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What the frozen left shoulder taught me about the right elbow

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

So all this year I’ve been slowly recovering from my left shoulder getting frozen by adhesive capsulitis.  The last 6 weeks or so I’ve been noticing more visible improvement, the arm is beginning to regain some of its reach.

As one might expect, the shoulder problem has created some difficulty with swinging a golf club, although there was a short stretch this year where it seemed like it greatly simplified my golf swing and I was seeing some favorable results because of that, in spite of the distance I’ve lost. But the last few months as the left arm has started getting more mobile again, it’s led to some difficulties. I began having great difficulty having any consistency with ball striking.

But then something fell in place yesterday and I now feel very excited I’ve made a huge leap of understanding in the golf swing.  In Ben Hogan’s book, 5 Lessons, he advocates a few points about how the arms should be — that when you set up at address of the ball, your elbows should not be pointed out to the sides, , but that you should turn your forearms so that your elbows point towards their respective hips.  Earlier this year when I tried doing that, I couldn’t turn my left arm like that, the shoulder would hurt. But about a month ago I noticed I could turn things that way, but I didn’t implement it in my game.  I had mostly gotten in the habit of turning my right arm into that position, but I would leave the left elbow facing forward.

That left elbow led to a couple of problems sometimes. It was easy for me to break my left arm during the backswing, and I was prone to that because I wanted to get further back. Sometimes by focusing on keeping my left arm straight I would avoid that, but it still happened sometimes if I didn’t concentrate on it.

But all of that meant something else as well. My right elbow has always had a tendency to fly away from my body. Some of that was because when I first started playing in 2005, after my right shoulder had gotten mostly better from its frozen shoulder, well, I couldn’t externally rotate my right arm fully and that made it impossible for my right elbow to stay tucked in close to the body.  Over time that improved, but mostly my swing was about trying to get the right elbow back into the body after it got separated.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of PGA players will let their right elbows get away from the body on the backswing. But what they are all very good about is getting the elbow tucked back in.  On the other hand, if you look at video of Ben Hogan’s swing, the right elbow is almost always right beside his body.

So yesterday, on about the 5th hole of the first 9 holes I played, I keyed up that thought of pointing my elbows at my hips at address and I then felt how my right elbow kept close to my body and I hit my first real good drive of the day. I did that again at the 7th hole. I missed it on the 8th hole when I let my concentration lapse, but that helped to drive home the lesson — I need my right elbow to stay tight to the body.

That then led me to doing something I’ve never done before in all the times I’ve played the front-9 at Delcastle. After my group had completed our first 9 holes, we elected to go play the front-9 again where the course was open because of the time of day and no one going out to start new rounds of play. But in all my prior times out on the front-9, I have never hit the first 5 fairways in a row with my driver.  But late yesterday afternoon, first hole, a beautiful light fade that started out down the left side and cut back in towards the middle. 2nd hole, again. 3rd hole, again. 4th hole, again. 5th hole, again. It almost felt automatic, if I kept that right elbow tucked against my body, the swing was simple. Hitting the ball solidly with a little bit of fade was simple.

It doesn’t mean I’ll hit a perfect shot every time. But I realize what it does mean is that if I keep my right elbow in close, I greatly improve my chances of returning the golf club in a much more consistent path and plane to the ball.  And that’s why you see the PGA guys hitting the balls as consistently as they do, they’ve mastered the art of getting the right elbow (or left elbow for lefties) back tight against their bodies when they make the downswing.  I finally really felt that clearly yesterday. I’ve probably had some awareness of it before, but never so forcefully and so consciously, with such a feeling that I now know what is key for me when I play golf. Or with the feeling that began to have yesterday that I can have confidence in my swing like I’ve never had before.

I suppose back in 2006 and 2007 when I was able to shoot in the 80s pretty consistently I was sort of closing in on that in an unaware way. Through lots of play, when I’d play 2 or 3 times a week, my body sort of unconsciously got better at getting the right elbow back in against the body, but I wasn’t really keyed in on how to accomplish it. And of course the swing would still break down a lot. Then the less I played, the harder it would get to have any sense of the right elbow being grooved into getting back to the body.

But now it feels like I know, really know. And I understand why Ben Hogan kept the right elbow so close all the time. It simplifies things greatly.

Everything becomes forgotten

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t think there’s anything new or profound in the title statement. It’s just an observation after a day of trying to be thankful and joyful. Or semi-happy. Or quarter-happy. Or a smidgen happy. I’ve just been thinking about it some lately, when I had the opportunity to drive someplace which I hadn’t driven to in more than 15 years maybe. Yeah, I remembered some stuff, but so much was forgotten. And I’m not someone who forgets easily. Things get stuck in my head. But even me, eventually I’ll forget.

That saddens me. I suppose it’s useless, but it saddens me. It’s a sensation of wrongness, how memories fade, evaporate, get erased, lost, crumpled, wrecked, broken, smashed, torn, eradicated, wiped away, wiped out, removed, deleted. I wonder — would it be a happier world if we could remember everything or would it be happier if we could forget everything? Both questions are useless, they aren’t realistic. I just wonder how it is some can put memory into the past so easily and let it fade into nothingness. They are probably happier people, I guess.

This last weekend, there was the Philadelphia marathon and half-marathon. I ran the half-marathon there from 2007 to 2010. But not this year. 2 men died running the marathon this year there. I still remember a lot about the ones I ran 2007, 08, and 09. Last year’s was more of a blur. I was probably depressed when I did it last year and it was a struggle. I wasn’t trained for it. But I did it because I had paid the money to do it. The other ones were far more meaningful to me. 2007 for the way I got a chance to say, “Fuck you, type 1 diabetes, you can’t stop me.” 2008 for doing it again and fighting through some of the worst cramping I’ve ever known. My legs cramped up to all hell and I refused to give up. 2009’s seems to be nearly etched into my memory because of who I ran with that day. Because of what I gave up that day. I had been prepared to run a full marathon, a feat that not all that many type 1 diabetics have accomplished. But I gave that up because of what I felt to be more important, the person that I ran with. Now I don’t now whether I’ll ever commit myself to the idea again of running a marathon. Maybe, maybe not.

But one day all those memories will be gone. My eyes, if they aren’t already shut, will be shut, if I die peacefully some place. Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll have the misfortune of some terrible accidental death. The point is my brain will stop functioning and all that was me and all that was my memory will be gone. Poof. And there’ll be no memory of the small inconsequential things of my life. No memory of the somewhat amazing things of my life. It’ll be nothing and no more. Nothing. Rien. Nada. Nenio.

 

one of those bad diabetes days

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

The diabetes and me have been coasting along pretty good over the past month and a half. I suppose it was time for one of those weird days to happen.

All day yesterday, I kept coming out low. The highest glucose reading I got was 123 mg/dL after stuffing myself with carbs in response to a low. A bad low. A low which had me in a bit of confused daze and sweat popping off my arms and body.  I don’t know what happened yesterday. Did my liver decide to take a vacation? Did I maybe take 26u of Lantus insted of 21u? Did I inject into some layer of tissue that got more rapid absorption?

I ask that last one of those three because when I woke up this morning, I had to pee something awful, but first I tested. 337 mg/dL. That’s my worst hyper in a couple of years maybe, maybe longer even. So what if the Lantus got absorbed in 18 hours instead of 24? Then maybe my timid guesstimate shot at covering the carbs I ate in reaction to the hypo ran out around 1 AM this morning along with the Lantus and my blood sugar began climbing.

But there’s no real way of knowing for sure.

The hypo after dinner last night was bad. I had begun to feel empty headed maybe around 1 hour 15 minutes after dinner, but I just shrugged it off to me being tired from not sleeping well the night before and waking up early.  By the time I checked my blood sugar around 45 minutes later, I was feeling really off but in one of those vacant and unknowing states. My thoughts were repeating themselves.  I reacted to seeing 30 mg/dL on my meter by wondering if it was 80 mg/dL instead and thinking maybe I just ought to go lay down on the bed for a while. It took about 15 minutes for the fact of 30 mg/dL to sink in and make me wander to the kitchen to search for carbs, even though I had glucose tablets in my bedroom. I think I opened and closed the fridge door a few times before the fact there was orange juice finally registered and I also somehow avoided a temptation to grab a diet caffeine-free Dr. Pepper instead.  Then I ended up drinking a couple of large glasses of orange juice and the carb replenishment panic set in. I ended up eating a couple bowls of spicy Doritos to satisfy a fairly overwhelming desire to suffuse my body with carbs and chase away the nasty feeling of being low. It was way too much and I wasn’t keeping track well, but it was just basic survival instincts guiding my actions by then.

When I was later recovered, I made a conservative guess about how much carb I needed to cover with insulin, but I was conservative.

Another reason I for maybe ending up at 337 this morning is that my liver really kicked in and did a prolonged period of glucose dumping.

Oh well, I’m alive, but feeling rather bolloxed by everything of yesterday and overnight. Hopefully this day will settle in to a better range. I got down to 183 before leaving for work and was at 165 when I arrived at work.

Dreams of Esperanto in Russia

November 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Last night I dreamed I was jogging in Russia. I have no clue why I would be dreaming that. My memories of this dream are somewhat fuzzy now, but at some point there ended up being a couple of guys moving along with me and they were, being Russian, speaking Russian. Or what I dreamed to be Russian. I heard one of them use a word which sounded like dek, so I turned to them and said, “Dek estas la vorto for 10 en Esperanto.” This made them give me a look like I was crazy and they ran off.

I don’t believe I’ve ever had a dream like that, a dream about imagined Russian and then me spitting out a sentence that was both Esperanto and English.

—-

I came across the word naztruoj yesterday. Naz means nose. Truoj means holes. Nose holes. Nostrils. Yes, the Esperanto word for nostrils is nose holes. This makes me laugh. Naztruoj ridigas min. Nose holes makes me laugh.

There’s a bit of an unfortunate effect. If you turn naz into a verb, it becomes nazi. Although I don’t really know if Esperanto does like English does so often with bodyparts. I don’t know if oni povas nazi something out. Checking the Lernu vortaro doesn’t reveal nazi being used as a verb. So probably not.

I came up with the sentence La vorto naztruoj ridigas min fairly intuitively yesterday. In Esperanto, ridi means to laugh and it’s an intransitive verb. But Esperanto has a way of turning verbs that are intransitive into transitive ones, you use the suffix ig. Ig means to cause or make something. So if I add ig to rid, I’ve got something that makes or causes laughter. Ridigi is to make or cause laughter. Then I attach n to mi because it’s the object of what’s causing the laughter.

Rideti is laugh a little, which becomes to smile. I don’t know if I entirely agree with that meaning, I think chuckle could be more appropriate, but it’s commonly accepted that to smile in Esperanto is rideti. If we add ig to that, we get ridetigi, to make something or someone smile.

There are some amazing features that arise out of Esperanto’s short set of rules and word building capabilities.