue is real estate. She’s one of those people who doesn’t have a good grasp on the importance of personal space. When she comes in late, she typically squeezes into a space that doesn’t exist when there are other more logical places to set up. That space is usually next to me, the most uncoordinated person in step class. I predict a collision at some point mostly due to my lack of coordination and an inability to follow directions.  Perhaps an “accident” will finally get her to migrate to the other side of the room.

 

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One of instructors reminds me of Jack McFarland from Will & Grace. He screams things like – “Get those knees up!” “Keep them up! Higher! Get higher!” while enthusiastically running in peacock inspired leggings with a matching headband. He’s always dressed better than me and he makes me smile.

Another instructor is a retired marine. He’s big into push ups and planks and he shouts the same corny sayings at us every week. “Keep it tight, keep it right.” “It’s mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” And this diddy….“It’s all about the core – that’s what we’re here for.” He chuckles whenever he spouts of his rhyming bits of wisdom.

At some point in the marine’s class I have the urge to vomit and/or cry. I usually only cry on the inside. Sometimes he sets up different exercise stations – jump rope, push ups, planks, bicep curls, balance challenges, whatever sadistic task the instructor designs. We rotate to each station throughout the course of the class. My favorite is the “napping” station. It’s supposed to be the pull up station but I can’t do more than 3. That gives me 50 seconds to snooze before I move on to the next round of torture. I usually whisper “f*ck” with each exhale like an exhausted mantra.

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The napping station.

Consistent exercise has been great for reducing stress and allowing me to eat Oreos without getting too fat (medium fat, perhaps). All this working out has some drawbacks, I have a legit pain in my ass. Somehow I injured my coccyx. No I haven’t grown a man part, that’s my tailbone you filthy animal. It’s been hurting since May, I blame it on Pilates. That was the only thing new about my exercise regime.

There was a lady in the class who was at least 20 years older than me and she has the flexibility of double-jointed ballerina. I was the clumsy one who couldn’t roll my feet over my head in a smooth, controlled motion. My moves were more Frankenstein and less Cirque du Soleil. C’est la vie! I kind of sucked at Pilates so quitting that wasn’t a huge sacrifice. I stopped going, thinking the problem would alleviate, it didn’t.

I’m not incredibly observant when it comes to my own aches and pains. I prefer the ignore-it-and-maybe-it-will-go-away approach. I couldn’t ignore the pain which was my constant companion when we went to see Jim Jeffries in May. That’s how I know approximately when this whole mess started.

The show was great but I was in considerable pain, sitting is my current Kryptonite. I found that out about 15 minutes into the two hour show. I kept switching seated positions, like an overactive toddler that has to pee all the time. The roll over to one cheek method helped, but it made it look like I had to pass gas all night.  Not the vibe I wanted to achieve while out with a group of my husband’s friends and their wives.

Still, I’m not one to run to the doctor. I did my research online. Bryce Warden, MD (Medically Deficient).  I scoured the internet to find out what was wrong with me. Webmd suggested a bruised or fractured coccyx, it sounded right. In July, I finally hauled my aching ass to the doctor and she ordered an x-ray.

Feeling very adult for going to the doctor, I sat in the parking lot of the doctor’s office reviewing the paperwork. Fun fact, x-rays of the sacrum/coccyx area require an enema prior to the x-ray. Good times. Having never had an enema before I had to research to get some pro tips from those who have “gone” before me. My husband and I had a brief conversation about this.

Me: “I need to have an enema before the x-ray.”

Hubs: “I’m not giving it to you.”

Me: “Damn right, you’re not.”

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Sketch by Lisa McMillen – http://www.cicalisadesigns.com/

And we have preserved our sex lives a little longer, perhaps until one of us winds up in Depends. I got the gist of what needed to be done and took matters into my own hands (ass). Got the x-ray and no fracture was detected. That was in July, surely this thing will improve, I hear it “takes time.” Pro tip: if someone tells you that something “takes time,” buckle up you’re in for a bumpy ride and that person likely has no flippin’ idea of how much time it actually takes.

At the end of October, I’m back at the doctor because this thing isn’t letting up. I’ve tried ice/heat, I sit for maybe five minutes at a time unless I’m driving. In the car I have one of those sexy donut pillows. The pain just won’t let up and I went to physical therapy.  The place I went to had a bunch of tables, and random gym equipment – treadmills, exercise balls, etc. The median age was 83.

The staff brought the median age down to 83 as most of the therapists looked to be about 12. That’s a sign you’re getting older when people in their twenties look like middle schoolers, sigh. Anyhow, I filled out 47 forms, was reminded of how sh*tty my insurance is and realized this will be an out-of-pocket expense.

I’m was committed to try it at this point and met my Physical Therapist named Chris.  Chris is a good-looking guy, maybe 23 years old. We go into a room to discuss my “problem.” Let me just explain something….this may sound sexist, I don’t care. Midlife men tend to see younger attractive females as bait or a conquest. I know some midlife women act similarly with younger guys hence, the term cougar. I am not a cougar, an alley cat or any kind of wanna be predator. I saw Chris and thought, I wonder if my son will look like this guy in 10 years. That’s right, so in my mind this guy could be my son in 10 years.

Chris takes my history with copious notes. He then proceeds to examine me which includes extensive handling of my ass. There is really no other way to describe it. It wasn’t sexual he was just doing his job. But dear Gawd it was awkward. I’m doing exercises, hoping to not pass gas while this guy is kneading my backside. Then at the end of the session, I am placed belly side down on a table in a common room. Electrodes are placed directly on my butt cheeks and the current is cranked up to whatever level I could handle. Then, an ice blanket is placed on the offending area.

As I’m lying there, freezing my ass off while simultaneously being shocked, I thought is this some awful middle-aged hazing ritual? Did AARP set this whole thing up? Is there a hidden camera somewhere?

…and my ass still hurts.