Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

Warmest greetings to our family, friends, loved ones, and even the people that no one is quite sure who added them to the address book but we are afraid to remove;

The tree is up, lights are strung, presents have been ordered from the internet, eggnog is in the fridge, and we have even had a few flakes of that frozen white death coming down.  It must be time once again for our annual letter letting everyone know that yes, Virginia, we are alive and well in the wilderness of Ohio.

So how did 2011 start?  For me it was therapy.  Now quit getting your hopes up, it wasn’t that kind of therapy.  I started out the New Year getting physical therapy for my hand, because, after our exciting missive last year, I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand.  It went off without any problems, well except for getting the flu on New Year’s Eve and not being able to keep anything (including the pain meds) down or in.  The frequent trips to the bathroom were made all that more fun by not having the use of my primary hand. J  Other than that excitement, I continue to work at The Design Knowledge Company (which has nearly tripled in size since I started almost three years ago – a good problem to have); I am working (ok, more like coasting through) my last year as Band Booster Treasurer; I continue to brew beer (with three kegs ready to take to my company Christmas party next week!) and play with toy soldiers (winning General’s Choice at the Buckeye Battles – basically being voted favorite army from nearly a hundred competitors).  So the geek continues to be turned up to 11!

Diane started the year celebrating her birthday birthMONTH (she somehow managed to extend the celebration for the entire month of January) with a trip back home to Minnesota.  If you are looking for any greater expression of affection I would challenge you to find one like voluntarily going to Minnesota in January.  Maybe I do need that kind of therapy after all.  Her health has been improving, but then we have figured this is her ‘off’ year for hospital stays (I write that with a little bit of dread for 2012!).   While the real estate market continues to slump, she has been very busy with the Women’s Council of Realtors and the Dayton Board of Realtors.  She can’t deny that she has enjoyed some of the travelling that she gets to do for these (including visiting her brother in California). 

Becky continues to love her chosen profession of Interpreting for the Deaf, still doing freelance work as well as working at Sorenson’s and picking up a government job covering for a woman on maternity leave.  Burr-d and Lou continue to be the loves of her life, and despite living in the frozen wasteland of Minneapolis still enjoys her life.

Jon continues to face challenges in his academic career, and hopes to move back to the Dayton area in the summer, and eventually get back to school to finish his degree.  He continues to sport the chemo-patient look, keeping his head shaved (and he used to tease me about losing my hair).  He also has realized that despite being the oldest boy, he is now shorter than both his brothers.

Katlyn continues to live in Albuquerque, celebrating her first year out there by moving out of her mother’s apartment.  Not too far, as she is a live-in babysitter for a family she met through her church, just a few doors down in the same apartment complex.  She is enjoying getting involved in the local Mormon Church, and may finally be realizing that at 21 she is, indeed, responsible for her own life.

Erik continues studying Computer Engineering at the University of Dayton.  While he and Emily have grown apart, they remain friends.  In January he will be starting a paid internship at Regal Beloit (formerly A. O. Smith) in Tipp City, the largest North American manufacturer of electric motors for residential and commercial applications (or so their web site says).  He is really looking forward to doing this for both the spring and fall semesters (going back to school in the summer to keep studying).

Matthew has been enjoying his senior year of high school, with a fall highlight taking 4th place at the MSBA Class A Marching Band Championship, the best that West Carrollton High School has ever done.  He is currently taking drafting courses, and has applied to both the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (in Oxford, Ohio, not Florida) where he is interested in studying architecture.  He is really looking forward to graduating in May.

Scout continues to protect us from any varmint that may dare to enter his yard, or even have the audacity to walk within his sight, including a kitten he caught in the back yard.  The only thing keeping him from constantly patrolling is his overwhelming need to sleep most of the day away.  His sighs of exasperation as he moves from the couch to the floor are sometimes overwhelming.

2011 has been a year filled with both good and bad times.  It is hard for Diane and I to imagine this big house being empty in just a few short months, and we continue to argue about which room we want to turn into the ‘naked room’.  We hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with love and joy for all.

May the blessing of light be on you –
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.

Mike, Diane, Becky, Jon, Erik, Katlyn, Matthew and Scout

Occupy Wall Street - explained

A great article by  Marybeth Hicks.

Call it an occupational hazard, but I can't look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters without thinking, "Who parented these people?"

As a culture columnist, I've commented on the social and political ramifications of the  "movement" - now known as "OWS" - whose fairyland agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: "Everything for everybody."

Thanks to their pipe-dream platform, it's clear there are people with serious designs on  "transformational" change in America who are using the protesters like bedsprings in a brothel.

Yet it's not my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question, but rather the fact that I'm the mother of four teens and young adults.  There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters' moms clearly have not passed along.

Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters' mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn't, so I will:

* Life isn't fair. The concept of justice - that everyone should be treated fairly - is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded.  But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said,  "You can't always get what you want."

No matter how you try to "level the playing field," some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have  all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they're dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the  Hamptons .  Is it fair?  Stupid question.

* Nothing is "free."  Protesting with signs that seek "free" college degrees and "free" health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don't operate on rainbows and sunshine.  There is no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers and "slow paths" to adulthood, and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.

While I'm pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens.  Real  people with real dollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.

* Your word is your bond.  When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are  advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others.  Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don't require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It's a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for - literally.

* A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York , while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn't evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don't dance jigs down Sixth  Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high and you don't seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.

* There are  reasons you haven't found jobs.  The truth? Your tattooed necks, gauged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the  sake of nonconformity isn't a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of  college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a  mirror and face the problem. It's not them. It's you.

Marybeth Hicks is a weekly columnist for the The Washington Times and editor of Family Events, a weekly e-newsletter and blog site for women from the publishers of Human Events. She is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom (Regnery Publishers, 2011), Bringing up GEEKS: How to Protect Your Kid’s Childhood in a Grow-up-too-fast World (Penguin/Berkley, 2008) and The Perfect World Inside My Minivan–One Mom’s Journey Throu gh the Streets of Suburbia (Faith Publishing, 2006).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Walking thoughts on a nice day

Yes, it seems to be that extremely rare occurrance here, a nice day. Mid 60's at noon with a small breeze. And the second one in a row - I guess I had better enjoy these few days of actual spring.

Taking a walk at lunch, and going to get my butt kicked at water aerobics again tonight (it must be a good workout if you are sweating while in the pool).

I was down 3 lbs yesterday, but back up this morning. I so hate the variable nature of the human body. But I have managed to hit the gym 15 of the last 16 days, so that is good.

Ok, enough looking at my phone, time to enjoy the sunshine for once.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it

I think it is harder being fat in the summer, because you are always just a big ball of sweat. Of course it isn't actually summer yet, just hitting over 90 outside with the humidity making it feel like 98, and still going up. Of course the air conditioning in my van is still broken, so it makes for a nice, toasty evening commute home.

They can't seem to get the AC balanced at the office either - my office is a bit too warm, however I did find that the vent was partially covered (from back two years ago when it used to get way too cold - go figure). Maybe it will get better now.

At least the boss went out and bought ice cream for everybody - a nice, fattening, break.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Weight - again

Fat. I'm fat. I have to admit that first before I can do anything about it, and I am trying to do something about it.

This feels like deja vu a bit, or another glitch in the matrix. Oh yeah, maybe because I was here before :

What is worse is that this time I'm not only fat, but also a failure. Why - because at one time I wasn't fat : . I hit my weight and BMI goals, and finished maintenance on Weight Watchers to achieve lifetime status.

So what happened? I said I was going to keep it off, and obviously did not.

Part of it was support. At my goal weight I didn't really have any. In fact I had a lot of negative feedback about it - people saying that I actually looked sick and gaunt. I had some people asking Diane if I had cancer. Nice way to be encouraged.

I also was so tired of watching everything that went into my mouth and counting points.

I let it slip, but when it started to slip I paid attention, and got started back with weight watchers at work. Lost a couple of pounds there, back towards where I wanted to be. I admitted that I didn't need to be at the perfect weight (and my doctor even says that the BMI range may not fit me right - he is thinking around 200 and I agree).

But I was starting to watch it again, and then lost my job. That was good in a way, because for at least the first few weeks I was so depressed I wasn't eating :-). Unfortunately that couldn't last, and I got a job, but it was in Detroit, so I was eating out Sunday night through Friday night. Plus a lot of beer at the hotel bar for the first half of the contract (until I moved to a cheaper hotel). I tried to work out a bit after work each night, and was doing ok.

Then I got this job. A great job. But no workout facility (yes, that spoiled me). And I was tired of making my lunch - that gets boring having the same stuff after a few years, even if you know exactly the points for it. Then it just went. Since I started here I've put on almost as much as I lost before - such that I am bigger than I was before I started last time five years ago.

So I'm fat and a failure. But once more I am trying again, and I figure one way to help was I held myself accountable here, and will do it again.

I weigh 275. I need to get down to at least 200, but probably not to 169 again. Diane and I have joined LA Fitness to work out - they have one near her work and near mine, so I am starting to go work out at lunch again. Not quite as convenient as being in the building, but still only a few minutes away.

We started on Saturday, and I did strength training (i.e. weights) again for the first time in over three years on Monday. And that means, of course, that I hurt. I hurt all over, but especially in my abs, my thighs, my upper arms and across my chest. And it will be time to do it (weights) again tomorrow. oh boy.

I don't know if I will do weight watchers again or not, though it could work to work out after work on Wednesdays then head to a meeting again - that always felt like I was working the system and not being quite honest (though you can't work the system for 70+ lbs, can you?)

However going back to my old meeting makes me feel like an even bigger failure. Probably time to just man up and it - the accountability helps even if the support doesn't feel like it sometimes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Influences, pt 1

Today marks 21 years since Jim Henson died. I couldn't help but think, while I took my walk at lunch, about him and how, while I never knew him, how much he influenced me growing up. So since I don't have anything to complain about at work, I thought I would take a bit and just go over some of the influences in my life.

It is interesting to me how there are people who are extremely significant to the process of becoming who it is that you are, yet you have never met them. Through their work they influence you in so many ways, and yet as important as they are to you, they could never be called friends.

Jim Henson - well he got this post started, so I'll start with him. The muppets were just always there growing up, first on Sesame Street, then with The muppet show - I looked forward to it every week. Then to see him go beyond learning and comedy with Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. It was like a part of my childhood died with him.

Mel Blanc - the voice of Bugs Bunny and so many other Looney Tunes characters. Even though he may not have been the guiding force behind the humor and irreverence of the old Warner brothers cartoons, he was their voice and their soul.

Alan Parsons - along with Eric Woolfsons created the Alan Parsons Project - and since discovering his music back in 1980 with "Time" off the album "Games People Play" his music was a major factor in keeping me sane through high school and college. I can't remember how many times I would come home after a stressful day, put on one of their tapes and lay back with my headphones and let the melodies and lyrics just float me away from my troubles.

Douglas R Hofstadter - I don't read much any more, but back in high school and college I read everything I could find. One of my college professors recommended I read "Godel, Escher, Bach" for a project I was working on, and I had to special order it because in my small hometown no one carried it (we had no chain bookstores). I came in over spring break, and my life was never the same. While I have read several books more than once, I have read this one at least six or seven times, each time gaining more and more from it. From the way music, math and art are tied together to the pure exploration of thought and what it means to think, this book has inspired so much of who I am now. Not light reading by any means, I still find myself picking it up again every few years, if for nothing else than to marvel at the dialogs.

Isaac Asimov - I must have been only in Junior High, if that old, when a colleague of father's lent me a copy of "I Robot". It grabbed me like no book before - the stories of robots and other planets - I had never read anything like it. It was the first science fiction I ever read, and opened me up to so much joy since then.

Stephen R Donaldson - The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant were such massive work, building a fantasy world that still today, after over thirty years is unlike any other I have ever found, so rich, vibrant. The anti-hero Thomas Covenant was one of the first characters in a book that made me want to reach into the pages. When I discovered that he was writing four new books a few years ago I was elated - and I eagerly await the final installment.

JRR Tolkien - It took me three tries to get through The Fellowship of the Ring - and now I've read it several times. Finally seeing The Lord of the Rings on the big screen a few years ago brought back so much of my childhood joy in getting lost in another world.

Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie and Rob Pike - Not just for 'C' - for which I owe them the first half of my career, but also for their excellent writing on Unix, and programming in general. I still refer to "The Practice of Programming" as a text on how to write code correctly, regardless of what language you are writing in.

These are just some of the stronger influences, but some of the people who helped to shape me into the man I am today, for which I will always be grateful.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Zombie Awareness Month

To prepare for Zombie Awareness Month and subsequently the Zombie Apocalypse, it's important to have these items at arms length:   1) A cricket bat. The reason: you know you're gonna run out of bullets.  Also, an actual gun is completely different from a PS3 controller used for Black Ops.   2) An MP3 player full of Queen music. "Don't Stop Me Now" has to be one of the songs!   3) A box of twinkies. They stay preserved forever  4) An assortment of plants that have various fighting abilities (Plants vs Zombies...we figured that not everyone would get this).   Other tips:  1) Get Bill Murray. No look alikes will count.   2) Avoid anyone with the T-virus   3) Destroy the staircase. Zombie's can't climb!!   The most important thing of all is to ALWAYS BE AWARE OF THE LOCATION OF YOUR ZOMBIE!!

Monday, April 25, 2011


(To give credit where due, this was sent to me by my wife, but I had to share).


The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Libya and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels .

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be all right, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is canceled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

-- John Cleese--

Friday, March 18, 2011

Only a few days early

With spring officially only a few more days away, it seems to finally be acting like it. So time to exchange sweaters for alergies. But at least it is pleasant enough to resume walking at lunch, so time to think and actually update my blog.

Not that I can actually think of anything to write today.

Monday, February 28, 2011

This month can't end soon enough

Just a few more hours, and then this stupid February will be over and done with for good. I have to say it has been a pretty miserable month.

I'm afraid that as much as I tried to not let it, my SAD has most likely cropped up yet again. Of course by the time I realize and/or admit that it is back, it is too late to do much about it because it will naturally be going away before any meds can affect it. I've noticed it the most the past couple of weeks, and feel a bit frustrated about it.

I'm sick of winter, the snow, the cold, the ice, and the dark. And being grey and wet outside isn't really any better. Slipping on the icy steps last week as I was warning my son that they were slick and falling on my ass doesn't do much to help my mood either.

I need to get out and at least walk some - as well as actually start a new, real exercise program and diet. I haven't gotten it turned on in my head just yet, but it is a lot closer, and I'm getting to the point that I simply can't stand to be in my own body anymore - huffing and wheezing over every flight of stairs and straining just to bend down, tie my shoes or pick up something off the floor.

While the operation in December eliminated the numbness and burning in my hand, it is still sore and that frustrates me, and the scar is right where I rest my hand when I use the computer mouse, and that is uncomfortable.

So just venting a little, before crawling back in my cave as I wait for this damnable winter to end for good.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cincy Beer Festival

So I thought I would write up a bit of a review of the Cincinnati Beer Fest that we attended tonight. Understand, I'm not beer expert nor professional reviewer, just a person who likes craft beer and brews a few of my own. I have very little to compare it against (all of one other event, the Miami Valley BeerFest last October).

Promotions before hand were good. While we don't get the Cincinnati Citybeat paper up here in Dayton, I was able to find it on the web ahead of time, and it was a nice supplement. I bought the VIP tickets before Christmas when they were on sale, and were a good deal ($30 for VIP tickets).

It was easy to find, and parking was adequate in a lot across the street for $10 (event price).

We enter the convention center, and the organization seems a bit weak. There are no signs at all for Designated Driver tickets (which were not available beforehand, which makes sense to me).

There were enough people showing up early on Saturday that they actually opened for VIP tickets just after 6 instead of 6:30. However Diane had to walk all the way back to the front of the convention center to stand in other lines to pay her $10 as a DD - for which she got admission and two free bottles of water. I much, much preferred the MVBF where the DD simply paid as they entered, and got a coupon for a glass as they left. DD's here got no glass, and pretty much nothing for their $10. Sorry, saying they got admission into a beer tasting event where they would not be tasting beer was not worth the $10.

The hall had vendors all around the outside and in the middle, and then a few tables all the way in the back. I immediately noticed there was no list of vendors or beers. It took me quite some time to find copies of the newspaper insert, and while a great promotional tool, it was not updated to reflect the actual vendors and beers. Several beers in the listing were not there, and others that were were not in the listing. Some simply had "to be announced", which was even more frustrating. We found several other people also looking for a guide.

The food seemed ok, if a little overpriced. For an event like this, I think the best is to have little, easy finger type food available. I thought that the MVBF with the 3/$1 eggrolls from Thai/9 and the $1 ribs were great (though Chappy's booth there was fairly poor - serving a $6 pulled pork sandwich that was half the size it should have been for the price). Montgomery Inn's pulled pork sandwich was good, their chips w/ warm BBQ sauce were great, and the big soft pretzels (with warm butter on them) were really good. The hamburgers were making me drool every time I walked by, though they still seemed to be regular concessions burgers - but it could have been the beer making me hungry.

For the first couple hours it was really great - you could walk up and get your samples, and there was enough seating. Then the general admission let in, and a fun event went to a huge, crowded madhouse. The floor was simply packed with people - you could barely move. People would get a sample, and because it was so crowded were unable to move from the front of the table to let others in, so you felt like you were always fighting through crowds and pushing in front of others to get a sample.

Some of them did have actual lines - though it was very difficult to tell where the line was as compared to the heaving mass of bodies in the main area just milling around and talking. Back at our table (which we wanted because Diane, despite the new knee, still can't stand around for 4-5 hours) - it was a near fight to keep our chairs, as there simple weren't enough for this huge mass of humanity.

I started getting very frustrated. I would fight my way through the heaving throng, only to get to a booth that did no have the beer that I wanted to try because the newspaper supplement was out of date, only to have to turn around and fight my way back to our table. What started out very enjoyable was becoming less and less so.

We met some fun people and had some good conversations over some excellent beer samples. I liked that there were also some other vendors and organizations there aside from the beer vendors - I want to follow up with both the American Homebrew Association and

However, in the end we left about an hour before it closed. I was getting more and more frustrated trying to find samples I wanted, and the gradual smell of where some one had vomited began to fill the area we were sitting in, so I knew it was time to go.

Overall I was not happy. While this is a bigger venue than in the past, it seems that instead of making it better and spreading it out, they just added more and more people. For the crowd that was there, I felt they should have opened the adjoining exhibit hall as well. The lack of seating was frustrating, both for us and all the people we saw later needing seats simple to be able to eat a sandwich. We had a much better time at MVBF - simply because it was less crowded and had adequate seating. At this point while we really look forward to both AleFest and MV BeerFest this year, we are not so excited about heading back to Cincy BeerFest in 2012.

Friday, February 04, 2011

I do not support Heart Disease or Breast Cancer!

Not wearing red today. I've heard that today is wear red to support heart disease in women. Personally I think this is a bad thing, so I am not wearing red as an act against Heart Disease in Women. It is a bad thing and should not be supported, instead we should support the women against heart disease.

Just like all those pink ribbons supporting breast cancer. We should be protesting against such an awful disease not supporting it!

How about we set up a day to actually support the people who have diseases, and those working for the cure, instead of supporting the diseases?

Or even better, how about a day to support the proper use of English to express what it is we mean! What a concept! And then maybe instead of making a facebook update about it, or wearing a ribbon or shirt, you could actually go out and volunteer and really help someone, or donate to a cause. And while I'm a big, big fan of Boobie Wednesday (because I enjoy pictures of women's breast just as much as the next heterosexual man), does changing your avatar for a day or posting a facebook status really do anything?

We need a lot less people saying they support something, and a lot more of people actually doing the support of a cause, whatever cause it may be.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Post Op Day 20

And the brace/splint came off for the last time this morning. Things look very good - they did several strength tests - my grip is about half with the right hand that it is with the left, but the pinch tests are nearly identical.

I got a big ol' glob of green silly putty to do exercises with, and a weird sticky pad to wear over the scar at night to help soften it up (it feels a little 'thick' under the scar right now).

The most surprising thing was no more PT - only the two visits. See the dr. again in two weeks, and I figure that will be it.

Monday, January 10, 2011


So today the stitches came out - three snips, three tugs and gone. The dr. says it looks good, and I'm making good progress. It will take time to build back all the strength in my hand, and I'm still restricted from fully using it for another week (while I have the brace on).

It is nice not having the pain or numbness I had, and I'm looking forward to getting back to some of my hobbies (i.e modeling and painting 'ugly little figures' as my wife calls them).

It is also really nice to be able to type and use the mouse on the computer without it hurting nearly constantly.

The question that remains is the left hand. It is not nearly as bad as the right - there is absolutely no urgency for it at all. The Dr. thinks I should have it done as well, but there is no hurry about it. I'm not so sure, simply because the symptoms are so slight as compared to what I had. It is, honestly, like what my right had been for what - 18 years?. Meaning that occasionally it bothers me at night, on long drives, or mowing the lawn (but then what are teenage boys for if no mowing the lawn). It doesn't normally bother me, and I will go days, if not weeks, between feeling any symptoms in it. The tests did come back with a moderate level, and one important thing is to get it dealt with before there is any nerve damage.

One thing I have to consider though is how much is my weight affecting it? Maybe this is yet another reason why I need to get off my fat ass and get back on a program and get rid of this excess. I did it once, I can do it again.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Physical Therapy

Well, not really any therapy yet. But the bandages are now gone (yeah!!!) - just a little piece of gauze and a thin compression sleeve on the stitches, and a new splint that I have to wear for the next two weeks.

The therapist said I had really good range of motion and the stitches looked great. The Dr has put in a drain - basically about a 1/8" wide thin piece of plastic that stuck out either end of the incision to allow any blood or other stuff to drain out - the therapist pulled that as well since it was no longer needed (and it didn't look like much had drained out anyway).

Almost no pain. Need to rub the incision several times a day to limit scarring, and have exercises to do to keep things sliding smoothly (I don't want scar tissue to end up doing the same thing the ligament did, or else I could have to do this all over again.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Personal Terrorist tomorrow

Or at least that is what Diane calls her Physical Therapist. I'll just be happy to get this huge bandage off my hand (will make typing and writing quite a bit easier).

Today the incision has been a bit sore, and I think it might be a good idea to take some advil or something before the appointment, depending on what they do. I know I will be getting some putty to manipulate to rebuild strength, but other than that...

Of course before then I have to see about getting the insurance straightened out since it has all changed. I don't even know which one covers what part of it any more. But I hope to find that out at work tomorrow.

It has been kind of weird being off for this long (today was our holiday for New Year's), especially with the kids back in school. If I get the left hand done, at least I know I need more than 1 day (though I don't need 6 definitely!) Of course it would have helped had I not had the flu at the same time (but at least I'm efficient!)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Post op day 4

No pain meds, still a little sore. Still get the sharp, burning feelings when I stretch or move it wrong, often with no idea that it is going to happen.

Stomach flu nearly gone - but still no heat. House is down to 61 right now, with the predicted low tonight of 19. Been keeping the oven on, and venting the dryer inside, plus the one electric radiator going (will move that to the bedroom tonight as it is the coldest room in the house). Doesn't make for comfortable sleeping, especially trying to keep my hand elevated (to I still need to do that?)

One thing I can't do is lift or pull anything - that is where there is absolutely no strength yet. Typing is fine, except for the huge pad of gauze still over my palm that gets in the way. I can touch 3 out of 4 of my fingers now without any discomfort, which I guess is good.

Unfortunately my first therapy was moved to Tuesday from tomorrow, which is one more day of this bandage, but is good in a way. I hope to be able to go into work in Tuesday morning and at least print out something to show the new insurance, since it changed to a different carrier yesterday.

One of the most annoying parts is the bandage itching on my arm - mainly where there is hair there. It will be nice to be able to give my arm and wrist a good rub down to help that once this is gone.

One question in my mind - when do I do the other hand? Not as severe, but still there. I want to work it a bit better around my schedule (such as Diane's birthday trip at the end of the month, and then the Cincinnati BeerFest that I've already got tickets for).

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Meds and pain

It has been interesting, getting the stomach flu while recovering from surgery. A good 24 hours without eating or taking my pain meds, and I think I have figured something out.

Apparently there are two different types of pain to deal with after the surgery. The first, which is what I could deal with but was not going away like I thought it should, was a dull, sore ache when moving or trying to use my hand at all. The meds did not affect that at all.

The second is the actual pain from the incision. That is much more of a sharp, intense, burning (like being cut with a burning knife). The meds made that go away completely - it wasn't until I wasn't taking them (in an attempt to keep my stomach where it belonged) that I began to notice it.

So the meds are working as they should. I wonder if the stitches are stuck to the bandage, because at times it feels like they are pulling (and not always predictable - often the odd movement sets that off).

But I now seem to be able to keep some food down, and everything is getting back to where it should be. I will be very glad on Tuesday to get the bulky bandage off.