Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday update

Well, it is Friday, and we have survived the "gully-washer" rains of this week (~seven inches, 18 cm).  The nice thing about the rains is that it keeps me off the steeper slopes, away from bad footing, and away from lifting awkwardly-shaped objects -- all being the challenges of living on a new property which one has carved out of the woods.

The last couple of weeks has been about convalescing an injured knee (which has been giving me problems for four months) and ridding my body of nagging and sometimes debilitating aches.  I used PRICE for the knee last week, and I was able to restore mobility with only discomfort remaining (as opposed to pain that makes one gasp).  This week I used a tea twice a day of ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric (with a dash of black pepper to help the body absorb the turmeric much quicker) to address the body aches (again, suffering from those for many more months than the knee).  The body aches are gone, completely gone.  For the first time in months I can move about, get up and down, do whatever I want without feeling like I am shredding a muscle or ten.  The tea was AMAZING, and I made it from the spices in our spice rack; no special purchases required.

Two days ago, my left eye felt irritated (I wear contacts).  I removed my contacts, but it only seemed to get worse.  Yesterday, it was so light sensitivity that daylight on a rainy day (which it was) felt like someone was shining a halogen sealed-beam light into it -- it really hurt!  I went to a couple of medical sites to find the best therapy based on my symptoms, and the consensus called for warm compresses.  The warm compresses helped in providing comfort, but little progress (comfort is a good thing, though) in healing.  I was so pre-occupied with finding some degree of comfort that I had neither coffee (I hand-grind the beans fresh every morning using a 1930s PeDe #3 grinder, and make the coffee in a French Press) nor my spice tea.  The eye was a little better by evening, and I decided to make my tea just to complete the body therapy regime I began on Monday.  Within an hour, my inflamed eye and eyelid felt much better; so much so that even the tearing had stopped.  I went to bed with my left eye feeling 95% normal.  It is not ready for contacts, mind you, but it was an unexpected outcome.  I will continue the spice tea therapy today knowing it also benefits my eye.

I will be stepping away from the spice tea therapy come Monday ("'ll be alright..." -- Jimmy Buffett) just to see if it something I need to take every day, or just when the need arises.  There are no side-affects for every day use, just the cost of consuming spices (which is not cheap, but at least they are dual-purpose: flavoring and medicinal, unlike drugs I might buy otherwise).  Today, I will be lifting and moving 500-600 pounds (230-270 kg) of landscaping flagstone.  I will be using a brace on the still-injured knee (the 'P' in PRICE).  If I am at roughly at the same point in the healing process as I am right now as I type this, I will also begin light workouts on Monday.

I wish you and your loved ones a great weekend.  Take care.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Doing more...

Yes, I am north of 55 in age, but I also know what feeling 'normal' is for me.  As I mentioned earlier, I have been going through a series of 'body issues" for quite some time, years, if measured properly.  Little by little I have conquered or managed some, but others linger on.  Getting out of a chair and feeling every fiber in my legs scream out (alright, almost every fiber) is not normal for me -- ever.  Sure, I expect that injured tendon in the back of the knee to squawk every now and again -- that would be normal.  But the rest?  No, no way.

I am 'doing more' about it.  I stay hydrated, which is good, but clearly not enough.  Fortunately, my older daughter is into the oils and herbs thing (with which I agree; God created us, and created a natural pharmacy for us to use).  I did my own research on various spices and herbs which promote healing (after all, isn't that what the spice trade was all about: medicine?  Who would go half-way around the world to make their rice turn yellow or their toast taste more fun in the morning?  The spice trade was not about making food taste more interesting, it was about acquiring medicinal agents).  Interesting enough, on my day-trek in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, my Berber guide (who lived in a town nearby and dressed the same as you and I) pointed out various flora as we walked, many of which were used to make teas to heal various ailments, and they had aloe growing in the wild as well.  Too bad they didn't have a government which would swoop-in and outlaw the use of such wild and uncontrolled plants, and regulate who could and could not grow the herbs and manner in which they could be grown, all for the protection of the people, of course (#sarcasm).

Anyway, I digress.  I researched looking at holistic websites, which tend to be over the top, and WebMD, which seemed to be boringly factual in outlining the claims and whether or not there was research to support the claims.  I researched with respect to the needs of athletes, or at least athletic people in their training.  I found three spices which I had in my counter which would helpful, and supported by both the enthusiasts' sites and WebMD: cinnamon, ginger, turmeric.  Turmeric is a quite strong anti-inflammatory, as effective as ibuprofen, according to WebMD.  I made a tea of 1/4 teaspoon each of of the spices, which I stirred constantly while drinking.   It was quite flavorful.  I had a cup of the tea in the morning, and one before bedtime.  The body feels better today, but I confess, it might be a placebo effect.  I will continue the regime for the rest of the week to see if it is the 'real deal'.  I am anxious to get these nagging pains out of the way so that I do not feel so crippled; my energy and my motivations being zapped by dealing with the pains.  None of the above spices have any side effects of note for me (unlike commercials advertizing medications which speed-talk through a myriad of sometimes horrifying side effects of their products), so I really have nothing to lose but the pains.  

I'll keep you posted (was a pun intended?).

Friday, March 4, 2016

The challenge of feeling better, but knowing you are not healed

I have five acres, heavily wooded.  We built our dream house on it, more forward in the property plat.  We have identified over a dozen varieties of trees, half of which are different oaks.  Our woods are thick, yet I want us to use all the property without compromising habitats for the deer, rabbits, raccoons, and other creatures of the forest which pass through our land.

I know, funny intro to a running post.  I introduce this post with the above because it is plain that injuries affect more than running.  I love the idea of creating trails in our woods, creating sitting areas with minimal impact, in short, creating a minimalist park in our woods to be enjoyed by all who visit and the creatures who have used it.  I cannot do any of that now because the injury still nags at me.

I have regained full mobility in lifting the heel, with only the smallest amount of discomfort (still not normal).  Lifting my knee, on the other hand, cannot be done without pain, but at least it is not a sharp pain.  Walking about the house or the flatwork outside can be done without noticing any pain or discomfort.  Going beyond that, hitting the slopes on the property or walking uneven terrain, and yes, the knee region starts talking.

Yesterday I engaged in two activities: sowing native grasses on the slopes around the house and attending the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (HLS&R).  Sowing the buffalo, little bluestem, and blue grama grasses involved walking up and down steep slopes, and often encountering soft soils (I sunk in the mud a little ways at times).  The HLS&R involved walking stadium ramps and climbing stadium stairs.  The knee told me all about it, lecturing most of the drive home, and nagged me as I got out of the car.  It has been a bit agitated this morning.

Most of the time, I do not notice that I am still injured, and my mind starts planning to get back to training, to get back to tending the woods.  I am not healed yet, and that is frustrating.  Sure, I could go ahead and push these things now, but then I will be constantly stopping to recover, and eventually and likely, cause greater injury.  The challenge of feeling better, but still being limited, forces patience, demands your intellect continually persuade the rest of one's mind and body what it does not wish to hear: You are healing, don't ruin it, don't make it worse, take only what the body will give you without injury-related pain -- healing takes T-I-M-E.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

PRICE works, or at least helps significantly

Yesterday was the devoted La-Z-Boy day I promised my body and leg.  It was hard because of the myriad of "things to do" racing through my mind, counter-balanced with sheer boredom.  Thank goodness for Netflix and Arrow.  I did execute at least eight full cycles of elevate, ice, heat, and compression yesterday, and movement was much more comfortable.  I reduced my activity (steps about the house) to a minimum.  I am experiencing much less pain, even heading into last night, but intellectually I know I am not "almost healed".  I am doing ice and compression cycles today, and noting range of motion after each cycle.  Yesterday, my range of motion was lifting the right heel until the foot just came off the floor, and that with some pain.  Today is looking much better.  I will "measure" again this afternoon to see how it is doing.

I know coming back will be hard for many reasons.  In the new house; however, I am able to return the Nordic-Track Excel to full operational capabilities, and it will serve as a starting point since little impact is involved.  I also have my dumbbell set and bench restored and in place for resistance training when the flexor tendons in my left hand heal.  Yes, it has been a rough move, with multiple opportunities for overdoing exertion, loading, and all other categories of efforts.  And yes, I am a bit too stubborn in asking for help.

I am hoping for progress today, however measured.  That would be a sign of healing, and healing is always a good thing.