Archive for the ‘Shoulder’ Category

244 Days to go: the Road to Paris

August 10, 2014

I don’t think.  I mean I REALLY don’t think at times.  Win a bib, enter a marathon, plan the trip around Europe AFTER the marathon.  I forgot something in all this.  As in oh, damn.  I have to TRAIN for said marathon.  It will be an adventure.

Right now? Uh.  Turns out a screwed up my back during the Hyannis Half in February: I’m just now recovered to  the point where I can’t cause any further damage (comforting words).  My shoulder is stuck with the reality of the cortisone shot not working, the damage of arthritis means I can kick, swim breast stroke or walk.  I’m at the point of being frustrated with life time of orthopedic issues (as in SERIOUSLY OVER IT) combined with normal sprained ankles.

I told somebody a few weeks ago: I am going to Paris.  I may not walk the marathon.  But this is about me being selfish and setting a goal.  I have the Columbus, Philadelphia and (get this) Surf City half marathons on the calendar.  I am going to work on being ready.  I’m just at the point for the first time that I’m not sure if my body has enough duct tape, bolts, pins, wires and artificial parts to hold myself together.

Yes, I know this is a first world problem.  Yes, I know people who are facing far more daunting issues than joints that like to destroy themselves.  I know that I’ve lived with this far, far longer than I’ve not lived with it.  Here is the deal: it doesn’t get easier.  I just get less frustrated.  Except for today.

Today was a day of frustration.  I tried to do some yoga to stretch out my lousy hip flexors.  Sort of worked (disclaimer: cats and yoga).  Spent 45 minutes on specific shoulder exercises.  Grateful for ice.

I know that marathons are mind games.  I know that I can rise to the challenge.  Right now, I’m frustrated.  Tomorrow, I’ll re-lace my shoes and go for a few mile walk.  I’ll remind myself that the human body is an amazing creation: and that duct tape works well.  And I’ll try to remember what my niece told me after I had to bail on a 5K in July: at least you tried. 

At least I survived the eating of kale.

The insanity of attempting to use your #fsa and #insurance plans. #mangledcare

May 13, 2013

The flexible spending accounts (FSA) are one of the more under utilized benefits by many of my co-workers.  The net is that you can legally allocated up to $2500 (as a single person) designated from pre-tax dollars to pay for prescription medications, physical therapy, medical co-pays, etc.  Usually (keyword) it works like a charm; you go to the pharmacy to pay with the debit card and it’s done.

Until one day, you receive in the mail letter stating that they company managing the FSA system (in my case PayFlex) sends you a letter stating they need “an itemized receipt for the treatment received”.  It’s a Dante worthy ring of hell adventure just this side of having to be the unfortunate soul to cuts Donald Trump’s hair. Really.

Being a proper Gen Xer, I first tried to solve this issue on-line.  Being a total type A, save documentation you probably don’t need person, I pulled out the “Welcome to PayFlex” guide.  Any reasonable, logical, sane person would have waited until Monday to handle this over the phone.  After spending a few hours playing with the web site, I gave up and called.

I swear on Jackson’s life that the reason why costs care are what they are is because of the sheer ineptitude of the industry to become seamless.  It would save them money (increase profits), probably decrease secondary illnesses related to things like increased stress from dealing WITH insurance companies.  The reality is that none of these the issues I’m have their roots in the currently being enacted Health Care Reform Act/Obamacare.  My hope is that the new act will only LESSEN the frustrations.  I don’t have hope because the system is so entrenched.

So back to the attempt to use my FSA account. . . .

I mailed back the detailed receipt as requested.

They denied the claim.

I called.  Why was this denied? You didn’t use our form.  Uh, great but it doesn’t say to send a claim.  I read her the letter (really) and it didn’t mention a claim form.  A few transfers letter, they’ve agreed to re-review bill without the form since, you know, they don’t require it.

Back and forth, they ask if they can fax me something (no, I don’t have a fax number).  They are stunned.  I’m stunned.  I ask them to send me the form in the mail (true story: my printer broke and since I can use the printer at work? Why bother: most of my life is paperless) since I don’t have a printer.

Back on hold; they aren’t sure if they can mail me the form since it’s on-line.

More conversation, she keeps suggesting to me to use the online feature(s).  I wholly agree but I point out to her that since I am using my iPad, there is an encryption mismatch.  I agree to use my notebook to register for the services.  Turns out, my employee ID number wasn’t long enough: I needed 2 leading zeros. Turns out the zip code that I’m supposed to use is not mine but my employers (not in the information).  Log in.

Very first line? “New mobile applications for iPhones, iPads, Andriod and Blackberry.”

Somebody just send me Bully Boy Vodka.


From the land of Bankart repair with love. #notreally

May 7, 2013

Truth: I hate physical therapy. I’m probably going to hear from everybody I’ve ever known who is related to, married to, thought about becoming a PT. I like my PT. He’s quirky. I’m quirky. It’s a good fit. He makes his own beer and apparently made some huge tap/kegging system in the basement of his house.

PT is the test of patience. I’m not patient. I’m beyond not patient. I’m like I had surgery 3 weeks ago and why can’t my shoulder be normal now not patient. (Never mind it took a solid 90 minutes for the surgeon to clean OUT the debris before he could repair the labral tear). I’m frustrated and bored.

There is a downside for taking those mid-day appointments. I’m surrounded by the Real Housewives Of crowd and people old(er) than my grandmother. I was laying there letting my pt stretch my shoulder in the limits and one of his other patients came in and was waiting with her ankle encased in a heat pack. I wasn’t talking and trying to remember that key idea of exhaling on the stretch and he asked her how she was because I sure as hell wasn’t in the mood to talk.

PT: How was it last week after you left.
ROP (random old person): Well, I had a touch of food poisoning from something. And then, let me think, on Friday I had a root canal. Oh, and yesterday was the worst I
PT: (obvious this was not the right answer). Uh, xxxx, when I say how was it after last week, I’m talking just about your ankle.
ROP: Oh, my ankle? It’s fine. I just am having issues with (something even I won’t put on a blog).

Ok, I *get* that when you drop a few anchors in to the labrum, the not so patient patient has to wait for the anchor to secure to the bone. I get that I’m wildly lucky that the swelling has decreased a ton and there is more and more passive range. I’m somewhat twisted in that I’m happy that I get to line up an excercise ball that has Dora’s face on it and give her a few black eyes. I’d prefer Barney but apparently those kept disappearing.

I have no patience. I leave my 2x pt sessions frustrated because although the guy next to me who is 16 weeks out his Bankart repair was telling me the progress ramp and I can ‘see’ I’m on target (which for shoulders is the key . . . there isn’t an acceleration curve) and he’s there one day a week the same time as me. I get the creaking is normal. It doesn’t hurt it’s just sort of unnerving.

The little steps of using the arm bike with my left arm (holding on only with my right arm) is progress. I’m on a short(er than normal in PT) fuse. I wanted to rip the cell phone out of the hands of a scantily clad ring heavy enough to break a finger trophy wife of the metro-west. I get you are busy and have to take child to-from some random event. But I don’t need to hear about it. Text. Or better yet: that sign that says “do not use cell phones in treatment areas” follow it. (Her PT corralled her drama).

As much as I enjoyed the conversation with the guy who had a similar surgery, he’s facing two more months of PT. I wanted to cry. That’s my life right now. PT, ice, walking around the neighborhood if the shoulder is ok enough, icing. I don’t think I realized how much my non-dominant shoulder is involved in so much of what I do on a daily basis.

And I keep telling myself: Bankart’s are 6 months to return to pre-surgery. One month (almost) down; 5 to go.

My take away from AWP and a mini-Hollins reunion? Travel as a Need.

March 10, 2013

Yesterday, I listened to writers discuss their craft at the AWP convention. I jotted down snippets on a legal pad out of habit and in the middle of listening to a panel discussion on writing in translation (for a very cool and free literary journal check out It really wasn’t about writing in translation but about bringing the writing to translation. I think. It’s not the fault of the presenters; they were muses at that point. I realized there was passion. Artists, in general, receive the stereotype of passionate. As some point, and with great apologies, I lost track of the discussion and realized what I was hearing was passion OF career, something that is and has been lacking in my world.

I’m done. Not in a suicidal rage done, merely done. At the point of exhaustion, I see what the causation. Living without passion is not living. It’s survivalism. I have a few things I have to get done (notably that pesky shoulder surgery in exactly 37 days not that I’m joyously counting down). And then I’m leaving. On a jet plane. Ok, there are some very real steps in between: sorting through a few decades worth of junk to what will fit into a small storage unit in the town my parents reside, figuring out the where I want to go, where I need to go and uh, how to translate “I’m deathly allergic to shellfish” in every language known on the planet. I plan on leaving in roughly a year after I’m done with my shoulder rehab.

I am a huge proponent of knowing needs versus wants. I need to travel. I don’t need Disney; I don’t need turn down service. I need my backpack, my passport and well, the aforementioned card that says please don’t serve me anything with shellfish. Travel, of me, is activism. It’s the part that allows me to say to the world “no, not all Americans are like that” and to hear “No, xxx really isn’t like that.” I need to see the world, to take in the sights, the smells and show, if even to myself, that the world is much better and far less hateful than media outlets make it out to be. Travel is my idealism. Travel is hard; there is nothing worse than being curled up in a hotel room, in a foreign country 14 time zones from home where you don’t know the language or anybody and are miserably sick (ok, there are a LOT of things that are worse) without a common alphabet in common to figure out what medicine you might be taking (Ah, Tokyo. I really want to visit you again!). There is nothing more wonderful than being surrounded by a gaggle for elementary school students in Hiroshima practicing their English in the shadow of the destruction your country created peppering you with questions because they’ve found a ‘real’ American from Boston (where apparently a Japanese player was playing for the Red Sox) to pepper with questions about baseball, Boston and lots of questions that were not on the list.

I know when I plan to leave. I don’t know when I’ll be back. But I know, for probably the first time, I will be following my passion. And (almost) everything else is irrelevant. Of course, all of this is completely dependent on my mother agreeing to cat sit world’s dumbest animal. Completely open to ideas on where to visit anywhere on the planet outside of Western Europe, good travel blogs and volunteer stops along the way.

Torn Labrum + Lack of REM = Mr. Toads Wild Ride

February 23, 2013

So, I have a torn labrum. It sucks. Ok, what sucks the most is the never ending lack of sleep. I’ve been stuck in a vicious cycle of no sleep, crash, no sleep, crash. Last night was a major face plant to the bed. A thirteen hour (impressive even by my own lofty standards) snooze provided a major catch-up in REM sleep.

It was one of those nights that I remember thinking WOW these are beyond weird experiences. Then realizing when I woke up that yeah, I can totally see how The Wizard of Oz and Newhart were created by REM movements. Really.

What were some of the more bizarre highlights? I’m glad you asked:
1) Two kale loving essentially pacifist friends fighting (like fist fighting) over who could make a dish that would have me love kale. Somehow, the kale became ruined and I was relieved. Not at the end of the fight, but that I wouldn’t have to eat kale.
2) Having a brief conversation with President Obama on the merits of Greg Luzinski’s play as a White Sox member vs. a Philadelphia Phillies player. (I mean of all the things to talk to POTUS about? I pick a 70/80’s baseball player?)
3) Going running with Hilary Clinton the morning of her inauguration and realizing I had her driver’s license. The ensuing drama of getting it back to her, getting stuck on the beltway and thinking “It’s a good thing I know this short cut”, winding up on the metro where I debated jumping between trains and thought, wait, that’s too Hollywood, I’ll stay on the train. I handed her license to a Secret Service agent who knew the code word of the day. (Never mind I’m fairly certain Secretary Clinton doesn’t run, I know I don’t).
4) Watching a neutral pulpit that involved Santa falling on me breaking my wrist. (I’m pretty certain that must have been related to a cat moving around on the bed). Better? Santa was preaching.

Maybe I should learn to eat kale?

I’m starting pre-rehab Monday. Expect a few blog posts about the fun times only because I’ve noticed a lack of information on the internet about rehab, surgery, etc. Sorry to bore everybody. . .