Archive for the ‘Fitness & Health’ Category

Well, that was not the best Christmas ever

Sunday, December 26th, 2021

I’ve been in the habit lately of taking one or more daily walks. Usually, it’s one walk of three miles, but sometimes I do more than one walk with shorter distances covered.

Friday (Christmas Eve), I took a one-mile walk in the late morning. Just after 4pm, I decided to take another. Unfortunately, I almost immediately ran afoul of a guy who was walking three dogs: two bulldogs, and one smaller dog I didn’t identify. Or, rather, I ran afoul of one of the dogs. One of the bulldogs was doing its business as I approached, but the small dog approached in what seemed an unfriendly manner. When it did that, the other bulldog pulled its leash out of the guy’s hand. Before I knew what was happening, it had clamped onto my right thigh and knocked me onto my ass.

The guy pulled the dog off me, but the fall had put me into a lot of pain. I was able to stand up after a couple of minutes, with the guy and his wife gushing over how badly they felt, and could they do anything for me. Apart from my back, I didn’t feel bad at all. My jeans were torn where I’d been bitten, but there didn’t seem to be much blood, and I thought it was pretty minor.

I decided the thing to do was to go to an urgent care clinic, so I hobbled back to my car, accompanied by the guy, and headed off to my local urgent care clinic. Unfortunately, they had closed early for the holiday. So, I looked on my map app, and found two more relatively nearby. One was closing at 5, so it would have been problematic getting there and getting processed. The other said it was open until 8, so that’s where I headed. Unfortunately, they had closed at 2 for the holiday.

At that point, I decided that a hospital emergency room was the appropriate next stop. The nearest one north of me was probably closer, but I’d used the ER in the hospital to the south before, so I figured that the paperwork would likely be easier and went there.

By the time I got there, I could tell that I was bleeding more than I had thought. I got processed in and evaluated. The ER doctor wasn’t going to do any scans of my lower back until I said that I actually had more pain from that than the bite. The bite turned out to be a bit more severe than their usual dog bite. She told me they normally don’t stitch up dog bites, but my skin was torn more than usual. I ended up with three stitches on the back of my thigh, and one or two on the front. There are other punctures making a nice impression of the teeth, but only two of them were producing most of the bleeding.

When the scans of my back were finished, I was told that I had a “minor compression fracture” of my L1 vertebra, and it was possible that a small bit had broken off my L3 vertebra. I was also told that there was no interventionist treatment for those, and it would go away on its own.

Christmas dinner the next day went well enough, but between my reduced mobility and the pain I was in, it didn’t go as well as I’d have liked. I pointed my daughter to her (unwrapped) present, and said, “I was planning to wrap it last night, but something came up.” Of course, I’d kept her informed of what happened once I got to the ER, so her response about “something came up” was suitably droll.

So here I am, feeling tired, drug out, and in pain. What surprises me is that I’ve also pretty much lost my appetite – I didn’t have breakfast yesterday, ate less than half my plate for Christmas dinner, which was around 2pm, didn’t have anything for dinner last night. This morning, I didn’t have breakfast again, and forced myself to eat some leftovers around noon. I may not eat again today.

Tomorrow, I have to contact my PCP about a followup, contact the police about the incident (the local police station is closed until tomorrow), and the guy whose dog bit me said that his vet will be open tomorrow, so he can provide me with its rabies vaccination information then. If I don’t get it tomorrow, I’ll probably have to start the rabies shots myself, since the incubation period can be as little as a week, and it’s invariably fatal once symptoms show up, according to the ER doctor.

As I said, not the best Christmas. It could easily have been worse, though. Always count your blessings.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

And not completely by my choice, really. Last week was bookended by my annual eye exam on Monday, and my 66th birthday on Saturday.

I’ve been quite fortunate with my eyes, for the most part. When I had my qualification physical for the Naval Academy during my last year in high school, my vision was very good. I was 20/15 in one eye and 20/10 in the other. The tech who checked my eyes told my father that I could “damn near see through walls.” I was able to avoid the need for glasses until I was 43, when I started needing reading glasses. I’ve been needing them more these past few months, and Monday, I was told that while I’m still 20/20 in both eyes, I now need bifocals to correct my astigmatism.

My eye exam also brought other bad news: I’ve been taking care of someone with dementia, and it is no longer safe to leave them alone for more than a few minutes. Time to look for a care facility, it seems.

Still not healthy

Monday, February 19th, 2018

I’m still very hoarse and suffering from a nasty cough, and it’s getting old. I’ve already gone through two bottles of cough and cold medicine so far, as well as prescription flu medicine, cough drops, and a box and a half of Theraflu. I’ve been keeping my house warmer, drowsing much of the day, and not getting a lot of things accomplished.

One thing I’m really missing are the evening history sessions Marion and I had been having – we’d started working our way through Will and Ariel Durant’s ‘The Story of Civilization,’ and we’d been doing it almost every night for three weeks or so when I came down with this. I’d been wanting to read the series for several years, and Marion owns a complete set that she’d never gotten around to reading. We’ve been really enjoying it, along with various digressions that we’ve made. Two interesting facts we’ve run across in these digressions are that Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian ruler, was actually Cleopatra VII, and that there was a ruler (Bulan of Khazaria) who converted his entire country to Judaism after speaking with representatives of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

I can’t wait to get back into it when I have a working voice again – I’ve been learning so much.

Not healthy yet

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

I think I’m over the flu; my fever broke Friday night. My resting pulse is back down where it should be, as is my temperature.

Unfortunately, I have a nasty lingering cough, and I’ve had laryngitis since Sunday, so I’m certainly still under the weather.

I made French onion soup for dinner Monday. That turned out nicely, and hot soup on a cold night is one of my favorite things. The leftover soup was also pretty good for yesterday’s lunch. Scallops with pesto are in the plans for tonight.

Under the weather

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

I was diagnosed with Type B Influenza Tuesday. Not the really nasty Type A that’s been running around, but this one does offer GI disorders as a benefit. So much for the effectiveness of the flu shot I received. I’d started noticing symptoms Friday evening or Saturday, but I figured it was probably a cold. I got my flu shot earlier this year, so even though I knew this year’s shots weren’t all that effective, I was hoping I would be ok. Developing a fever Tuesday morning changed my mind, so I called for an appointment with my doctor’s office.

I was impressed with how quickly the diagnosis was made. It must be a new type of test, because I don’t remember this happening the last time I had the flu. They “stirred” an extra-long Q-tip deep in my nostrils, agitated it in the liquid in a small test tube, inserted a piece of indicator paper, and waited a couple of minutes. Bingo – instant diagnosis!

So, I’m now on the generic version of Tamiflu, which says it may not be effective on people who’ve had symptoms for more than two days, and whose major side effects include severe headaches and gastric disruption. Like I need more of that.

The one major warning I was given was to keep track of being out of breath, which is currently happening when I exert myself. If I experience it while resting, I’m to call 911, because “those are the people who are dying.”

Good to know.

Serendipity, or, The Troubles That Come With Age

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Marion and I went cross-country skiing in Frisco last Sunday. It was a beautiful day, but the skiing was a hell of a workout. The temperature was in the upper 30s, and it had been snowing all day. Because of the snow and overcast, it was hard to see the tracks in the groomed trails. I had trouble seeing them at times, depending on the light, and Marion found them by following behind me. Because of the snowing and the relatively warm temperature, the snow was “slow.”

Even going down the steepest parts of the Frisco Bay loop, I had very little glide and no carry. On the steepest downslope near the end of the trail, I couldn’t even coast to the bottom, and Marion was able to shuffle down slowly with her skis pointing straight downhill.

It took us roughly two hours to go around the trail once, which is about twice what it normally takes. As I said, a hell of a workout.

The serendipity comes in because I decided Sunday morning that I was going to need a backpack, so that I would have somewhere to put any layers I removed while skiing. It wasn’t a problem Sunday, but I’ve ended up wearing just a t-shirt above the waist more than once while skiing. The backpack I grabbed is one I’ve used for exercising while walking, and had 20 pounds of weights in it. When I removed the weights, I noticed something else in it as well. It was the 18-55mm lens for my Canon camera, which I’ve been looking for for almost a year. That just goes to show how diligent I am about getting my exercise, I suppose.

In any case, I’ve been looking for it for a long time, because I backed a Kickstarter project over a year ago for the Pulse camera controller from Alpine Labs, and I received it last May or so. Since the only lens I could find was the 70-200mm zoom lens that was on the camera, I really didn’t do anything much with the Pulse until this week.

Today, I tried taking a time-lapse sequence of photos. It worked, but stopped early, and I need to determine why (I have a few ideas). However, I did get over 150 RAW photos of the foothills in Golden that I need to figure out how to stitch into a movie. It wasn’t the best weather for anything that looked impressive, but it was good enough for a first try. I’ll be trying more soon.

Ouch. And almost very ouch.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

The HOA is doing some upgrades in my development. Siding is being replaced where necessary, and everything is going to be repainted. One of the things they’re doing is re-roofing.

This morning, as I was crossing the parking lot to my car, I stepped on a nail. It was an inch or so long, with a large enough head to let it point straight up like a caltrop. Luckily for me, I felt it and was able to unweight my foot quickly enough to prevent it penetrating the bottom of my foot. If I hadn’t been so quick, I’d probably have had to remove the nail before I could get my shoe off, and that would have been a problem.

I was wearing shoes with thick rubber soles today, and I had to use a pair of pliers to remove the nail. It would not have been fun to try to get the nail out if it had been embedded half an inch or so into the bottom of my foot.

I’m a little more cautious (paranoid?) crossing the parking lot now – the workmen are likely to be here for another couple of weeks.

Yes, there is a reason I’m linking this Dave Barry column

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

I just went through my second one yesterday. No problems, thank goodness.

In other health news, I’ve received a new CPAP that I’m calling “ET” because it phones home. I used it the night I got it, but the next night was the colonoscopy prep, and I didn’t really get any sleep then, so I had it unplugged. The next day, I received a phone call, a text, and an email saying that I needed to make sure it was turned on so it could upload my usage information.

Next week I’m getting a three-month updated set of blood tests done and scheduling a new sleep study. All of my medical procedures seem to be coming due at once.

It seemed absolutely crazy

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

I found this to be an absolutely fascinating article. I am tremendously impressed with Jill Viles. She is a poster child for taking control of your medical care, which is something I should do more of.

It seemed absolutely crazy. The idea that an Iowa housewife, equipped with the cutting-edge medical tool known as Google Images, would make a medical discovery about a pro athlete who sees doctors and athletic trainers as part of her job?

I believe that my sisters were once contacted about a medical study concerning a condition that may run in our family. Jill, in contrast, found an active study about her condition and got them to include her family. She got care for her father that likely extended his life by eighteen years, and did the same for an Olympic athlete. That’s impressive.

Definitely someone more people should know about.


Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

I set up a doctor’s appointment for today, because I’ve had some symptoms that match with deep-vein thrombosis. The doctor didn’t think so. She thought it was most likely to be sciatica, but set up an ultrasound exam for me just in case.

Apparently, it’s both. I go back later today to discuss treatment options.