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Archive for August, 2012

Ew, squishy!

I lean on my elbows a lot. I know this about myself. I have been aware for the last couple of weeks that my left elbow has been more….sensitive, or something. Like, bruised feeling. But apparently I haven’t actually LOOKED at my bruised-feeling elbow until last night, or I would have noticed that it was 2-3 times larger than normal. And not really elbow shaped. Much more bulbous than usual.

Gingerly, I touched it.

Not only did it not look like an elbow, it did not feel like an elbow.

It felt….squishy.

Ew.

I am extremely squeamish about such things. I touched it again. Why, I don’t know. Because I’m like that. But the fact that it did NOT feel hard and bony and elbow-pointy made me freak the fuck out. (It made me think of that scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Gilderoy Lockhart removes all the bones from Harry’s’ arm. Ew.)

Clearly I had elbow cancer. I knew this because many months, or maybe a year ago, Sunshine (my non-biological twin) had wrist cancer, which ended up being a ganglion cyst, but when all she knew was that she had a bump on her wrist, she was convinced it was wrist cancer. Hence, squishy, bulbous elbow = elbow cancer.

We might have a tendency to overreact to things in my non-biological family. Maybe.

And apparently my elbow has been deformed for quite some time, because when I texted Sunshine to tell her about said elbow cancer, she responded with, “You know, I thought your elbow looked weird in yoga [on Saturday] and I forgot to ask about it!!”

But this is typical for me. I am accident-prone and a klutz and I frequently have bumps and bruises and scrapes that I don’t know where they came from. Yesterday I ran over my foot with my own chair. Today my foot will be sore and I won’t remember why. That is standard operating procedure for me. So I have no idea what I might have done to my elbow, if anything. Perhaps it just happened, got inflamed.

Once I stopped hyperventilating over my squishy, bulbous elbow, I took pictures of both the normal and the abnormal elbows and sent them to Klondike. Perhaps so he could prepare himself for my demise. Or so he could talk me off the ledge.

Normal elbow

 

Scary elbow

I knew it was serious when instead of texting me back, he CALLED ME. (Have I mentioned that we pretty much never talk on the phone? Maybe three times in eight months.) Obviously the situation was dire.

“It’s not cancer. Stop freaking out.”

Klondike’s assessment was that something was going on with the bursa in (around? who cares.) my elbow joint. After he talked me down from my panic, he suggested that I send the picture to Pandi, my nurse friend, for a more professional second opinion. Her response was similar to his, and she assured me I could wait till normal office hours to seek medical attention.  She also asked that I not sue her, should her long-distance diagnosis via iPhone pictures be inaccurate.

My biggest concern/reason for going to the doctor is that I am getting on a plane soonish for a quick trip for a wedding and I want to make sure it’s ok to get into a flying pressurized capsule and that it won’t make my elbow explode. Cuz that would just be gross. And fluid doesn’t really go with what I was planning on wearing to the wedding. Unless it’s in a wineglass. And we’re going to call THAT wine or liquid instead of fluid, because now I’m just thoroughly grossed out.

Fortunately, my doctor was able to squeeze my bulbous elbow and me onto his schedule this morning. Bert, the nurse, took my blood pressure. Typically she uses my left arm, but today she used my right. I’m pretty sure this was so my elbow wouldn’t burst, although she did start laughing when I asked if that was why.

Bursitis.

I have bursitis. That just sounds like something an old person would have, right?

My doctor insisted that young people get it, and that old people get things like osteoarthritis.

He and the nurse did wonder how it happened, though. Did I whack it on something? Who knows. As I said, that’s just how I am – I bump into things. In college, I duct-taped a rag around the sharp corner of my bed frame because I got tired of the bruises and gashes on my leg where I walked into it on a regular basis.

Back to the bursitis….

In case the yoga has been exacerbating it, the Y kindly scheduled a two-week break (boo!), so the elbow happens to get some time off. And the doc prescribed some Prednisone. My elbow should be normal sized and bony again before you know it.

In the meantime, I’m going to use it as an excuse for everything. “I’m sorry, I’m late, but I have bursitis.”  “I can’t serve on that committee because of my bursitis.”  I may even need a support group. 😉

Note: a quick web search reveals there actually are bursitis support groups. Apparently it can be much more severe and painful than my mildly uncomfortable lumpy elbow, and I mean no disrespect to anyone experiencing pain.

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How my day is going so far

I may have a screw loose, but at least I haven’t lost my marbles…

Thank you, Mother Nature and Samuel & Colonel David N. Foster

I’m not someone you would call outdoorsy, not by a long shot, but I do like to play outside. I like to walk my dog and ride my bike and roller blade (with protective gear covering most of my accident-prone self) and sit on my porch swing and daydream in my hammock, and all of those activities generally happen outside. But the weather really dictates whether it’s a fun time. I don’t like heat and I really, really hate humidity. Humidity is my kryptonite. (Spellcheck doesn’t know “kryptonite”. WTAF?)  And we have had an oppressively hot summer, and it has totally ruined my outdoor playtime. Until last week, when Mother Nature took pity on me.

[Side note: I know some people love hot weather. There’s no need for you to argue with me about it. It’s just like being a morning versus a night person; neither is wrong. Although I could argue that when it’s cold you can always put on another blanket, but when it’s too hot you can’t take anything else off. I break into a sweat when the snow melts. I blame my dad. He is nodding along as he’s reading this, whereas my mother is putting on a sweater.]

Anyway, as I was saying, Mother Nature finally gave us a break. The last week or so has been freakin’ beautiful. Cooler. Comfortable. Some days, we’ve even had low humidity. I’ve had my air conditioning off for over a week now. In AUGUST. It’s fabulous.

Who can be expected to work on such a beautiful morning?

Friday I played a little hooky and went to revel in the glorious morning by taking a walk around Foster Park. I’ve been hiding out for months in climate-controlled comfort and had almost forgotten how much I love it there; it might be my favorite place in Fort Wayne.

It could be a country club, with its manicured golf course and impeccable, gorgeous flowerbeds, but instead it’s a public park, smack dab in the middle of the city. It’s vast. The golf course is surrounded by a 2.2-mile loop. There are playgrounds. Baseball diamonds. Tennis courts. Trails along the river. The bridal glen, where my aunt and uncle (and lots of other people, I presume) got married.  It connects to (and is part of) the River Greenway. There are pavilions for rent. There’s Pawster Park, for our canine companions. And it’s all thanks to the Fosters.


My dad comments from time to time about the foresight the Foster families had to preserve this kind of green space in a growing urban environment. A hundred years ago they donated over one hundred acres. (It’s even bigger thanks to additional purchases by the City.) That’s pretty badass, to make a gift of that magnitude. Imagine if someone did something like that today (ahem, Omnisource property, cough cough).

The park is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the community. It’s also one of the friendliest. During my loop last week almost every person I passed waved, smiled, nodded, said “hi” or “good morning” or “how’s it going”, despite my sunglasses and headphones. (Those are universal shields, right?)  I love it. Love. It.  On a nice weekend in the summer, it’s teeming with people. In the winter there are far fewer, but the camaraderie might be even stronger; it’s like a small band of winter weather warriors, united in our quest to circle the park even when it’s frigid.

Off-roading by the river

My affection for Foster Park goes way back. My family cross-country skied there when I was a kid. The circuit is convenient for walking (or running, I assume, but with no bears to chase me there is no need). The wide path with no motor vehicles makes me feel safe on my skates. And as previously mentioned, it’s beautiful. With my last dog, I tried hitting all the parks in the city for our excursions, but Foster was always the best for a good trek (although she loved Franke Park, too). When I was looking for my house a few years ago, I limited my search to the south side because I’ve always wanted to live near the park.  So it was a joy to rediscover my joy when the heat finally broke, and a reminder to take advantage of it more often.

Good news: the forecast this week is for mostly sunny, mild temps, with a high probability of walks in the park.

Warrior II

One hand in the past.

One hand in the future.

Most of us (the heart, the mind) in the present.

Libby, my yoga teacher said this not too long ago while we were in Warrior II pose. For those of you not familiar with the pose, your arms are extended with one hand ahead of you and one behind. (Don’t worry, I’ll illustrate it for you in a minute.) And even though I’d done Warrior II a jillion times before, I’d never heard Libby interpret it quite like that before, and that night it really resonated with me.

I have spent large chunks of my life not so much in the present. I live in my head a lot: I’m a daydreamer, and a processor. I love anticipation. If something fun were coming up, I would wait impatiently for it to get here already. I also can be a fretter, and sometimes dwell on what just happened, both negatively and positively. I’ve been known to mull over a past conversation for way too long, analyzing what I said, what you said, what I should have said, how I wished I’d said it. I also might replay a particularly special time over and over again, trying to be in that moment.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what I just described, in moderation. But there have been times in my life when the dwelling in the past or twitching about waiting for what was yet to be were overshadowing what was actually happening right here, right now. (Cue Jesus Jones.) What struck me during my yoga class was that I don’t really do a whole lot of any of either anymore. I’m much more in the present than I ever have been; it’s very strange, but good. I’m not used to getting into bed at night and not fretting over something or wishing for something to come, or daydreaming into a different place. I get in bed, and I go to sleep; what’s up with that? I can only assume that it’s because I really like where I am right now. For the last 8 or 10 months, I’ve been pretty content. It’s not as though I never worry about things anymore, or eagerly look forward to fun with friends, but everything is more balanced.

I am more balanced.

I am Warrior II.

And for those of you not familiar with the yoga pose, I tried and tried and tried to find a picture to show you, but I feel very strongly about not misusing someone else’s images, and I couldn’t find anything. So I drew you a picture. For those of you who don’t know me well, this is kind of astonishing. Let’s begin with my complete lack of artistic talent, then add in the fact that I’m left-handed but mouse with my right hand, and I think you’ll agree that this is a mind-blowing accomplishment. And is cracking my shit up.  Really, the entire reason for the post is so I can show you my awesome stick figure yoga illustration. 🙂

She looks just like me, don’t you think?

Sneaky Little Bastard Spider

A very persistent spider is attempting to take up residence on my front storm door.  I ignored it at first. Mostly because I couldn’t deal. Then I had my Cleaning Fairies (best money spent ever) wipe down the door and remove all the webs. Voila! Problem solved.

The next morning I got up and much to my dismay, a small web had been spun in exactly the same spot, right next to the handle to open the freaking door. (Please note, if I used my front door more often, this would have been addressed much sooner.) I could not let the large web conglomeration build up again. I grabbed 82 damp paper towels, and with my arm extended to maximum Stretch Armstrong distance in case the little bastard made an appearance, I removed the strands of web from MY door. Voila! Problem solved.

The next morning I got up, and much to my dismay…..wait, I already said that. Ok. Read the paragraph above about seven times.

Finally, after several days I got up, and TADA!!!! No web by the door handle! I’d done it!

Except.

The sneaky little bastard had given up on that location, but not the entire door. He had relocated his web to the exact same spot on the hinge-side of the door. Sigh……I got another wad of paper towels and wiped the webs away (still standing as far from the door as possible, even though I’ve never actually seen a spider during any of this).

Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s been almost another week and he still hasn’t given up. Although this morning he made an appearance (he’s much larger than I’d expected, he should be ashamed of his tiny little web-spinning abilities) and I almost got him. But by then I’d used up most of my 97 paper towels and I wasn’t in full on Spider Attack Mode and he got away, even though I punched him into a ball multiple times. As I said, he’s a persistent little bastard. We will see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully he’s so traumatized by the smackdown that he’s going to take up residence elsewhere. Oh please oh please oh please!!!

Any suggestions on how to crush his spirit, since I failed at crushing him?