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shoulder progress

August 22, 2012 Leave a comment

It definitely feels like the thaw of the shoulder is getting better, more consistent, more optimism inducing. For a long time now, I’ve been unable to put both my right and left hands on their respective hips. I don’t suppose in any way it’s a necessary function of life, but it’s a bit annoying sometimes to be standing someplace, waiting, and realize that I can’t put my hands on my hips. I have to settle for right hand on the hip and left hand in front pocket. For a long while, I genuinely couldn’t even put my fingers on the front of the left hip and the thumb behind. But now I’ve gotten to where I can do that. It still isn’t right and doesn’t look right because my arm can’t rotate enough to allow the elbow to stick out to the side, or if I do make the elbow stick to the side it’s by making the shoulder itself lurch forward.

But that is progress. I try to work on the shoulder some when I’m in the shower in the mornings. The heat and warmth give at least an illusion of greater pliability with the flesh and joint — although that may be a lie to myself. Still, it feels like I’m making progress with how much I can pull the left arm behind my back and across to the right side. I can hold it for longer periods of time too. When I first would try to do it, the discomfort would grow too great in about 10 to 15 seconds. Now I’m stretching it farther and can get it to the edge of the range of motion and hold it there for more than 30 seconds.

Am I finally reaching the home stretch for it? Am I reaching a point where the adhesions in the shoulder capsule are beginning to crumble, where the tissues have finally lost nearly all inflammation that there is no real pain anymore, just a more tolerable sort of discomfort? I hope so. I’m tired of not having full use of both arms.

I sometimes wonder why this one’s frozen stage has lasted longer. It’s not been for lack of trying to keep active with the arm. I have done a lot more to try to stay active with the left shoulder and arm than I ever did with the right side back in 2003 to 2005. That right shoulder took about 2 years. I first noticed twinges in it late in the summer of 2003 — in August of 2005 I started golfing and was pleased by how much range of motion I had — not full, but very close. This left one started in Feb. 2010 and now it’s August 2012. 2.5 years, and the shoulder is not nearly so thawed out. Why? Is it just because I’m older and my body can’t heal as fast as it once could? Is it just some sort of random variation? Is it because I try to stay active with this shoulder, unlike the right one? By that last question the thought I’ve sometimes had is what if using that shoulder caused a tougher sort of adhesion to fill in the capsule space? Is that possible? What if because I didn’t use my right shoulder so much in 2003 and 2004, the adhesions that developed weren’t so tough or dense or something? Then when the pain had subsided, the adhesions broke up more readily?

There is no evidence or definitive answer, and there never will be.

—-

I’m going to be in a bowling league starting next week. My brother suggested I might like to try it since I bowl fairly well whenever I get roped into going to a bowling alley. And if I play every week, I’ll probably see some improvement with the practice. I don’t think I’ll enjoy it as much as golfing though. Golf is more interesting in its variety of challenges.

—-

I’ve been working again on improving flexibility. For a while this summer, I had slacked off on the stretching: there was frustration about how I had seemingly gotten stuck, even though I felt rather sure I ought to be able to get more. Then I came across something about PNF stretching or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching, and it’s making a difference. It’s a cool idea. First you stretch a target muscle as far it can go passively, then you contract that muscle, hold it for some time, relax it and when you do that, you stretch it out some more. Go through a few cycles of that and bam, the muscle has been stretched farther than it ever has been before. It’s like playing a little trick on the nervous system. Of course, you still need to be careful about things, but it’s a useful tool in the toolbox and I wish I had known about it earlier.

—-

I had tried to start running again back in March, but that didn’t stick. Some frustration about how my blood sugars would drop very fast. I’m trying walking now. There’s still some trouble with blood sugars dropping too much. But I want to regain some aerobic fitness. But I may have to go back to bedtime Lantus shots if I want to be able to do extended cardio without huge drops in blood sugar. Which means I’ll have to go back again to bumping my blood sugar higher before bed and dealing with occasional nighttime hypos. If there’s one thing I’ve really liked about morning Lantus shots is that I didn’t have nearly the worry about nypos (nighttime hypos). But if I think about things and if I do decide at some point again that I want to do a marathon, I will have to switch back to nighttime Lantus.

That marathon idea is the idea with the walking. Back in the early part of the 20th century, a lot of the great Finnish distance runners did a lot of walking during the wintertime. That was their slowpaced cardio work. Then as it got warmed up, they’d start running. I’ve been thinking that. Get in the habit of walking briskly 4 or 5 times a week, then when we get to March next year, start running and build my way to a marathon.

I believe I can do the physical part of that. I’ve done it before. And I could probably do it better if I have a better cardio buildup with the walking over the winter to come. I worry some about the emotional challenge to it though. The marathon I got myself ready for in 2009 was fueled by an emotion which has been a rare occurrence in my life. One which I may never know again. There’ll be a lot of thinking to do if I’m running, a lot of memories to run with and run by and run through and run around and run for and run against.

Ça suffit.

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intentions

August 15, 2012 Leave a comment

I can’t remember exactly when I first created the word faligi in Esperanto. It happened at some point when I was trying to think of how to say I dropped something. It came fairly quickly, that if you drop something, you’ve made something fall. And Esperanto has a way of making words become transitive.
To fall is intransitive. I fall. You fall. Someone falls. I don’t fall anything. But what if you make something fall. Well, if you drop something, you’ve made it fall. And so appears our useful little suffix -ig, which turns intransitive verbs into something transitive. Fali is to fall, faligi is to make something fall.

I hadn’t thought about that for some time, but it went through my head last night when I was trying to think a little in Esperanto. So I used a conjugation of faligi, but then wondered a bit longer about my understanding of it and how it relates to English and its counterpart, to drop. To me, there are two somewhat opposite meanings contained with to drop. I can drop something deliberately, with intent — I dropped my clothes in the hamper. But there is also the accidental drop — the right fielder dropped the fly ball. In my head, if I’m translating things, I could say this — I made my clothes fall in the hamper. It would be a bit odd to say that, as it’s not a common idiom, but it would be clear enough. But if I were to say the right fielder made the fly ball fall, it would be weird and off, almost as if to say his error were intentional. He made the fly ball fall, he did it with intent.

I went googling some and found uses of faligis, the past tense conjugation of faligi. What I found showed me that Esperanto does use faligi just like how in English we use to drop. And that tells me something more about English than it does Esperanto — that when a conscious actor makes something do something, there is an implication of intent. Notice I say conscious actor, because one of the Esperanto sentences I found with faligis was “La vento faligis arbon.” In English, the wind dropped a tree or the wind made a tree fall. If a non-conscious actor makes something fall, there can’t be intent.
It’s also important to note maybe that Esperanto has a somewhat broader meaning to things. In English, we have two words, to make and to do. Esperanto is more economical, fari is to make/do and I think -ig is also a lot like that, but it just functions as a suffix to attach to intransitive verbs or to other affixes. Pliigi, to make more. Malpliigi, to make less. French has the verb faire and Spanish hacer, both of those function as a way of saying to make or to do — although a French or Spanish speaker who never learns English or some other language which like English has two verbs (or maybe more?) will never be aware that there is any difference. But in English we do.

—-

I’ve been reading Kristnaska Kanto, A Christmas Carol. It’s been introducing me to few more new words, but what’s also a good challenge in it is that the translator liked to mix word order up some. Lots of the Esperanto translations of English works into Esperanto tend to be mostly SVO for sentences and adjective-noun for those pairings. But this translator mixes in a lot of sentences which begin with objects and uses noun-adjective for those pairings. It’s good for me to read things like that because it helps to reinforce how the -n acts as the accusative or object marker in Esperanto, and how nouns and adjectives are marked in Esperanto. There’s a bit of instinct in me to still think with an English language pattern. And when you’ve thought with that pattern for most of your life, maybe 40 plus years of thinking that way, it’s a stubborn stubborn thing. Afero obstina aux obstina afero.

I suppose sometimes I wonder if there is anything useful in looking at languages and trying to learn them as my relatively older age. I try to pep myself up some by saying that it might be good to help keep my thoughts from becoming too rigid. It seems sometimes that as people grow older, they become more rigid in how they think. And maybe the best way to avoid that is to try to keep learning. And how we use language is very much tied in to how we think. I’m nowhere close yet to being able to use another language with maybe even a 1/4 of the speed and skill with which I use English, but Esperanto is becoming pretty strong in comprehension and production is getting better now.  It’s almost a weird feeling sometimes when I read a lengthy passage of Esperanto and I realize that it was all Esperanto to me and it all made sense.  But I’m still humbled by those who can switch between 2 or more languages, and have only a small dropoff between their native language and the second language.

Although I suppose maybe it’ll be a bit odd that in all likelihood the large majority of my use of any other languages that I might learn to sufficient fluency will come in the form of reading or watching movies. The irony is in how language is to function as communication between people, but I won’t have that intimacy. There’ll be the separation of paper or film. Ah well. That’s okay, I guess. It’s kind of that way for me in English anyhow.

not so grim

August 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Not happy news yesterday, but something positive. I found a letter from my health insurance company and it informed me that the plan my employer is part of had failed to meet the PPACA’s requirement that 85% of healthcare premiums go to health improving medical expenditures. The plan had only spent 83.7% of the premiums collected, so a rebate of 1.3% was issued to my employer. The company can now decide whether to use that rebate towards next year’s insurance plan, or issue a rebate to the employees, or use that rebate to reduce our co-pays.

– For people who buy insurance through their employers, those rebates won’t come directly in the mail. They’ll first go to the employer, which decides how to distribute it. Employers who offer insurance can either send out individual checks to their employees, or put those rebates toward lowering future premium costs.

The employer could also use the rebates as a lump-sum reimbursement to the accounts that pay premiums, or spend it in other ways that “benefits its employees,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services.  This can include lowering copays or adjusting cost-sharing to cut group insurance costs.

Source
This is one of the smart things that the PPACA does.  Instead of that money disappearing into the insurance company ether and being used, say, for some guy’s swimming pool, the money comes back to the consumers, so we can use it for our own needs. It’s smart because this is what we should be looking to do to help improve healthcare in America, that money being spent towards coverage is being spent on health coverage. It is something that almost every other advanced first world nation has already been doing, whether by having the government involved directly in how the money is spent or by regulating the insurance companies which are doing business. But for a long time now, we haven’t had any real sort of efficiency check like that upon the health insurance companies — they were nearly opaque boxes that we tossed money into and had no substantive glimpse into what was happening with that money.

Meanwhile, for a bit of mind-bending cognitive wtf dissonance, consider Mitt Romney, the presidential candidate vowing to repeal Obamacare. Of course, Romney was the governor of Massachusetts when Romneycare was enacted into law, a law which mandates that Massachusetts residents buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Yeah, basically the PPACA was modeled after Romneycare, there are some differences in scale and scope, but they are basically the same. Romneycare was supposed to be Romney’s signature accomplishment as governor of Massachusetts, now he is running for president and threatening to repeal the legislation he helped to garner support for in Massachusetts.

But in today’s America, and to today’s Republicans, Obamacare is evil and must be repealed. And Mitt Romney, who has never met a principle he couldn’t waver on except for the principle of stuffing more money into his own pockets, now is opposed to Obamacare and opposed to his own gubernatorial legacy. Yet, on Romney’s bizarre foreign tour, he went to Israel and gave a speech where he praised the Israeli healthcare system — a system which mandates that all Israeli citizens should have healthcare coverage. Now it’s a week later and he’ll be back in the US, and telling us how we should get rid of a law that will bring coverage to 30 million Americans who currently don’t have coverage.  But remember, Mitt Romney is a guy who has no principles to stand upon except those which enrich his pockets. Mitt Romney is the guy whose horses have better healthcare than 30 million uninsured Americans and many insured Americans. Mitt Romney is the guy who extracts money out of American companies, carves them up like a butcher and sends the profits off to his overseas accounts where that money sits and does nothing for America.

And you know what? Do we really want a guy who did that being put in charge of the American government? The government of America is not venture capital firm or a business. Its job is not to generate profit, its job is to take care of the American people, our society, our infrastructure, to protect the rights of citizens, to promote the general welfare (not promote the welfare of the elite wealthy). A dystopic novel written about Romney as president would see him offshoring Americans to other countries to work in places without employee protections or minimum wages. He would probably sell off governmental departments to the highest bidder. He could do all that because it wouldn’t affect him in the slightest. He would still be fabulously wealthy and not have a single worry about bills to pay, about whether or not a doctor can see him about his health concerns.  He has no concept of everyday life in America, he doesn’t know it and he doesn’t care about it. All he’s cared about is pandering enough to a nearly insane Republican base that only loves themselves and consider well over half the country to not be American enough.
Rant over. I suppose it’s shit like this that weighs heavily on my mood these days. There’s lots of personal stuff too, but the political landscape of America is bizarre and frightening. The Republican party has spent 40 years courting the crazy bloc, and the crazy bloc is taking over. It’s hard to sleep at night knowing that they might have some chance of winning in November.

Rather far

August 2, 2012 Leave a comment

My mood is variable lately.

I’ve been pondering the idea of emptiness. Complete emptiness could be comfortable maybe. An idea of absolute nothingness. But that can never be. You end up with something around the emptiness.

The thing that’s awful is that I can’t empty my thoughts. They keep going on. And what’s weighing on me most is that I just don’t know how to talk about them with anyone. Everyone I know, they don’t know. and I don’t know how to begin to talk about them. And it’s frustrating me. And when I encounter any sort of disagreement, it gets more frustrating. It’s a sensation like my thoughts have veered into a territory where there is no agreement. Maybe I am going insane. I don’t know.

I know I’m agitated by how I have to rock side to side while I write this. It’s about the only comfort I’ve got. Rocking myself that way. It doesn’t do anything to shut up the voice in my head, but at least it’s a sort of rhythm, perhaps a reminder some of the rhythm I could sometimes find in words, when I could scribble out some half-decent lines that might pass for poetry, if looked upon with gentle eyes and murmured with forgiving lips.

But there is no gentility or forgiveness in this world. At best, there is a finish and nothing. At worst, there is bitterness or contempt.

This last week I took an old sink down to the garbage pickup. I almost cried, seeing a sink of 50 years old being put out to trash. That’s craziness, isn’t it? I can’t be right in the head with craziness like that. People that are right in the head throw out sinks when they’ve gotten too old and need to be replaced. People that are right in the head forget. Memory is madness. Or too much memory is.

I remember too much shit.