Walking. Not. And Ranting.

Where does one start?

Let’s start with 327 consecutive days. Like in a row. Formerly described as the morning walk @ daybreak to Cove Island Park.

It’s time to inject some integrity into this getting-long-in-the-tooth story. This morning walk has degenerated into a morning drive to the Park. There I am this morning, sitting in the car in front of the gate at the park, heater blowing, warming my feet — I can’t, I just can’t open the door and get out. So, rather than getting out, I leave and drive to the next site on DK’s Marvelous Adventure in search of the sunrise from a location where I can roll down the window and not get my sorry a** out of the car. Wow, DK. You’re so awesome.

Or we can commiserate over the free fall in weight gain, or better stated, the pile up of 8 lbs in 30 days. Root cause? If one would take inventory of the snacking between calls and meetings, you would say: “It’s just not possible.” And I’m here to tell you, if you put your mind to it, an addict can accomplish anything.

We’ve pivoted to Welch’s Mixed Fruit Snacks. The Honeycrisp apples sit on the wicker tray on the island in the kitchen. The plump, juicy, seedless red grapes rest in the bowl in the fridge. Next to the grapes, fresh cut cantaloupe in the tupperware dish. And the horse with its blinders can’t see any of it. With the heartbeat elevated, a few feet away from The Fix, a giant Costco size box of Fruit Snacks. I grab two handfuls and run back to my office to jump on another call. My hands trembling, saliva building up in anticipation… I rip open the package and drain its contents. Pause for a second. And then bite down to let the saliva-sugar-corn syrup puree coat my tongue, throat and then slide down to the tummy. Oh, the few seconds of relief…with the sugar fix in, the momentary silence… all intoxicating. I get after another package. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. You see where this is going.

Or we can chat about yesterday’s bi-annual physical with my G.P.

[Read more…]

Driving I-95 N. Free the Bird in the Net.

Cervical spondylosis, was his diagnosis. December 19th. And the start of 30 days of physical therapy.

And a maniacal routine of daily stretching exercises. And tracking the activity on an IOS App. Because that’s how Obsessive’s roll.

The slow heal arrives. Then Relief.  And the bliss of pain-free days. Ah yes, Youth returns. A few days of lolling in Full Gratitude…I’m as Good as new!

This is followed by the suspension of physical therapy. The total cessation of daily stretching supplements. And the IOS App is dumped into a folder with other apps left to Die.

Then we have a slow roll back to habits, to Life, to Work, and The Return to Sedentary World.

It’s late yesterday afternoon. The commute home. I gently turn my neck to check for traffic in my blind spot, and find its motion restricted, followed by a lightning dart down the shoulder and down the arm. It’s back. Heaviness sets in – Mood darkens.

I return my attention to traffic, and sit frozen in place. Puffs of breath working to provide relief.

And, I replay The Week Day. [Read more…]

Running to 2018. (Not.) Grounded.

It’s the morning weigh-in, the same weigh-in that takes place every morning during the prior 365 days, but there are differences. Major similarities and major differences. A few notables.

It’s New Year’s Day.

It’s early morning, and I’m in the bathroom.

For the pre-weigh-in ritual, I prepare. I sit on the toilet and drain every ounce of excess weight. Every ounce counts.  And then, I strip the body of all clothing. Socks. Undershirt. Undershorts. And, Smartwatch. Yes, I sleep with to measure sleep time, even though measuring the inverse, insomnia, would be a more useful and interesting data point for researchers.

While I’m sitting pondering life on the toilet, I admire the new scale sitting on the floor in front of me. A Xmas gift from the Kids. An electronic scale from Nokia, the “Body Cardio.” It has a smooth, gunmetal finish, and was manufactured by some craftsman (craftswoman?) in Espoo, Finland. You step on the scale and its gremlins beam your weight, heart rate, fat mass, muscle mass, water and bone mass, directly to your Health Mate smartphone app. A miracle, really, all of it.

I reach for the counter to raise myself ever so gently from the toilet, trying to avoid ripping the sutures. The eyes skitter frantically trying to avoid the midsection. But as hard as they try, they can’t: Unavoidable. From the waist down to the upper thigh, the skin is discolored, a dark, deep purple – Skin’s way of saying: “Listen Pal, while you were resting peacefully under anesthesia for this ‘routine’ surgery, I was getting chopped up.” And if that wasn’t enough, there was swelling, significant swelling around the incision and freakish skin discoloration of all of Man’s reproductive organs. And this swelling is not that which you find part of the normal, reproductive process. Routine surgery? Will this all work again? A nightmare, really.

The heat is turned down overnight, I’m standing on cold floor tile, I shiver. Can’t bear to look.

I look back up.  I take a deep breath, and deliberately take one step and then the other to stand on the cool metal scale. The eyes are panicked, doing everything possible to bypass the midsection carnage and focus on the digital readout.

The scale recognizes the weight, which triggers a digital read-out: “Happy New Year David.” The ‘Happy New Year’ is wrapped in beautiful white fireworks. Nice touch. I hope the Happy part commences soon. The scale mechanically proceeds through its sequence of weight (including day over day up/down change), my heart rate, BMI, muscle mass, water and bone mass. Then it offers up the previous day’s step count. And, shares today’s weather, the high and low temperature.  Miracle, all of it.

So, we can stop here. Breath deeply and say, ok, life goes on.

But there’s more. A wee bit more to this story. [Read more…]

For the deepest moments in life—for love, for prayer—we close our eyes. I wanted to see that way

howard_axelrod

(Two years in the woods.) I brought no computer, no television, no cellphone. There was a land line, which rang maybe twice a month, so a wrong number was an event…

Five years earlier, during my junior year at Harvard, a freak accident had blinded me in my right eye. During a pick-up game of basketball, as we scuffled for a rebound, a boy’s finger hooked behind my eyeball and severed its attachment to my optic nerve, the cable that connects the eye to the brain. The pain was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. There was nothing the doctors could do. The loss of vision to my right eye was permanent. With vision in only one eye, there’s no stereopsis, no depth perception. And without depth perception, the world looked simultaneously flat and permeable, like I’d crossed the threshold into a fantasy land, where nothing was solid, including my sense of myself…

To compound my disorientation, after the blood dissipated, my eye looked as it always had. The gap between how I presented myself and how people saw me widened into a gulf. And the track I’d been on, which headed toward law school, and the old track of my thinking, which often allowed the comfort of achievement to substitute for meaning, and which had kept me from entering into the passing landscape to forge my own values, became impossible to live by… [Read more…]

A Slow Walk. Back.

back-light-pain-hurt

Monday

Bliss.
All systems go.
Light gushes in and warms.

The day was crisp and bright, the atmosphere quivering with life.”

Tuesday

Morning shower – a slow bend to soap.
A twinge in the lower left back.
A punch in the stomach. A kick in the…
Hands stretch to reach for the wall.
Cannot straighten. Will not straighten.

“Ash, bits of bone, a handful of sand”

Wednesday

Shifting and shifting and shifting on train seat.
I stand and let the up escalator work – can’t take the jarring from the stairs.
I ease up and down from curbs as I cross-town.
I shift my briefcase from left to right to left hand to transfer weight.
A slow walk, yet breathless. Sweat beads on my forehead.
A low throbbing migraine. Knee bone connected to…
Rain falls, a light mist, cooling.

“We are wooed, then mocked, plagued like Amfortas, King of the Grail Knights, by a wound refusing to heal.” [Read more…]

No more tears. Here’s to good outcomes.

tear-drop

It’s a ritual before bedtime.
Nightly.
Now running for 14 months.

I stand in front of the bathroom mirror.
Take a deep breath.
Raise my left hand to pull down the lower left lid,
Raise my right hand to apply a thin stream of the prophylactic.
And if I had a third hand (and was a Believer),
I would make the sign of the cross, look to the heavens, and whisper:
Work your magic. Please.

Sodium Chloride Ophthalmic Ointment.
Generic Brand.
40% cheaper than the Name brand.
Found and bought on Amazon.
Produced in Lake Forest, Illinois by some unknown bucket shop.
You are one strange dude. You don’t think twice about the risk of a no-name eyeball lube bought on the web but refuse to buy generic Raisin Bran cereal at your local Stop ‘n Shop.

Apply every 3 to 4 hours, or as directed by Doctor.
Ophthalmologist’s instructions were nightly. And nightly it is.
For temporary relief of corneal edema.
edema: the collection of excess of watery fluid.

But that’s not the real pain point.
Which is… [Read more…]

Just Livin’

ballet-foot-black and white

NS: Name?
DK: David K-A-N-I-G-A-N. No middle initial. (Here we go again.)
NS: Height?
DK: 6’1″.
NS: Weight?
DK: (Pause)
NS: (Smiling) We can weigh you when we get inside.
DK: Today or this month’s average?
NS: Today.
DK: 208. (She doesn’t know that you’re up 10. Why avert your eyes you coward?)
NS: Name of GP?
DK: (Pause) Don’t have one.
NS: Don’t have a GP?
DK: It’s been a while.
NS: Date of last physical?
DK: (Pause) Don’t remember. (She steals a glance at my ID. Checking DOB.)
NS: Blood type?
DK: No idea.
NS: (Staring eye-ball-to-eyeball now)
[Read more…]

Runner. Grounded.

back-pain

6am Thursday:
12” snowfall overnight. DK working from home.

SK: Are you going to shovel the driveway?
DK: No.
SK: No?
DK: No.
SK: (Eye roll) You’re going to let me do it? Again?
DK: I’ll do it this afternoon after I finish my calls.
SK: No you won’t.
DK: Are you going to keep riding me on this all day?

6am Friday.
3” of additional snowfall overnight.

SK: Are you going to shovel the driveway?
DK: No.
SK: No?
DK: No. Not before work. I’m not showering again.
DK: Just leave it until I return tonight. It will warm up and melt.
SK: Really? You’re kidding right? (She heads outside to shovel.)
DK: I told you to leave it. (She has this Thing about a clean driveway)
SK: How do you plan to get out?
DK: Get out of the way. I’m going to ram through the piles with the car.

2pm Sunday.
DK ventures outside to clear the back steps. SK opens the door.

SK: Why don’t you use the steel edger/chopper to break the ice?
DK: Oh come on. Really? I’ve shoveled show before. Get inside.
SK: OK have it your way.

(Mumbling. Girl telling Canadian how to shovel snow. What’s next?)
I get after it.
I bend the show shovel trying to break the ice.
I lean on it to try bend it back.
I look through the back door to see if she’s watching.
Coast is clear.
I stomp through the snow to get to the garage to get the steel chopper.
I start slamming the ice.
On the third swing, I hit concrete.
Cold, vibrating steel.
Shooting, stabbing pain in my lower back.
Air whooshes out of my lungs.
I fall to my knees. (Dear God help me.)

SK: What’s wrong?
DK: My back.
SK: You’re joking, right?
DK: Does it look like a joke? (I crawl upstairs to bed.)
SK: (Laughing) Do you see any irony here?
DK: No. I don’t actually. None.
DK: I do see you getting enormous pleasure seeing me keeled over in pain.
SK: Oh, come on. Big Man clears 2-steps. I shovel massive piles of snow. (Still laughing)
DK: Stay away from me. Way back.

Snow forecast 3″-5” tonight.


Image Credit

Damn well need to see

blue eye

One year ago, almost to the day, my post was titled “I Need to Read.”

Six months ago, my post was titled “See.”

The immediate thought was that the cycle was shortening, and the pain was increasing. (What happens at three months? Could this be the reason for the frequency of your posts increasing? Shudder.)

But, we’re not going there.

Rachel (daughter) prodded me to share my story about my visit to the ophthalmologist on Monday.  Love my girl.  She loves to see her big, tough Daddy in vulnerable positions. (Her Dad, meanwhile, wonders what possesses him to reveal “these” stories on social media.) [Read more…]

Three Drops*

dry eyes, eyes,

Three drops.*
Fall asleep wondering if this is the solve. (Please.)
Amygdala firing up on ailment. (See.)
Doc said there may be issues later in life because of trauma. (Has it arrived?)
One month of angst. (Eradicated. With three drops.)
One could ask why did you wait so long. (Or, one could avoid asking.)
And one wouldn’t have a good answer.


* Disclosure:  Turn your eyelids inside out? Heresy.  Wear contacts? Nothing touches my eyes.  LASIK surgery to correct nearsightedness?  Don’t come near me with your surgery solution.  Apply your own eyedrops?  Can’t do it.  Keep eye open so drops can be applied for you?  Impossible.  Squeal like a baby when drop splashes on eye?  Absolutely.


Image Source: LetsBeConnor

See

eye blinking gif

Start your day with anxiety. First thing. Every morning for last month. Sharp pain for 75 seconds.  Then poof. Gone.  Until the next morning.  I google it.  Up pops Just Answer. Eye with a customer question describing the identical experience:

I wake up every morning with a sharp pain in what I believe is my optic nerve. The pain is so bad that it sometimes makes my eye water when I try to open it wide. It is also painful to press on my eye when closed.  The pain is always in my left eye and there are some days that I wake up without pain. My eye does not seem to be more red or bloodshot than normal. The pain does subside as the day goes on and I haven’t experienced any vision problems.

I quickly close my eye and pain subsides. Water fills the vacuum.  (The human body is.  All on its own. Repairing.  Soothing. A miracle.)

I open and close several times. Blinking.   (The body is a miracle.  The mind, my mind, on the other hand, can be a torture chamber.  I need to see.  I need to read. Heart begins to race. Relax pal.  Just Answer Doc said it’s just dry eyes.  Yes, that was the first line.  And the rest? What about the rest?  This will right itself by itself.)

What if?

Mind quickly shifts gears to Sunday’s paper.

You are four years old.  You run to answer the door bell.  Life from that moment on changes. For you.  For your family. Forever.

Josh Miel, you define courage.  You define perseverance.  You are an inspiration.

(On the other hand, you pal, have dry eyes.)

[Read more…]

Running. And Chafing.

weight loss, diet, exercise, health, eat, craving, running, run, walk, walking, chart

It all started at around 8pm last night.  Susan asked: “Do you really need that?“…this in response to my complaining earlier in the day about hitting new record highs for weight gain. And after my 4th trip to the fridge since dinner time.  The “that” was a peanut butter (Jiffy Creamy) and blueberry jelly sandwich.  Yes, I needed it. Badly.  And I didn’t need someone, anyone, scolding me. (Am I a child?) I continued lapping the peanut butter on the bread – jabbing the knife into the jar – spreading on a few extra layers.  I don’t lift my head.  She continues on from the other side of the room.  “You know, you should read this book on life style changes in what you eat.  You can lose weight by just eating healthier.  You are not getting enough proteins.  This is causing you to crave potato chips, sugars and salty foods.”  Blueberry jam dribbles out of the corner of my mouth.  I look up.  Fat man’s blood pressure building…readying himself for counterpunching.  I glance up and glare.  She continues: “You know that I’m just trying to help.”  I take the last remaining bite and jam dribbles down my shirt…well doesn’t that about capture it.  Enough!  My turn…trade a boulder for a pebble.  “I don’t need to read a bloody book to tell me that I eat junk and too much of it.  And I certainly don’t need you haranguing me about it.”  Now, if I had just stopped there.  Trade the ocean for a drop of water.  “So tell me.  If this book is so good.  How’s it working out for you?”  Nearing 30 years of marriage you know exactly where the nerve endings are and where to jab.  Yep, direct hit.  Then regret washes over me.  But not enough to apologize.  She knows I didn’t really mean it.  Right. [Read more…]

Still Standing.

The Cove, Stamford, CT

The stone walkway may be 2.5 feet at its narrowest point.  The shore line is 7-8 feet down from the walkway.  It’s narrow, it is a ways down and I’m always wary.  I must have been daydreaming.  Or better stated, distracted by day-work-worrying.

I’m on my morning run.

My right forearm slams into the end of the steel I-beam guard rail.  Here it comes. A car crash in slow motion.  A Bruce Lee flick.  With much less grace.  The I-beam doesn’t move.  But it moves me.  It spins me around.  Full Stop. Drop.  Roll.  Air explodes out of my chest.  I’m gasping for air.  More stunned than hurt.  I’m down flat on my back for a few seconds, grateful that I didn’t plunge into the mud and frigid waters in the bay.  I look around to see if anyone caught the show.  No one is yelling “Man Down.  Man Down.”  We’re clear.  Pride intact. [Read more…]

I need to read…

eye blinking - human - cat

It happened in a blink of an eye.  More than 25 years ago.  My collegiate hockey career, for what it was, was long behind me.  This was a pick-up game.  A lazy Saturday afternoon.  I should have been watching the Michigan Wolverines on the tube.  Yet, if you know a hockey player, you can’t take the game out of the player. (If one could only roll the tape back and bend the story a wee bit.)

It begins and ends with coolness – Real Men don’t wear face masks. Right.

I could hear the defender chasing me from behind – his skate blades cutting the ice. (Swoosh right.  Swoosh left. Swoosh right.  Swoosh left.  All moving in slow motion now.)  He was closing in.

I went down.  Fellow player, Doc Lovell, bent over and  said “Lay still Dave.”  I shouted back: “WIPE THE SWEAT FROM MY EYES, DOC.”

[Read more…]

Running…Away.

5:35am: I’m up and out the door. The rest of the gang is sound asleep   (Day 3 of vacation. Day 1 of running after a week sabbatical.  I needed to rest the jet. Have to say the condition of my knee spooked me.  30 years ago, I could fall from pine trees, slip head long on slimy river rocks fishing with cousins, get chopped on ankle by a nasty Trail Smoke Eater – – and spring back like a slinky.  No more.  Dark thoughts encroach – – will I heal or will this knee-thing be biting me the rest of the ride?)

5:40am: I find the sign for the Mountain Trail.  (There are 3 trails.  Walking. Intermediate. Mountain.  I’m a Man, right?  Mountain it is.  ‘Throw caution to the wind.’  Knee be damned.) [Read more…]

Running. With a bad jet.

Homer Simpson6:15am.  77°F and 89% relative humidity.  I walk out the door and air is thick and soupy. (Hmmmm.  Maybe this sauna will accelerate the decomposition of the Oreo cookie intake yesterday. Count: 16. Yep.  Strapped on the feedbag and ravenously wolfed ‘em down. But lets be balanced here. This was spread over lunch and dinner – not so bad when looking at it this way – a modest amount actually.  I don’t think this even adds up to a full row.)

0.5 miles: I feel a pinch in my right knee.  The pinch advances to bite.  I grimace. (D*mn weekend warrior. I slow the pace but don’t stop.  “Run through it.” I recall the 2007 NY Times article – ‘We want you to keep moving…injured tissue heals quicker if it’s under stress…moderate exercise aids the healing.’ 5 year old article and its stuck with me.)

1 mile: It’s not going away. Limp-running now.  Slow pace further. (So, where’s the d*mn moderate exercise will heal part.  Healing can show up anytime now. I’m almost walking know.  Sweat is raining down…and tastes a bit creamy. (Oreos?)  You would think this humidity would be lubing my knee. Odd, my right shoulder is stiff now.  Oh, yea.  Re-started my push-up routine yesterday.  Man, my entire carriage is coming apart!  Another 1/2 mile and we’ll need to call 911.  As long as I don’t keel over into all of this Goose dung and avoid rolling into the cove…I should be ok.)

[Read more…]

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