Monday, November 3, 2014

The Limbs They Are A Changin'

It's getting awkward.  It remains painful.  It even appears oafish.

But I'm making progress.  I know it.

*     *     *     *     *

Two nights ago, a miracle.

I slept on my side, the same side, without needing to flip over, for almost half the night.

And no, I was not passed out drunk or otherwise impaired.

The difference was my shoulder.  It was in place.  It was a solid mass which I laid upon.

As so many times before, I did not know just how bad things were until a change took place.  All this time, all these years, I would dislocate my shoulder laying down on my side, letting it be pulled from my torso, at least partially.  It was the most comfort I could find, though the pain would progress over time and I would flip over to the other side every 15 minutes to an hour.

I was only able to duplicate the solid shoulder for spurts last night, but it was still noticeable.

*     *     *     *     *

Now, problems remain, as the rest of my torso has yet to learn how to align with such a position.

More so, my chest is in some real discomfort of late.  Muscles continue to work their way up, and at times I achieve adjustments with my chest seemingly swallowing my lungs.

*     *     *     *     *

There has been much progress and change in my hips as well.

Hard to explain, but an issue in my right hip can definitely be traced and followed all the way to my right shoulder and the neck/jaw kink.

In short, I'm a mess, but I am getting excited over potential improvements.

*     *     *     *     *

Of course, it got cold on me, however.  I really hate the cold.  I'd feel so much more optimistic with warm forecasts ahead.

This is not up to me, however, and I am on the verge, of believing, of really believing, 100%, that I am going to become.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

UnComfortably Numb

I went back to the dentist yesterday to get work done on the bottom teeth, several, one tooth on the left side, and four on the right.

Again, the Novocaine shot took effect quicker than I had ever experienced.  The shot on the left side for one tooth, was very quick.  The one on the right, done way in the back of the mouth meant to knock out the entire right bottom side, took longer.

I must regress

*     *     *     *     *

One aspect of the last trip to the dentist I don't think I went into, at least not in detail, was the post trip numbness.

My cheek, talking the skin around the cheek bone, not just the flabby stuff around the mouth, had been numb enough such that I could relax my face while meditating to a degree not before attained.  Not that I could tell what was happening on the right cheek, but the lack of muscle use aided relaxing the muscles that I could feel on the left.

The result was some most excellent jaw adjustments, though in truth I cannot recall any specifics regarding them, only that the slight jaw changes allowed neck and subsequent shoulder changes.

*     *     *     *     *

So, this past dental visit over at 10:50 and the pool's lap swim beginning at 11:30 and both my jaw and lower lip quite numb, I thought I'd take advantage and see what I could accomplish in the pool.

Of note, the biggest area of numbness was the right jaw, which even had left some of the upper neck a bit slack, muscles not under my control and very relaxed with the absence of stimuli.  This is also very close to at least part of the area I believe was injured in that fateful sled mishap of my youth, when Dad yanked my right arm out of socket while I had my stomach tucked seemingly into my lungs and my neck stretched to the breaking point.

This was not lost on me, and I meant to see what, if any, adjustments could be made in the right shoulder, neck and jaw.

*     *     *     *     *

I will not know the extent of my success for some time, I believe.  The jaw is sore as hell.

Yet, there was a great deal of shifting.  I felt something, a set of muscle perhaps, get from behind the shoulder to above the collar bone, and it felt new.

I felt my face slide slightly to the left after freeing some portion of the right.

Most importantly, in terms of tangible, non-subjective change (at least which I can eyeball from a mirror), the shoulder change mentioned above let my stomach fall a great deal.  I can almost create a pot belly when relaxed.  I can even sit with the belly hanging out!

*     *     *     *     *

This may be nothing to most, but I have never been able to do so, not without much force.  My resting position had my lungs tilted up and my midsection pulled up my torso with it.  I suspect it had been (still is somewhat) linked to the shoulder and neck being pulled up (thanks again, Dad).

So, at this time, my chest is smaller, a product of the lungs not tilted with organ pulled up under them.  My waist is smaller, my hips continuing to approach a better position, with a more forward tilt which turns both legs slightly inward.  All the while, still losing weight, my gut is getting huge.

I must embrace it, though it's not easy when the mirror reaction is, "Oh c'mon!"

*     *     *     *     *

There is more, but I am tired.  I spent an excruciating amount of time watching my beloved San Francisco Giants lose Game 6 of the World Series, badly, 10-0.  Though I must admit it stung nothing like when Dusty Baker blew Game 6 against the Angels, but still . . .

I'm gonna go take a nap, then swim, then prepare for Game 7.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's Filling

Two nights ago, I busted a filling, and some tooth, while eating a Skittle.

This morning, I had the dental appointment to fix the molar.

*     *     *     *     *

Now, there are a number of leaps I am going to take soon.  Just realize it is because, (a) I'm very happy to find something to be optimistic about, (b) it would confirm earlier hopes, and (c) I'm going with my thoughts from the remainder of my dental visit, without much time to digest things fully.

But that doesn't mean I am not correct!

*     *     *     *     *

Moments after getting a shot of Novocaine above the right molars, I could feel it taking effect.  Rather, I could notice losing sensation along the upper gum line, from where I got the shot towards the front of the mouth.

Exciting stuff, eh?

Well, it was to me.  I asked the dental assistant for a pen and paper to jot down notes, like
"I felt the Novocaine take effect very quickly after the shot, much quicker and more noticeable than ever."
*     *     *     *     *

Of note, Novocaine never came on the quickly or powerfully for me before.  A memory issue?  Perhaps.

However, it is also a characteristic of individuals suffering from Ehlers-Danlos, like the difficulty swallowing.

See where I am going?

*     *     *     *     *

I have been making great progress building muscle and changing my neck, throat, and jaw this past month.  My bite is looser than ever, all over the place (I've bitten my lip and/or the inside of my cheek more than enough to know this).

It could well be the first time my adjustments have actually lessened a symptom of my condition.

Now, this does not answer the Ehlers-Danlos v. Symptoms of Ehler-Danlos question.  But it certainly does imply (nothing more, sadly) that my postural changes may be a real factor in this symptom.

It could be for others, and it remains very possible I only possess the symptoms via injury.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ill Communication

I'm having some significant discomfort, the right shoulder and right hip somehow both buckled, and I am unable to free one without the other, neither ready to move the amount needed.

It hurts, but an amount I can handle.  The problem is that the sharp, unhandleable pains come the moment I take my mind off keeping them in a certain position in relation to each other.  If I allow one to move as muscle memory wants, the other screams, loudly.

Basically, I can do little tasks, like type a sentence, with focus, but I do not have much intellectual processing capabilities regarding thought.

So, here is the scene from an hour ago (make that 1.5 hours as this took a long time to type):

*     *     *     *      *

I'm standing in the sun and high winds outside trying to find a way to unfold myself, when the wife comes out to ask if I can watch the kid while she goes out for a massage.

"Yes," I tell her, but then I wanted to explain more.  I wanted to let her know the above section, that I am clear headed mentally (not blinded by pain as is sometimes the case) and can do all the little tasks which supervising a seven year old can entail.

But I couldn't form the thoughts to then speak them, not without needing to refocus on the body to avoid the sharp pains.

She stood waiting for me to continue.

After a minute of false starts, my thoughts reached the point of realizing that I was not so capable of communicating, but could still watch the kid.  So, I raised a finger and said, "let me try to explain one thing," as we entered the house.

Then I was stuck again.

As she waited.

And waited.

At which point I busted out laughing.

"THIS!"  I motioned all around.  "I can do stuff.  I just can't communicate well."

*     *     *     *     *

I have no idea if she understands what I meant.  She's out getting a massage.  The kid is napping.

I am now left wondering if she, too, saw the humor in me trying to articulate that I was having trouble articulating anything.  I found the moment funny.

She likely just wanted to get going and get a massage.  Lord only knows what she thinks of me at this point.

Anyways, this was a snapshot of a moment, comically similar to many of my struggles with expressing myself.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Flappin' Them Wings And Makin' Waves!

A quick update on some serious progress, the butterfly stroke is paying real dividends.

Yesterday I totalled 500m of Butterfly (most just 25m with shoulder tweaking afterwards).

Today, I have no idea.  I was in a meditative zone with very little care for distances.  Had to be over 300m worth.

It is most definitely helping the muscle movement and building in my upper back.  Painful things do happen, afterwards, but so do some very good adjustments.

*     *     *     *     *

The coolest thing to happen with the butterfly happened a handful of times with my kick.  I'm guessing I finally did a few correctly.

As the hands enter the water in front of me, a wave of energy, begun by the arm stroke, goes down both sides of my back, into the legs and spike into a kick.  SMOOTH.  The two waves which travel down my back feel somewhat like a leaf closing in two curling waves.

Not just smooth, it's sleek, as in my swim suit drops an inch further down my hips then ever.

I was exhausted by the swim's end, but I can't wait to get back in the water.

If only this were the start of summer and not the end.  I am, no doubt, likely going to over do it a bit trying to accomplish all I can before the weather turns.

Monday, September 29, 2014


I'm feeling horrible.

I swam today after 3 days off because the weather got cold (and the swim before that was cut short by a fire alarm).  It was a grueling 1:45 in the pool, today.

I have been losing any semblance of composure in comment section conversations.  I think I am mostly in the right in these arguments, but the odds are I am a brittle mess creating the drama myself.  Why?  Cause I'm me and everyone else is an idiot, which can't be true all the time.

*     *     *     *     *

This post, however, is to document a funny.

Funny to me, anyways.

It should be plain that The Scream of the Butterfly is my attempt at being clever, using Jim Morrison's lyric to stand for the madness induced rantings of an individual (me) enduring a metamorphosis.

Not terribly clever, I admit, but it could be getting clever(er?).

Though I am miserable and exhausted, the progress in my upper back, building muscles which are aiding in significant adjustments, which I shall try to express somewhat below, have been the result of swimming, wait for it Barney Stinson style, . . . the Butterfly stroke.

Ah, my own literary double meaning.  How I love them.  It's why I am so engulfed by GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire series.  Should this rambling mad man ever get well, and then write the memoir of this clusterfuck of an experience, such a literary turn will no doubt aid the structure of my prose.

*     *     *     *     *

A work of fiction would be hard pressed to match the literary turns of my life.

*     *     *     *     *

An attempt at describing the latest adjustments:

- the right lung deflates, but must rise, allowing an unfolding behind my right shoulder.
- the left lung inflates and does the opposite, seemingly pulling the left breast up and over the shoulder by the neck.
- all the while, the hips must tilt and twist as well, allowing a segment of hip to extend to my right side and up into the ribs, where I hope it shall eventually find connection on up to the muscles building by the Butterfly stroke.

Okay.  I'm tired and sore and lonely and angry and sad and am wallowing in a pity party over my painful existence.

On the bright side, a short heat wave is expected over the course of the next week, so I'll have a break from the pity party and my dread of the coming winter. 

I may even get some more progress before I see my Rheumatologist later this week.  Could it finally be the week my doctor thinks outside the box,  and thereby witnesses and understands what I am going through and how to help?!?!?!?!  (yeah, don't bet on that repetitious day dream)

*     *     *     *     *

And doesn't it figure, the House Stark words from my favorite novels, "Winter Is Coming" is as ominous in my own life as it is for the poor Northerners of Westeros.  I really don't want to go through another winter, not after this difficult of a summer.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


the pains continue

to rip and fold and slide all

over my body

*     *     *     *     *

A surreal one happened last night.

The first sensation was like the rounded end of a metal pen sliding across the bottom of my ribs.  I looked down into the water of the hot tub to see if a branch or something had fallen in the water.  Nothing was there but my side.

Then, the whole segment which had felt as if it had been touched felt more like a copper wire was against the entire segment, about 7-8 inches along the bottom of my right rib cage.

Then, in felt like it was digging into my skin, similar to a cramp one gets while running.  Although, I don't know that what I felt as a cramp was the same as others, so maybe stick with the feeling of the wire digging into me, as if I was cheese being cut.

Then, a folding sensation, and it was done.

I'm getting really tired of this.

*     *     *     *     *

And Fall is here.  We had rain today.  It'll be too cold for me to swim for at least a few days.

The dread of another winter has yet to set upon me.  We still have a few warm weeks, more likely than not, before mother nature starts fucking with me.

I feel foolish, hoping I can find my center before then and get all the parts in their right place.  The odds can't be good.

*     *     *     *     *

Last, I had a near miss on the road today.  The one day this month I get in the car and I have a close call.  Go figure.

The light for my left turn switched to green and I started going.  My car was almost all the way into the intersection when I noticed something in the corner of my eye and hit the brakes, when an SUV of some type runs the red and blazes in front of my car by about 8 feet.

Not that close, but it unnerved me.

The next intersection, less than 100 yards away, was clogged with traffic, and I caught up with the SUV there.

I pulled along side it to find out who this asshole was, only to see an attractive mid 20s woman, her face and attention buried into her smartphone.  "Are you fucking kidding me?" I said.

I've been rattled still all day long.  It is amazing how easy it is to die on our roads with these kind of idiots using them too.

I have been through way too much shit, too much pain, and too much physical rehabilitation to end up road kill because of some stupid piece of shit staring at a phone instead of the road.

I know it happens daily, but this was the first time I saw someone do it.

And had I been just a few seconds later, approaching that intersection when the light changed instead of having been at a stop  (which happens pretty often, even for me, a guy that doesn't drive much), I have no doubt that SUV would have demolished my car.

*     *     *     *     *

I hate stupidity.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Relative Question

I have already proposed in an earlier post my thoughts on Light being "Dark Matter."  I just think our scientists have their numbers wrong and it is a possible solution.  The following is a question I would love to have answered, however, regardless.

*     *     *     *     *

An imaginary star system, ISS, is 500 light years away from us.

On a certain day, X, two identical robots are built, Robot A and Robot B, robots capable of existing millions and millions of eons.

Less than a minute after creation, Robot A travels just under the speed of light to earth.  Now, the light from the imaginary star system, ISS, will reach earth 500 years after the moment Robot A begins his journey.  Robot A arrives 500 years and one day after his departure, and is therefore 500 years and one day old.

How old is Robot B when Robot A arrives on earth?

*     *     *     *     *

There was a time I think I could have answered this relativity question.  I do not believe it is terribly difficult if you know the right equations.  Yet, this is not my real question.

I know Robot A will be travelling into the distant future as it speeds towards earth, as compared to Robot B back in ISS, and therefore, Robot B will be much older than Robot A.

My real question:  why do we believe the light travelling to earth from ISS, at a speed slightly faster than Robot A is not time travelling?

*     *     *     *     *

Why is this important?  I do not believe this relativity is taken into account with regards to our Universal calculations.  It is my impression that scientists currently just compute with regards to the light source (here ISS) having aged the same 500 years as the light which we see.

Consider.  If Robot B (and again, I have no idea with regards to the ballpark figure so I'll go high and low with examples) is 20,000 years old when Robot A reaches earth, ISS, too, has aged 20,000 years.  How much has the system changed or moved as compared to a computation which relies on ISS having only aged 500 years?  What if Robot B has ages 2,000,000,000 years?

*     *     *     *     *

Now consider a second system, SS2, half way between ISS and earth (though just askew by our view) which Robot A passes 250 years and 12 hours into his journey.  When Robot A reaches earth, the light from this second system has travelled 250 years, but has not the system aged nearly half of that which Robot B has aged?

If ISS is 2 million years removed from where we think it is, and SS2 is 1 million years different, how off can any calculations attempting to judge their mass or velocity be compared to calculations thinking only 250 and 500 years have passed?

This would mean that none of the stars we view are anywhere near where we think they are relative to each other.  Wouldn't this drastically alter current calculations?

*     *     *     *     *

Now, someone once tried to tell me light doesn't time travel.  I didn't understand his answer.  I still don't get how it is possible.  Wouldn't it mean ISS only ages drastically if something other than light travels away from it? 

But moreover, how the hell can we know if light does not time travel?

*     *     *     *     *

If someone with the knowledge happens to read this, do let me know why I am wrong.  It just doesn't make sense to me that Robot A and the extra day it takes him to travel to earth would make a difference.

And if I happened to ask a question that changes the way you physics folk compute the Universe, hurry up with my Nobel so I have something to leave my kid.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sad and Spent but Still Seeking . . . Something

Thing have been, very difficult, this summer.  Subjectively, I believe, very much so, that I have made tremendous progress.

The have been So Much change, not only to limb positions and the muscles upon them, but also in my torso, organs shifting in my abdomen altering my lung capacity and rib position.

Pain has been constant and significant, but always shifting.  Sometimes, it's a diffuse discomfort.  Others, it is sharp and exquisite, as when a segment of muscle moves to a new position, ripping across ribs, or when my leg suddenly has slack after a hip alteration such that my knee dislocates as thigh and calf muscles slide and shift to make up the difference.

I am spent.

*     *     *     *     *

And yet, I see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I do not know if it is The Light of The Path,

Or a semi-truck with one headlight out barrelling towards me as I stand, eyes closed, about to become road kill.

Either way, in my current state of exhaustion, it would be salvation.

*     *     *     *     *

I believe I have been wrong about something, all this time.  More off the mark, than wrong, but still . . .

I have long characterized myself as "all Yin, no Yang" to express how one sided I am.  This was a subjective illusion, I have now come to believe.

It is very difficult to express, and the Yin-Yang concept still fits locally, per several muscle groups, but not in terms of their connections.  This, too, suggests why my unfolding has been so difficult.

I believe the injury of my youth pulled muscle systems into the creases, past the creases of limb joints.  Imagine a quadricep, still partially atop the thigh, but also stretching into and to the side of the hip, where ligament should be.  The result, over the course of my life, was to develop a walk which predominantly uses the wrong muscle groups at the wrong time. 

To lift my leg, I mainly flex the portion of quad in my hip.  This is rampant throughout.  Everything I do is wrong, backwards.  Or was, and so returns when I let down my concentration.

*     *     *     *     *

Dammit!  I had two topics in my head before wrapping up (the above and one more) and forgot the second while writing about my backwardsness.  Perhaps I should have gone second idea first, and my backwards nature would have let me recall them both.

Another day, perhaps.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

M(R)I Tinnitus

Okay, weak title, but I wanted something better than What Happened During My MRI To Investigate My Tinnitus.  See, M(R)I > MI > My Tinnitus.  Ain't I clever?  Don't answer that.

*     *     *     *     *

So I had my MRI yesterday.  They did a close check around the left ear because I've been hearing my pulse in that ear for a very long time now (a Tinnitus), and they also did the every decade check for aneurysms, my third one now, which the smart guys at Stanfurd said I should do since they went tinkering in my fathers brain so many years ago.

*     *     *     *     *

Results we good.  Kinda.

No aneurysm issues.  Woohoo!

No evidence regarding the source of my Tinnitus, which is comforting in that there will be not cutting into my head, but also disconcerting as the pulse I hear is kinda driving batshit crazy sometimes.

*     *     *     *     *

Among the results,

"Paranasal Sinuses and Oto-mastoids: Small mucous tension cysts
of nodular mucosal thickening in the right sphenoid sinus."

This I have no idea what it means (not like I get what's next, either, of course), but since it may be relevent to being out of balance, I'm noting it, and

"AICA vascular loops appear to contact the seventh and eighth
nerve complexes near the ostium of the IACs, the contact surface
appears greater on the right compared to the left. This is of
unknown clinical significance. Recommend clinical correlation. "

Again, no idea, and unless the contact area is inversely proportional to a sound transfer, which I doubt, this doesn't seem to be related to my LEFT ear hearing my pulse.  Again, though, may be related to the out of balance aspect of things.

But here is the fun . . . The MRI itself.

*     *     *     *     *

I was not looking forward to this.  My hypermobility was going to make it difficult, and I knew it going in.

I can't stay still.  It hurts.  If I relax, my limbs slowly let gravity sublux them, partially taking them out of their sockets.

So, the idea of staying still for 40-60 minutes was almost laughable.  I figured if I got lucky and found the right position, I'd be able to use all my meditation techniques and get through it, possibly even without needing to stop and redo anything.

*     *     *     *     *

When I first sat on the table, I announced, "This isn't going to work."

The portion you lay upon was thin, thinner than the width of my chest.  Both shoulder were over the edge, and were difficult to keep in place with full concentration.

The nurse said, "We can put pillows under both of your arms."  This I thought could work, so we got started.

So I was slide into the MRI.  Right off, I realized the machine itself, like a jigsaw puzzle, has a level equal to the sliding table, and as such I could rest my arms upon it, at least with a chance of success.

The pillow strategy abandoned (and it would have been the opposite (too high and too much pressure, anyways), the MRI started.

Not 3 minutes into it, the sliding portion of the table slid slightly, just enough to adjust the imaging system's aim at my head, I imagine.  Unfortunately, my arms resting on the non-sliding portion of the machine stayed in place while the rest of me moved.

*     *     *     *     *

Let me be clear.  I have a horrible time riding in a car.  If I relax at all, the slightest shift partially dislocates at least one limb.

When at home watching TV, if my daughter gently puts any weight on me and I am not ready for it, I partially dislocate somewhere.

If I am tensed, I can maintain a position.  Relaxed, and the slightest of bumps pulls me apart.  This, too, is why I am too fearful to share a swim lane at the pool.  One bump from a direction I am unprepared for, and I am in trouble.

So, when the MRI slid no more than a quarter of an inch, it did so just when I had managed to maintain a position in a semi-relaxed state.  It dislocated both shoulders.

I had 40 more minutes to maintain the position, and the machine shifted several more times.

*     *     *     *     *

I understand that I have a high pain tolerance, at least in some respects, and that my meditation can greatly elevate those levels I can deal with, but this was something new to me.  I almost lost it a few times, ready to grab the panic trigger and end the test, but I kept going.  Once, it was a Led Zeppelin song in the headphones that helped to calm me down.

Anyways, the results were good, for the most part.

Ten more years and I get to do it again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Core of the Matter

Suddenly, I am dancing around a potential adjustment in my core.

It is very much tied to my right shoulder, which then becomes a lynch pin for the rest of my body.  This is no surprise, given the childhood injury was the result of Dad dislocating the right arm, potentially tweaking things all the way down into my abdomen as the position I was in had been so compromised, pinned under the front of a car, license plate digging into my stomach.

When I manage to do a few things, none of which are easy, I'm getting some very significant changes in the right shoulder.  The focus is primarily on my core and hips.

It is also tied to the latest attempted change of leg positioning, having them pointed more inward whenever I remember.  It is clear, on top of everything, I stood with hyper extended legs forever.  This, when coupled with hypermobility, lends significant credibility to the idea that my situation sits on a far end of the Bell Curve.

My Ehlers-Danlos case is not severe (may potentially not even be Ehlers-Danlos, in truth), but the injury plus the posture problems resulted in this experience.  I do believe the hyper extended legs was a result of both hypermobility and the "tweak" in my abdomen.

So, time for more core work.

Once again, a swim stroke has changed ridiculously, this time my breast stroke.  I am too tired to write more at present, but felt I needed an update before things start to get really screwy. 

The tide is turning!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Turning A Corner?

After all this time, I know better than to get too excited over the latest revelation.  That said, I am fairly sure I am on to something good.

I've always known I relied too much on torque in my movements.  It was one of the very first realizations that lead me here, back when I first tried to stop being a toe-walker.

Yet, I had no idea.  The idea that I was all Yin, no Yang was always present.  I definitely could conceptualize it.  I thought I had felt it, too.  In fact, I am sure I did feel it.  I just never came close to feeling the extent of it.

*     *     *     *     *

How I came by this realization is a worthwhile post in an of itself, and perhaps I'll lay it out in detail some other time.  Yet, I must put a bit of it here.

I lost a friend this past week.  I won't pretend we were very close, but from our first few discussions over 3 years ago, he was one of a handful of people that could empathize with me.  He had it harder than myself, no doubt, but was always positive, very unlike myself.

Anyways, the day after his passing, very depressed, I went out for my bike + swim with the intention of channelling Scorchiebeanie (my friend's internet avatar) and really soaking in every bit of good that I could, the warmth of the sun, the feel of the water, etc.

In this meditative state while swimming, I had some big adjustments, which is nothing new.  Only this time, I felt them differently.  I felt how I could possibly maintain the position.  The best I can describe is that the connected arm could still swim, though not nearly as powerfully, yet much more relaxed.  There was a substantial lack of the reliance upon torque.

And while the daydream going on in my head during this meditation was very much centered upon my friend, with a very interesting, even possible, after life possibility included, I am content to say that even if his presence was not with me, helping me get towards the proper position of balance, his friendship was the source of the thoughts which coincided with it.

Thanks, Scorch.

*     *     *     *     *

To document a bit more, the change made it much clearer in my mind what I have been doing, and I will use examples from the pool to explain.

Take normal flutter kicks using a kick board.  Instead of just using my legs, and perhaps a bit of hips, I was maximizing torque with each kick, relying on muscles all the way up my back, and thereby not even really using my legs much.

An aside - this may too explain my near inability to pick up something heavy without using my back, because my back is pretty much all I used.  I do wonder if being SO out of balance made it difficult to experience normal issues of hernia concerns, which, presuming I begin to get things back towards balance, I will have to be very aware of in the future.

Another aspect would be my arms in front crawl.  I have often preferred using a pull buoy to just swimming, and as I noted in the past, I was very fast this way, too.

Now, I know why.  I used too much torque.  I leveraged a gigantic S-curve with each arm stroke.

*     *     *     *     *

Ultimately, this explains why I have always hurt so much during swims, runs, and exercise in general, with every move I've ever made, in truth.  Not only was my body out of balance, but I put pressure on the extremes of my mobility to leverage myself with each move.

This could also explain why I was able to dunk in high school while standing 5'9".  My toe-leaping was a product of excessive torque leverage.

*     *     *     *     *

A big question remaining is the extent to which my hypermobility lead to my relying on torque compared to the possibility that the repetitive nature of a body relying on torque lead to my hypermobility.

I'll inquire with my doctor this week regarding a genetic test for Ehlers-Danlos, but I imagine it will go on deaf ears (as well as my second request for a Disabled parking placard!).  The possibility, no matter how slim, remains that my symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos are correlational rather than causational.  It could be the childhood injury and subsequent reliance on torque created an out of balance body, and that being "out of balance" to such an extreme causes the symptoms I share with Ehler-Danlos.  Their symptoms, too, being the result of being "out of balance," but in their case the root cause is the genetic auto-immune disorder.

Regardless, genetic defect or not, I have little doubt that a new focus on eliminating the reliance upon torque will be a very good thing.

*     *     *     *     *

For starters, just a few days into the approach, I just (well, just when I sat down to start writing this)got home after doing over 3,000m in the pool.

I am usually aching quite a bit after a mere 1,600.  Instead, my muscles feel much more pumped from usage and my joints not nearly as sore from twice the work.

*     *     *     *     *

One last note - while in general, I was going slower than usual in the water, there were several moments where my form must have been much improved, such that I was still quite fast in the water, subjectively feeling like I exerted less force.

For my cool down, I even did a pair of very fast flutter kick 25m stints, not a full sprint, but with more force than I ever could before without really hurting my hips.  My kicking really has changed completely, making my feet feel much more like fins.

Time will tell, and then, I will, too.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Back in Action, kinda, sorta

The pool is back open for lap swim.  Horay me!

I road my new bike to the Rec Center and did 1,000m worth of submerged physical therapy.

It hurt.  I'm tired.

So, I get a mere 3 months of pool time.  Starting weight, 225 lbs.

I won't be running anymore, but the bike will at least get me out with a little excersice.  It won't, however, be the sweatfest in 100+ degrees that helped me lose water weight in years past.

Time to sleep and do it again tomorrow.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


The lows got lower.

The weather finally warmed up, and once again, my local pool gave the high school dibs on afternoon (lunch hour) lap swim.  So, it's either before 8 am or after 5 pm.  Such crap.

Coupled with the news that my hypermobility is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I got a tad depressed.

My jogging has been doing more harm than good, mainly because I am just too heavy for my dislocating joints.

*     *     *     *     *

I did some thinking.

Three years ago, I had 5 1/2 months of my jog/swim routine in warm/hot weather.  I lost a lot of weight and got down near 190.

Two years ago, I got only 4 months in, thanks in part to a month of the flu, but I still had a decent amount of exercise, finishing the summer around 205.

Last year was 3 1/2 months, ending with a month of 100 degree weather still there, but the pool being under the control of the school.  I ended the summer at the 215, barely less than where I started.

I'm topping 230 right now.  The heaviest I've ever been is 235, back in law school.  With 20 more days until I'm swimming again, AND the pool again slated to go back to the kids in August, I'm only getting 3 months of access.  So, even if I avoid illness and don't go on any family trips or anything, the most I can hope for is 3 months of swimming.

Fuck me.

*     *     *     *     *

So, I bought a bike.  I had been saving money for a waterproof iPad, but since I'll barely be swimming anyways . . .

Since it was ordered, I have not been able to get Floyd's Bike out of my head:

I have a bike
You can ride it if you like
It's got a basket, a bell that rings, and things to make it look good
I'd give it to you if I could
But I borrowed it

*     *     *     *     *

The kid is finally starting to enjoy her bike.  It may prove to be the best activity we can do together.

Anyways, I picked up the bike yesterday and have already gone for two rides, and eaten one bug.

The second ride was great.  I was bored, looked at the new bike, and thought, "Why not?"  I found myself recalling all the biking I did as a kid.

I grew up on a hill, the side of a mountain, more like.  So, riding always had the added factor of being up for the return trip home.  Down was always fun.  Up always sucked.  Yet, I did love riding.  I could, and did, often go on very long rides.

The second ride yesterday was short, but it was a ride.  I wasn't going anywhere.  I wasn't trying to acheive anything.  I was just riding my bike.

It made me feel better than I have in years.  Well, while not swimming.

*     *     *     *     *

The bike is a Cruiser by Electra.  I got it through REI.

At first, I was going to by a cheap cruiser from Target or Walmart, but than I saw the Electra.  It cost $250 and has no frills, meaning I will need to go get a basket soon and probably other goodies to up the total spent over $300 (you know, a bell that rings and things to make it look good), but the quality difference is completely worth it.

This bike rides smooth.

*     *     *     *     *

I have no idea if this bike will help me lose some weight and allow more jogging again, or if I'll even need to jog.  I don't know how long I'll be able to deal with riding, whether my hips will have issues with the seat (or if I'll have to buy a bigger seat to try to help).  I don't know much really.

In truth, I'm still depressed as all hell.

But at least I can get out of the house again.  It's been a hellish 9 months.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March Madness

How I wish I cold swim.

We had a moment of warmth here, such that I considered venturing forth to the pool again.  They actually are open all year.  I just can't handle the chill well, especially when the pool is kept in the mid 70s.  It's great for summer swimming, when you can warm up out of the water, but the joints need to be loose before even getting in the pool . . .

*     *     *     *     *

I had planned a "March Madness" entry way back on the 15th or so, given how much had already happened to me.  Much of it is a blur now, on all fronts.

It's been a very difficult month.  This was predicted, of course.  It has been my hardest month for several years in a row now, this last stretch of my Winter.

Soon, even if it does not get warm enough for swimming, it will be warm enough for some jogging.  I'll get out of this cage, er uh, house, if only for a few hours a day.

Or maybe not, if this chest cold lingers and turns into pneumonia, but I get ahead of myself.

*     *     *     *     *

The first real outing I have been on in longer than I can remember started the month.  This is honestly a bit disconcerting.  I actually can't remember the last time I left the area.  Has it been two years?  I don't think I went anywhere last summer.

Well, I went on safari.

One of my wife's birthday presents was an outing to Safari West, just outside Calistoga.  I knew going in it would be a difficult and painful outing, but I thought it would be worth it.  I'd say it was, though I was quite worried it would not be when the drive there (less than 3 hours) had me in agony the entire way.

Upon arrival, body screaming and very out of sorts, I loaded up on the pain pills and my afternoon dose of Adderall in preparation for another car ride.  I had not thought about that ahead of time.  You see, the drives are what hurts me more than anything (well, almost anything, but I'll get to that), and I had ridden in a car for near 3 hours so I could take a 3 hour safari tour?  I was worried.

*     *     *     *     *

My worries, however, were quickly put to rest.  First off, the gigantic vehicle used for the tour had seats which fit me quite well, where even the sturdy bars behind the seats were at great levels to rest my arms or stretch my back.  And I started the tour up top with the kids (mine and two friends).


And even with constant shifting and bumps, I was feeling no pain when I found myself a few feet from a gorgeous antelope or a mere 10 feet from a pair of rhinos. 

It was pretty awesome.  Up close with giraffes and zebras and the like.  We had some distance between us and the water buffaloes, which is smart given they can get testy, but it was still something to behold.

Our tour guide was smart and only missed on only a few jokes (out of probably a hundred over the three hours, which is a pretty impressive ratio).  The weather was near perfect.  What a win.

*    *     *     *     *

Then came the overnight experience.  I won't rehash it all, but I will repost a comment I sent out into the expanse of the Internet from by phone at 4:49am (which was really 3:49am given the clocks had been pushed forward for daylight savings only a few hours before):

Can't sleep and suffering. No idea when sun comes up with the time change. I have been more miserable. When this is over, I may still think it was worth it. Ten feet from two rhinos was really fucking cool.
I may have even found some sleep around one but the fucktard in the tent next to us was waxing poetic, telling someone his life story. By the time he stopped, I was wide awake and trapped in the bottom bunk.
Funny. While there are many pens and gates, most animals are roaming some decent patches of land. Yet, the cow finds himself caged.
Flamingos are noisy. All night.
I had to get out of the tent. It's pretty cold out. Very dark. And the sounds are cool, boarding on spooky sometimes when the big animals make low rumbles.
Going to try to pace out here a bit and stretch some and maybe become able to try sleeping again but I think I am going to wait for sunrise and see what the animals are like during it. You know, may as well try to experience something worthwhile, right?
It was certainly an experience.

*     *     *     *     *

I was pretty much shot for a week after that outing.  Then, the chest cold hit, and I've been coughing ever since, unable to breath well when lying down. 

Odds are I caught something when sitting outside that tent listening to the flamingos and other animals.  So, while I had determined (and still so believe) that the adventure was well worth it, I guess the possible lingering cost may still be able to work it's way into the equation.

*     *     *     *     *

I could write much more about the changes I have gone through this month as well.  I do seem to be able to make the most progress when subjected to stresses like that trip.

They are too tricky to explain well.  Major shifts.  Major changes.  Progress and pain.

One major change is happening around my chest, and I do think it related to my cold, though as a cause, effect, or both, remains a mystery.  the resting state is again changing, and I am getting muscle and flesh to creep up my chest, around the lungs.

This results in mys instability and changes to both shoulders, and then the neck and head.  A similar change then happens in my hips and with my legs.

Basically, I am spent, completely spent.

*     *     *     *     *

I have written about enduring, about just getting through rough times.

I may need to revisit my definitions.  What I called "enduring" took some effort.  I had to act.

It was never easy and I'd often want to give up, but I endured.

The past week, especially with my breathing difficulties, I have not had much to give in terms of effort.  It's mostly reactionary.

Yet, I am still here.  So, I am enduring.

*     *     *     *     *

This is easily the worst entry I have ever written.  If you actually read this far, I apologize.  I just felt I had to write something about the trip and my struggles of late.

Again, I had wanted to write it weeks ago, but while I could then map out some of what to write in my head, I lacked the energy to write it.  Now, the brain is shot, and the ideas and concepts I wanted to put down are lost, but the fingers work.

*     *     *     *     *

I'll throw out a thought I had recently, however, which could end up something I need to investigate.

A study I heard about recently suggested meditation helps increase one's life span, and they had data suggesting it may even increase the length of some DNA or RNA strand, not sure which.

This set off bells.

I suspect the body, in a more proper postural position, while practicing a form of meditation, may allow the body to resonate with "biowaves" (an inclusive term I may have touched upon earlier and likely will return to again), which may, in turn, allow those strands to lengthen.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Playing Possum

Something dawned on me today, something that once again shocked me that I had not tried it before.

I played Possum.

*     *     *     *     *

I was introduced to Phish way back in 1992 by my housemates in Berkeley.  They had all been fans for years.

As I have noted in other entries and in some comment sections, much of the early music of the band is based, at least in part, on phi, the number which gives us the golden ratio and the golden rectangle.  You know phi most commonly from the conical shape of a snail shell.

Anyways, it's math being used in music.

And as I have also noted before, some of my thoughts and tinkering with phi lead me to where I am today.

*     *     *     *     *

It was shortly thereafter when I heard Possum for the first time, a song only heard in concert.

It's a silly little thing, lyrically.

Yet, it has an absolute monstrosity of a guitar solo.  It was what truly hooked me on the band.

*     *     *     *     *

Way, way, way back in 1983, I played trumpet in the Piedmont Middle School Jazz Band (Yes, fellow male graduates of said middle school all joke that we went through PMS). 

I was half decent.  For my age and grade, I was exceptional.

It was in Jazz Band that my Instructor taught us all how to improvise.

He taught us the B-flat blues scale.  He taught us to start with something small, some simple melody of just a few notes within the scale, and then to build upon it, and even branch out should you have a long solo, 8 to 16 measures.

This would be where my relationship with music really started.  It became very rooted in my ear, listening to solos and how they did or did not follow this approach.

To me, the solo was like a ripple on water, starting basic, but getting some variation (and often complicated) as it went along.

I like to listen to a solo and ride the wave the musician creates.

*     *     *     *     *

So, when I heard Trey Anastasio's solo in Possum, I heard something I never dreamed would be attempted, something outrageous.

It just kept on building, that solo.

What a wave!

*     *     *     *     *

Several years later, scouring a used CD shop in Santa Cruz, I came across a bootleg Phish album entitled Sloth.  It was Set 1 of a 1992 show (May 1st if the web is correct), which ends with Possum.  It was like striking gold.

 Not the greatest sound quality, but I have listened to that track so many times, and groove like mad each time.

What a wave!  The solo is very much as I remember the first version I heard live.

*     *     *     *     *

Now, when it comes to my "adjustments," as I call them, a near constant problem has been that I take three steps forward (progress) but soon fall two steps back (regression), making it very slow going.

I have written much of the feeling of slipping like a stripped bottle top.  Or how I get a little done and just can't focus enough to try to go further in the same attempt.

As usual, it is hard to explain.

It's like unwrapping something with knots and twists and turns, but each change of direction requires tremendous concentration to keep what was done to get there  from collapsing (and bringing everything down in a world of pain).

But today, I played Possum.

*     *     *     *     *

I realized that this insanely long solo could be used as a form of meditation towards my adjustments.

The solo builds and branches off every 4 or 8 measures, but it also builds in intensity, very much so by the solo's end.

Having the solo more or less memorized, I can hear the progression in my head.  As I finish attempting to unwind some portion of muscle and reach a position where I now have to move a different muscle in an entirely different (and usually new to me) manner, I can keep focus and maintain the earlier position I achieved by imagining it as a segment of the Possum solo.

I let the intensity of the solo aid the intensity I need to maintain focus.

The result has been a day of adjustments far more successful then they have been in ages, maybe ever, really.

I mean, where I used to be able to get past one "change of direction," maybe two, with great effort, I found myself doing 4 or 5, then resting, and then doing another 3 or 4.

*     *     *     *     *

The progress I made so far today, an attempt to describe it, is for another day.  Too much done already, and I am far too tired to even try.

As usual, I am not sure I can do it justice.

But I have made significant strides today, and the day ain't over yet.

*     *     *     *     *

If you'd like a listen . . .

Here is a link to a youtube video of a reasonably similar Possum recording, though I must admit Trey has much more fluidity in the track I have on CD.

Possum, pre-song starts at the 2:22 mark
The song starts at 4:59
The solo starts at 7:22 and builds until 11:59

Keep in mind, this will give you an idea of how my focus and intensity build while subluxing and unwinding and, when successful, adjusting.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Oh So Close . . .

I cannot do the sensation justice.

I don't even know where to begin.

I feel as if I were soft wood, inchworming it's way UP a screw, some muscles finding their proper groove, able to support that above it without strain, this alone being something very unfamiliar.

I am not done.  I fear much work may remain, and much pain as well (these adjustments of late are either agony or ecstasy), and yet, I feel so close.

I am so very tired, exhausted really, but I have momentum on my side.

I must believe this is so.

I do believe it.

Not momentum, the tide.  I have the tide on my side.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vector Detector

Nothing more than a mental note on my newest way to think of the quantification of a body's physical balance.

Vectors.  Consider every muscle strand to be a vector.  It is very much similar to this, after all.  Each muscle has a direction and a weight.

For my purposes, the "weight" of each vector is it's resting force towards movement.

Imagine a person holding your arms at your side as you try to lift them.  You are let go after 30 seconds and told to relax your arms, but they continue to rise without your input.  [It's almost like an after image of the force you applied earlier.]  Your resting force towards movement would be what your muscles want to do just from your normal actions in a day.

So, now consider each of these muscle strands as a quantified vector.  When you are at rest, the sum of all these vectors would be zero for a body in balance.

*     *     *     *     *

Dammit, I had my next thought planned, and in the time it took to put up a page break, it was gone.

My train of thought has derailed.

*     *     *     *     *

It does get more complicated, and gravity (more specifically, how your muscles deal with it) is most definitely a huge factor.

But I got the paradigm out there, before it was lost to the next bombardment of thoughts, a win in itself.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Physical Violence?

Lots of movement lately.  Great success.

Then I tried to eat.

Swallowing did not function.  I scooted quickly to the bathroom unable to breathe and popped.  It was not puking, but the mid-neck up was in reverse.

I believe I was having the innards versions of adjustments, with my esophogas trying to unfold it's way up the inside of my neck.

It was not a fun day after that, my own self being physically violent agaionst me. 

However, I did have a giggle later on . . .

*     *     *     *     *

Having a difficult day, I went for a late soak in the hot tub.  My moment of near-non-pain comes when I go underwater for a break from gravity.  Again, today being a hard one, I was very medicated when I got in the water.

So, when I came up for air and heard the police over their intercom, it was kind of an "oh shit" moment.

They clearly were not at my door, or that of a close neighbor, rather just down the street, but as I couldn't make out what they were saying, I shook my head and wiped away the water in order to hear better.

That's when I realized a flock of geese were flying over head.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

For Friends of The Wisdom Cow

A while back, ESPN's website went with a new comment format requiring a facebook account.  I stopped commenting there.

The BANG (Bay Area News Group) site I followed the SF Giants through went with a Disqus sign-in for commenting.  I stopped there as well.

Now, BANG finally converted their Cal site too.  I tried to sign on once using the Google option, which I sign on for this blog, but it did not work (though it did, then, keep me logged on when I came to this site).  I didn't like doing it.  I was against doing it, but I didn't want to drop off the face of the Internet.

But it didn't log me on.  It didn't let me post, still wanting me to jump through more and more hoops for some reason.

So, I'm done with commenting on all these sites.  A few of you check in here from time to time.  Please, let the others know I'll still read sometimes, but I am done commenting (to the applause of some, no doubt).

Even though people with half a brain can find my personal information without much effort, I am tired of always being asked to give it away, of sites asking me to sign in so they can log and keep track of me. 

It really bothered me that BearTalk didn't do anything to let me know the change was coming.  Poor choice, Jeff Faraudo.  Perhaps I would have been up for trying to log on more than once had I known it was coming. 

Eh.  More likely I would have just been able to say my goodbyes, and I wouldn't have even tried once.  This, I bet they know, which is why no notice was given.

But I did try once.  It didn't work.  Now I am just bitter.  The friends and relationships I made with other posters there are the leverage Disqus has to get me to accept their terms. 

Well, fuck Disqus.