Gwnewch y pethau bychain

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Towards better health.

I was supposed to go in for my annual 40k mile oil change and checkup (also known as my annual physical) the week after Gafilk, but they called me the day before my appointment and asked me to reschedule, as their office was closed due to a completely impassable parking lot. So I ended up going in on Tuesday to be poked and prodded and have my subscription renewed for another year.

I love Leslie, my RN. She never scolds, she takes everything I say seriously, and she really makes me feel like she’s a agent of support with regards to my health. I got the usual reminder about diet and exercise, and I said that I was making an effort to both eat better and exercise more, so I’ve started to think about the various ways I could do that.

One of the things I’ve done is take short breaks throughout the workday, go downstairs, and just take a short walk around the building. It gets me a bit of fresh air, and subtracts slightly from the general amount of sedentary sloth that my deskbound job typically entails. This is a good thing, but it’s a drop of water in the ocean.

Problem is — I hate exercise for the sake of exercise. I always start with good intentions, and never really make any progress. I’m reminded of the old joke about quitting smoking: “Starting a new exercise program is the easiest thing in the world. Why, I’ve done it myself thousands of times.”

Many years ago, I first read about the Couch to 5k Program, which was designed to take people from couch potato status and ease them into a training program with the goal of being able to run a 5k race — not to run it in a decent time, necessarily, but to complete it.

Unfortunately, at the time I first read about it, some ten years ago, the instructions all assumed that you had access to a quarter-mile track. It had instructions like “Walk for one lap, then run for 1 lap.” Not having access to a track, I filed it away as intriguing but not useful to me.

A few months ago, aiela said that she was starting to try this program, using an app on her Android phone to regulate her progress. I looked and found that there was an iPhone app as well, which i downloaded, glanced over, and promptly forgot about.

Tonight, feeling a bit restless and bored (not playing WoW turns out to be harder than I thought *grin*), I went down to Lifetime Fitness with my iPhone, a new pair of sneakers, and the determination to get through Week 1, Day 1 of the program. The C25k program lets you set up a playlist to listen to, so I queued up a podcast and kicked off the program. I settled on 2.5mph for the walking sections, and a modest 4.0mph for the running section, and set off. It wasn’t that bad; honestly, I think I had more difficulty changing the treadmill speed than I did actually carrying out the routine, but I definitely felt like I had done something at the end.

My hope is that the structured progression of the program will help me stick to it and actually get into the gym and stick to the schedule. My plan is to try and go Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and “Level up” every Monday. We’ll see how it goes. But so far, I’m happy with it.

Protected: I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell

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Protected: Medical: Renewing my subscription for another year

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Injury Update

I ended up taking the day off yesterday and today, and called yesterday to get an appointment with the doctor just to make sure I didn’t cause myself any more serious damage than my wounded dignity. They didn’t have an appointments available yesterday, but I was able to get one for 9:30am this morning. I spent most of yesterday wandering from the computer to bed to the couch, because being in any one place for very long (or indeed, in any one position) was rather painful, and what painkillers I had on hand just weren’t cutting it. I did have some leftover diclofenac sodium left over from my back problems last summer, so I was taking those along with Tylenol for pain as often as allowed.

Drove down the doctor’s this morning, and was seen fairly promptly. I had an appointment with the same nurse practitioner that has been managing my blood pressure and blood sugar issues; I actually think of her more as my primary doctor than my actual PCP. (In fact, I have to call my insurance company to select a new PCP, as Dr. K. has left the practice. They told me this when I was checking in, and I realized that this really wasn’t a bother, since in the 7-8 years he’s been my PCP, I’ve only seen him about 5 times. But I digress…).

After getting the blood pressure and temperature readings out of the way, she prodded and poked and moved me about to see where the pain reactions where. Luckily, I don’t have the kind of radiating pain down my limbs that she was worried about. She wrote me out some prescriptions for pain medication, and sent me next door for X-rays. This was, oddly enough, the biggest bother, since taking them involved lying on my back and being rolled this way and that. I hadn’t had any pain meds this morning, so I was pretty sore and annoyed by the time they were done, but not so much at them (they were very personable and kept the amount of prodding to a minimum, and what prodding they did needed to be done). He told me that I’d find out about the results probably tomorrow.

I went by the pharmacy to fill my scrips, stopped by Moe’s for some lunch, then came home, took the pills and ate. I watched a little TV, but when I realized I was actually not listening to Matt Groening talk about….whatever he was talking about on the Daily Show episode I was watching, I took the cue from my body and went to bed. I slept until kitanzi came home and got me up for dinner. We watched the Dustin Hoffman episode of Inside the Actors Studio, which was amazing, and then I played a bit of WoW to pass time until I could take another dose of meds and go to bed. Which I am now going to do.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the previous post and offered their well wishes and support. It means a lot to me to know that you’re all out there paying attention and caring.

A good walk spoiled…

One of the things I’d been greatly looking forward to with our new apartment was its close proximity to my office. It really is “around the corner”, and I thought I might take advantage of this one some nicer days and walk. Despite the fact that rain was called for today, I decided to chance it and stroll to work this morning, to get a sense of the timing.

Now, there’s two ways I can do this. I can stroll up the street to the light, and then down a short block, and then around the circle which leads to my office building. We’ll call this “the long way”. The other way, which looks so much more preferable on the map, is to cut through the back parking lot of the office building that is two buildings down from mine. This is the route I took this morning.

Right after coming out of our complex, there’s a path leading up a fairly steep embankment. I climbed up, and thought to myself that it really was just a bit too steep for comfort, even if there was an obvious path. But I made it up ok (about 15-17 feet from bottom to top, with a relatively severe incline), caught my breath, and then had a nice stroll across the parking lot to my building. Total time in transit, from my door to my office door: 11 minutes.

At lunchtime, I strolled over to the shopping centre next door and had lunch at Mellow Mushroom, a local pizza chain that I’ve always been fond of. While I was eating and reading the back half of this weeks Creative Loafing, the sky opened up. This wasn’t a shower, this was serious sheets of rain with gusting winds. But I had time, so I leisurely nibbled on my pizza and, having finished reading Creative Loafing, leafed through their far inferior competitor, the Sunday Paper. (The Sunday Paper is an alternative weekly newspaper if it were written by your dad.) The rain finally slaked off and I strolled back to work through the now-light shower, getting wet but not drenched. It was warm enough that this really wasn’t terribly unpleasant.

By the time it was time to go home, the rain was gone, so I merrily set off for home. As I got to the top of the embankment, I thought “this really is a bit steep. I’ll need to be careful.” Unfortunately, two steps later my foot slipped and, unable to recover, I landed hard on my tailbone and slid down to the bottom. I picked myself up and shook myself off, and limped home.

My jeans were a muddy mess, and my dignity suffered a near-fatal blow, saved only by the lack of anyone watching. I have a great deal of pain in my bottom and lower back, but I don’t think I did any serious damage to myself. If I’m still in great pain after 24-48 hours, I’ll go see a doctor. But I’m afraid that walking to work is going to either have to be the long way around, or I’m going to have to find a less steep pathway that parking lot, because I’m not going down that hill again.



I had a lot of plans for the weekend, which involved packing and doing some repair work on the apartment in preparation of us moving in July, but all of that got derailed when I got sick.

Getting sick really isn’t something I do, as a rule. I don’t know if I just have a particularly robust immune system or what, but while I might occasionally get an annoying case of the sniffles, I rarely get outright, hurts to move, something is pouring out of every orifice, its only the glorious hope of dying that’s keeping me alive, ill. Maybe once every couple of years, really, do I get sick enough to miss work.

Well, Friday, I was feeling a bit run down, and felt I might be coming down with something. When I woke up Saturday, I was certain. Spent the weekend mostly sleeping, watching TV, and playing World of Warcraft, and generally not doing anything that required the output of energy. Monday, I had my three-month checkup with the sleep clinic (we made some slight adjustments to my CPAP pressure, but otherwise everything is pretty ok), On the way back from the clinic, I stopped by my GP and asked if they could fit me in. I left with 4 prescriptions, and $75 later was home again.

Today was the first day I felt well enough to try and come to work. So I went out, got in my car, and started to pull out, and realized I had a flat tire. On changing the tire, there was an enormous metal object embedded in it. Fortunately, I ponied up for the roadside hazard protection for these tires, so it only cost me my time to change the tire, go to the Goodyear place, and for them to patch it up. Still, by the time they were done, it was after 10am, so I ended up extending my sick time out an extra half-day, and came in at lunchtime.

I still have a fair bit of chest congestion, but my nose is no longer completely blocked (Sunday and Monday nights were the first time I’d slept without the the CPAP since I got it in February), and the sore throat is completely gone. Hopefully, by the weekend I’ll be much more human again.

Good grief, I hate being sick. It’s such a waste of time.

Dr. Sleeplove, or How I Learned to Start Breathing and Love the CPAP

I took a half-day off on Friday so that I could go to the 2pm setup class at the clinic and get my device. This was relatively straight forward, as there were only 5 of us, and we had a good time sharing stories of our studies when the tech was out of the room. The unit they provided us was a ResMed S8 Compact, which seems to be an unremarkable but noncontroversial machine, from the research I’ve done since. (I still intend to followup on laurel‘s excellent advice, but for now, I figured I’d take what was given and not waste time.

As most people warned me, it is going to take some getting used to. The whole “there’s something strapped to my face” feeling really doesn’t phase me, but I’m finding that I’m hyper-conscious of my breathing at first. I’ll actually be thinking “Ok, breathe in…..and out……and in….and out.” Other than that, I don’t seem to have too many problems with it insofar as it being a distraction from falling asleep.

The other thing that’s going to take some getting used to is that I seem to only be sleeping in 3-4 hour increments. After about that much time, I’m waking up, and finding myself too wired to go back to sleep. So I’ll get up for about an hour or so, then try to go back to bed, and often succeed for another 2-3 hours. My co-worker Tim has suggested that I will probably find that I don’t actually need as much sleep as I used to, since the sleep I’m getting is higher quality, and he may turn out to be right. i would not actually mind a couple of extra hours in my day!

Of course, the bottom line, and the most important thing, is that I’m feeling a ton better after sleep, regardless of the length of time I actually spend doing it. When I wake up, I find I’m instantly awake, and no longer feel like I’m having to push a large weight off of my brain. While I don’t have the “bursting with energy like an ADD ferret on meth” sensation that some people reported after their first experience, I am feeling less fatigued, more alert, and generally more upbeat as a result.

Ultimate verdict: I think this is going to be a good thing.

Thanks to everyone who posted with encouragement, suggestions, resources, or just shared experiences. I really appreciated all of it.

Well, that was definative.

One of the complaints I gave to my doctor during the course of the last year was how tired I am all the time, and she recommended that I go and have a sleep study done. So back in January, I went down to the Sleep Disorders Center of Georgia for a sleep study.

Today, I went in for the followup to find the results of the study. Dr. Wellman had predicted, just based on my description of symptoms, that I was suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. When I sat down in his office, he flipped open the chart, glanced at the report, and said “Well, you just about broke the record.”

During the course of the sleep study, I stopped breathing an average of 130 times an hour, and my oxygen levels dropped as low as 84%. No wonder I’m so fatigued all the time, if that’s the kind of sleep I’m getting!

I have to back in tomorrow to get set up with all the apparatus. Looks like I’m joining the growing legion of folks with CPAP machines. I wouldn’t say I’m looking *forward* to it, per se, but I *am* looking forward to a good nights sleep.


Been suffering a migraine all weekend. Not how I’d planned to spend two days off. :/

Mainlining fire, and other idle pursuits

Back when I got my physical last September, one of the things that came back from the lab work was some slightly elevated liver enzyme levels. They weren’t high enough to be alarming, but they were high enough for my physician to want to run some further tests. So I spent a month abstaining from alcohol and Tylenol, and was retested, but this didn’t make any difference. So I was sent off to get an ultrasound of my abdomen. I did end up procrastinating on this for a bit, because at that time we were moving headlong towards kitanzi‘s surgery, and that, along with some personal relationship stresses, was taking up most of my emotional energy. But I did finally have the ultrasound down in February, and was told that it’s definitely a girl! No, actually, what I was told is that the ultrasound was inconclusive, and they wanted to send me for a full CT scan.

With one thing or another, I never did get called back, so when I was in getting my blood pressure medication adjusted last week, I mentioned that I’d never got a call. Ms. Schaad, the NP who I’ve been seeing about the various things that came out of my physical, rolled her eyes and told me she’d resubmit the paperwork. Yesterday, I was called and told I could come in today at 1:00pm, and to come down and pick up some barium contrast dye to take this morning.

The barium wasn’t as disgusting as I’d been led to believe, though I really don’t think its a taste sensation that will sweep the country either. The real downside of it was that once I drank it, I wasn’t allowed to have anything to eat or drink, even water, until after the procedure. This made me fairly cranky for most of the morning, as I tend to keep a full jug of water on my desk at all times.

I got to the Northside Hospital‘s Radiology facility in Alpharetta right on time, did the paperwork, and waited to be called. I was finally led back into the CT Scanner area by a very perky, pretty young nurse, who gave me some more barium and went over with me all the various ways that the procedure might kill me, and asking me to initial the paper saying that that was alright. I then divested myself of my various belongings, and made myself comfortable on the slab while the pretty nurse set up an IV that would later be used to inject me with even more dye.

The next bit was spent being shuttled back and forth through the machine, before she came in to give me the injection. Wow, what an utterly weird feeling! It wasn’t actually painful, but it felt as though a nice fire was slowly making its way through my bloodstream. it lasted for about five minutes, during which I was shuttled through the machine a couple of more times, and then it was all done. I came home and ordered some Chinese food and played City of Villains until kitanzi came home.

I won’t know the results for a few days, but it was definitely an *interesting* experience.

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