Welcome to the ramblings of a merry heretic, an ex-pat (Tex-pat?) American living in Maryland after having spent six years in Germany. Arx Hereticus is part travelogue, part cooking, part budo, part socio-political commentary and mostly just me BSing.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Wednesday, Aug. 1
Mood: Cautiously optimistic
Music: Evanescence, “Tourniquet”
Currently reading: "Altered Carbon” by Richard K. Morgan (cyberpunk meets film noir) and “Preacher: Until the End of the World” by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (second compilation of the series, wicked cool and big fun)
Two weeks after the surgery, I'm feeling pretty good. Got the stitches out today (though THAT was a Keystone Cops episode all in itself), got my DSL fixed, got a very nice intro to the weight and cardio machines and got a routine for 'em.
Things are looking up.
Tablemates in the cafeteria are an odd lot, though all of them are quite nice. Two older gentlemen, on here for some hip work the other on 'kur' and the third is a younger fellow with back problems. If you miss a meal, they ask after your well-being.
Today went pretty fast, busy morning, then spent the afternoon getting caught up on the blog and e-mail. Still have work to do on the blog (links, etc), but I think I've tamed the e-mail inbox for now.
Took about an hour just before supper to go to the training room and go through the complete workout (15 minutes on the recumbent stationary bike, 3sets x 15 reps each on upper body and leg butterfly machines, lat pull-downs and leg press).
Stitches: I'd been told today was the day for removal, but no other info. Got a call just as I was about to leave for my krankengymnastic appointment, and was told to “drop by the doctor's office when I had time”.
I took that to mean that it wasn't time sensitive, and since the caller didn't identify herself, I guessed that it was the doc who'd seen me on my first day.
Nope. Tweren't to be. I went to PT and then to the first doc's office.
After sitting outside HER office for 15 minutes, she told me to see another doc, who told me I was too late and would have to wait until after lunch, unless ANOTHER doc were in and able to do it. Fortunately, the third doc was in and got to me immediately. She popped the 20 external sutures out quickly, bandaged them up and told me to hold off on the shower till tomorrow.
Shower! Woohoo. Who'da thunk simple hot running water could be so ... luxurious.
Went from there to another lymph drainage massage, and ... finally ... the DSL techie had showed up and flipped the switch to make it work. Magic!
Anyhow, I'm done for the day, and nicely tired from the workout, and plan a lazy evening of Threshold, Desert Punk, e-mail and blog maintenance.
Tuesday, July 31 -- 13th post-op day -- 4th Reha Day
Light day today. Had Gruppengymnastik this morning after breakfast. A roomful of hip and knee patients doing synchronized swimming on tables with no music. They could at least give us a backbeat. I've gotta say, group exercises were a waste of time. I'd prefer to be turned loose in the training room with the machines, and would probably get better from it.
Got my bauchspritz and dressing change (no drainage today!), made some light walkies off and on, but mostly waited for the AWOL network guy to come fix my DSL.
Spent a lazy afternoon (waiting for the AWOL techie), had a couple phone calls, hung out, waited ... napped.
This afternoon's training was better, it was a lot like the krankengymnastic, only cranked up a notch. Got some good muscle work, but these folks simply cannot stretch me. “Unglaublich!” the PT says. Impossible. My mantra repeated:
“I walk, I hike, I bike, I do martial arts 2-3 times a week and have done so for 33-34 years.” No, seriously.
I've started complaining about the unbearable lightness of rehab, and had a good talk with the PT guy just now. I hope they'll ramp up the intensity a little. Otherwise, I'd might as well check out after the stitches come out and go home and do this myself. I can go to the freaking gym and do the exercises at home with HW's help and probably get a more intensive and effective training for my time.
And not have to deal with non-functional DSL, boredom, repetitive menus and a near-absence of anything resembling supper. Cold cuts, cheese and the occasional cold pork chop ain't cutting it.
Grumpy. Yeah, that's me.
On a lighter and funner note, dear friends C&K are coming down for a visit tonight, and we'll hang out across the street at Park Cafe for a beer or so and maybe supper. Maybe they've got schnitzel on the menu!
C&K got here a bit late, so we eschewed the walkies and simply drove up to the center of town to a very nice Italian place called 'Papa Michele's Ristorante'. Good eats. Spent a couple hours chatting, nibbling, sipping and catching up. Ver' good time.
They also brought me a prezzie: a bottle of Agioritikos, a crisp, sunny white wine from Greece (picked up from Mikie and Thomai at restaurant Athen no doubt). I'll save that till the weekend when my HW is a'visiting.
Back to the room, tidy up loose ends, call HW to say night-night and to bed.
Stitches come out tomorrow!
Monday, July 30 -- 12th post-op day -- 3rd Reha Day
Breakfast (again, typical German b'fast foods, cold cuts, cheese, bread, jams, honey, yogurt and fruit), is served buffet style. Folks on crutches get a helper to load the plate and carry it to your table, others can help themselves. It's a merry pile of chaos.
After breakfast, Heparin shot and dressing change and then started the process for setting up DSL access in the room and am waiting for ime to go get my anti-thrombosis shot, then will start bugging folks about my actual daily schedule.
Got the schedule for my first week of rehab. Here's today's calendar entries with all the trivia as well as the PT stuff:
0630 – Labwork
0700 – Breakfast
0900 – Anti-thrombosis shot
0920 – Lymph drainage massage
1100 – Kaltluft therapie (about which more later)
1130 - Lunch
1230 – Krankengymnastic (phys. Therapy)
1300 – I'm doing LAUNDRY!
1530 – Schlingenkaefig
1700 – Dinner
Already talked about the labwork thing, brekkie, the bauchspritz (shot in the belly, the Heparin goes into the fatty tissue of the belly) and dressing change, the DSL connection is still not working, and if it doesn't come up soon, I'll be climbing on the reception desk tomorrow morning after breakfast.
Lymphdrainage massage – very light massage intended to facilitate the flow of lymph and reduse swelling (did I say I've got an ever bigger ass on the right than I do on the left side?).
Kaltluft – Exactly what it sounds like ... cold air therapy. Basically, there's a machine that creaste and pumps cold air through a hose with a sort of fat wand on the end. You hold the outlet about 1.5 inches from your owie and let the cold air wash over it for about 3 minutes. Felt good on the wound site, but not sure what that will do that a simple icepack won't ...
Krankengymnastic – It's just another name for physical therapy. The PT guy asked a few questions, measure mobility, made a quick exam of the joint and started the exercises. Same sort of things Frau Winter did, but a bit more intensive and a few new ones; all still with active resistance. He was red-faced and sweating by the time we got through, but then, my leg is about as big as he was. Everybody who gets hands on my leg remarks about how strong it is. Listen folks, I do Japanese martial arts, and have for 33 years. I fall down, I get up, I swing weapons from kneeling, crouching and standing positions, I grab strong young men and women and wave them around on the mat. I may be soft on the edges, but the legs, thems gots muscles.
Laundry was a bit of a trial. You're told it costs 2 Euro each, per washer and dryer load, but it's only in the fine print in the instructions on the wall of the laundry room that you have to go BACK up to Reception and buy tokens for the machines. After marching around up and down stairs, I finally got a load in and sat sipping cappuccino at the cafe (across the hall from the laundry room) and reading while my things got clean. Didn't get to dry them completely, as I had to go to the schlingenkaefer thing before they were done, but I spread the damp stuff out on the wonderful towel warmer in the bathroom and they were dry by the time I returned to the room.
Schlingerkaefer – It's a sort of welded steel rod cage, about 2.5 meters on a side (7-8 feet or so), within which the therapist connects hooks and carabiners and pullies and such to do the same sort of things the pulleyforme exercises did. I couldn't help but think that with the right marketing, there's a segment of the population who'd buy the hell out of the schlingerkaefer system.
And then supper and I was done. Still trying to get the damned DSL to work. Blerf, I say, blerf indeed. Setting up a 'net connection ain't rocket science. I'm annoyed.
Sunday, July 29 -- 11th post-op day -- 2nd Reha Day
I'm chilling in my nice little room (easily as nice or nicer than many hotels I've stayed in, sipping Cola Light and catching the blog up. The room has a single bed (electric control to raise and lower the height, head, etc). Built-in desk and tiny fridge, nice WC/bath with a large shower (equipped with sturdy handholds) and a towel warmer (luxurious but a bit overkill as warm as it's been).
Should have DSL 'net access tomorrow -- Woohoo, I can reach out and participate in the world again! -- so I'll update the Arx Hereticus blog, and check out and answer any comments.
Can't begin to image how much spam I've got waiting in my various mailboxes.
After yesterday's hurry-up-and-wait, today's a nice break. I'll learn tomorrow what sort of schedule I'll have in the coming weeks.
Meeting a friend or two in a couple of hours for an afternoon visit. We'll probably find a nice beer garden or cafe in the neighborhood to hang out and talk.
Had a very nice visit with the Red Haired Ant Fan, and my dear friend Walter this afternoon. Drank a couple of beers, a couple of coffees, a couple of waters, and after they had to leave, HW and I shared an excellent pizza at the Park Cafe.
And now, HW has headed back home, an hour and some small change up the highway from here. So close, but so far. I really, really miss her. She's such a comfort to me and such support. She tells me so often, “I'm so proud of you” ... for doing so well after the OP.
It's very mutual. I'm so very proud of her, as well. Proud of her accomplishments in these past years, proud of her courage and dogged determination to do well in the face of (sometimes) seemingly unsurmountable bureaucracy and willful blind-mindedness. She's a treasure and I'm a lucky man.
Planning some brain-rot while awaiting her call when she arrives home safely. I'll likely head to bed shortly thereafter. I've got to try to get up early to beat the rush on the laundry room and get some fresh undies for next week, then get and start my rehab schedule.
Also dann, bis dann, and schlaf' alles Ihres sehr gut!