Thursday, January 24, 2008

one armed life: thursday

Today feels like a progress day. Last night I was able to do some exercises without much if any pain. Earlier today I realized that my bicep was really tight and I was able to stretch it out without adding much pain to my shoulder.

I am starting to get a little soreness and tightness in my shoulder but it seems like the good kind of soreness that comes from stretching muscles, not tearing them. I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the day. Maybe do my exercises a little bit tonight and call it good.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

one armed life: patience

Patience seems to be the name of the game. It's irritating because every day I feel a little bit better, and yet if I start to push myself I know I will cause more damage. It's been 2 weeks and 2 days. I want to be able to use it more than I can, but I know that it will just take time to heal.

I did some isometric exercises last night and iced up afterwards. That seems to help. My shoulder felt pretty good this morning, which tends to be the case. It starts out feeling pretty good and starts to get sore as the day progresses.

I did some reading online and it sounds like the recovery times they are quoting are longer than what my dr. told me. So I'm not concerned that I don't have more motion on my arm yet (some sites said you will be in a sling for 2 weeks). But I'm starting to wonder just how much longer this is going to take. I want to start building up strength again. I feel like I'm wasting away.

Monday, January 21, 2008

one armed life: monday

Not a whole lot new to report. My shoulder seems to be healing up from the reinjury incident last monday. I'm going to continue to take it easy for the next few days. Perhaps working a few isometric exercises into my nightly routine.

I haven't been reading very much because of the painkillers. I do most of my reading at night, which is when I take them. I stopped on Friday night, so I was able to get a few more chapters finished in Foundation and On Intelligence.

Sleeping without painkillers is kind of hard, but I'm hoping that as the pain dies down in the shoulder it will eventually lead to more restful sleep. I'm going to give it a couple more nights without anything beyond Advil and see how it goes.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

one armed life: thursday

So far so good. I think the heat/cold regime is going to be very helpful. I'm a little more tentative these days, which is probably a good thing. I'm irritated that I'm losing a lot of the fitness I worked hard to build up as I'm pretty sedentary at the moment. But, it's only for a few more weeks, and I'll have many years to build it back up after this event. Especially if I don't push to hard and turn this into a chronic problem.

I'm back to tying my shoes with two hands, but taking it a little slower than last time.

The Sarah Conner chronicles

Last night I watched the pilot episode of the terminator tv show.

I found the pilot to be quite enjoyable. It borrowed a fare bit of the style and storyline from the second movie. I'm looking forward to see how they develop the storying telling.

I don't watch a lot of tv these days, but I imagine I will try to make time to watch this show for the next couple of weeks.

I am pleased to see Summer Glau in the show. I expect she will do a very good job with the role.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

one armed life: wednesday

Not too much to talk about today. My shoulder is definitely sore from the damage I did monday night, but it's not horrible.

I'm trying to transition into alternating heat and cold to hopefully prevent a similar reinjury in the future. My theory is that I had a muscle that was very tight from being immobilized and it torn a little bit instead of stretching out as I started to use it. I'm hoping the heat will help to keep things loose.

I find I'm not giving myself enough down time right now. It's difficult for the body to repair itself if you are constantly busy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

one armed life: tuesday morning

my shoulder doesn't hurt as bad as I had feared. I think today is going to be an "easy" day, where as yesterday was a "hard" day. I'm back to tying my shoes with one hand, and even though my arm is still out of the sling, I'm going to try and keep it pretty stationary for the most part. If I did do some more damage to the shoulder yesterday I want to give it time to heal before pushing it any further.

This sure is tricky. It's very hard to know what the "right" thing to do is, or I guess what will lead to the fastest recovery. I suppose I just need to take it one step at a time.

Perhaps I will pick up some omega 3 supplements (fish oil) tonight. I hear those are good for tendons and I'm sure there is some tendon damage in the shoulder. The Dr. and I didn't really talk about what a good diet would be for this kind of injury.

Monday, January 14, 2008

one armed life: monday night

I'm worried that I pushed myself too far today. I've got the arm back in the sling tonight so that I don't do any more damage if I did push too hard.

I suppose I will know in the morning if it's really worse or not. It felt really good to have my arm out of the sling regardless. Hopefully tonight is just a warning.

one and a half armed life: monday

Big step today: I tied my shoes with two hands!

My shoulder is starting to feel pretty good. By the end of the day it gets a bit sore, but the next day after I wake up and break off some of the rust it starts to feel pretty good again.

My Dr. gave me some isometric exercises that will bring back strength in my shoulder muscles. I did them some last night and they didn't hurt much at all. I'm going to do them more strenuously today. Hopefully the worst of the pain and limited movement has passed. I'm starting to feel pretty optimistic.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

one armed life: saturday

Things are getting a bit boring... no new things going on today. Arm is a bit sore, but it's hard to tell why. I think I'm going to try and do a bit more every day, little by little and when it hurts to much, stop.

I'm very anxious to get back into physical activity. Maybe early next week I can start riding stationary bike at the gym.

Oh, I did get about 10 hours sleep last night, which is unusual. I usually wake up after my pain killers wear off, which is about 5 hours. I woke up this morning and took my 800mg of advil and was able to sleep for a few more hours.

Friday, January 11, 2008

one armed life: friday

So far so good today. I used my arm a bunch more yesterday. I actually had it out of the sling most of the day. I don't seem to be any worse because of it today. Still tying my shoes with one hand. Still putting on shirts very carefully, but I was able to hold a few things in my left hand today. That's a step in the right direction.

Some of the discomfort I'm feeling now has to do with the atrophy and tightening of the muscles in my left arm. I'm trying to stretch it out and move it without doing any more damage. Sometimes it's hard to tell if the pain is coming from disuse, or from the injury.

Accomplishment of the day: I'm wearing a button up shirt today. Putting on an undershirt and a button up shirt takes longer than wearing just a t-shirt, but it's not so bad. And buttoning with one hand isn't nearly as hard as it seems like it would be.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

neural networks write poetry

I love this quote. Pulled from this story on a neural network put to work doing something it should not have.

"The pig go. Go is to the fountain. The pig put foot. Grunt. Foot in what? ketchup. The dove fly. Fly is in sky. The dove drop something. The something on the pig. The pig disgusting. The pig rattle. Rattle with dove. The dove angry. The pig leave. The dove produce. Produce is chicken wing. With wing bark. No Quack."

current reading list

I'm currently reading three books

On Intelligence
Smart and Gets Things Done

So far On Intelligence and Foundation are pretty good reads. I've never read Asimov before, and Foundation is turning out to be a good introduction. It's very short but the pacing is excellent, and the storyline captivating.

On Intelligence is non-fiction and much more dense. But it is a good exploration of what it means to be intelligent, and why we've had such trouble creating successful artificial intelligence. Thanks to Nathanael for the gift, it's turning out to be as good as he told me it would be.

Smart and Gets Things Done is really a rehash for me. I've read all of Joel's writings on the subject as they've been posted to his blog, and so far this book is just a collection of those ideas in hardback form. This is a good time for me to be rereading them though.

Matt and I have been discussing reading some other books together so I need to hurry up and finish one of them... probably On Intelligence. I imagine that 1 work related, 1 fiction, and 1 non-fiction book at a time will probably be my limit.

one armed life: the morning

So far the hardest part has been toweling off after a shower. With only one arm, it's difficult to get the kind of contact necessary to remove excess water from one's self. I was pretty pitiful the first day... today was better.

I'm down to about 45-50 minutes to get ready... including feeding the cats. I was able to tie my shoes in only a couple of minutes this morning. I was also able to zip up my jacket with one hand... which is still pretty difficult. Zippers appear to have been designed with two hands in mind.

Oh, and I did a few dishes last night. I only did plates, which wasn't too hard. I'm not sure how I'm going to wash the silverware yet. My plate washing technique was a pretty neat epiphany. I suppose if I concentrate on it long enough I'll figure something out for the silverware.

I'm really starting to enjoy the challenge of doing things with one arm. I hope that doesn't sabotage my recovery efforts. Although after you have been forced to do things slowly and methodically, it's kind of nice to get back to 100%. I'm typing this post with both hands and it feels amazing.

Losing something makes you appreciate it all the more.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

driving with one hand

On the surface it doesn't seem so hard. Most of the effort can be concentrated on one hand and one foot. Throw a manual transmission at it, and most of the effort can be handled by one hand, and two feet... most of the time.

Shifting becomes a bit tricky. It can only be done on straight roads, or when nobody is driving next to you. If I was driving a diesel it would be made worse as the rpm range on a diesel is so narrow. As it is, I can leave the car in gear longer that I originally would have intended without significant impact to the car or my ability to drive it.

I'm not sure if it's wise to be driving my car with only one functional shoulder. I don't think it's illegal... although if it is would somebody let me know so I can stop doing it before I get a ticket?

Perhaps the best idea is to limit to driving to be on an as needed basis to reduce the chances of getting into a situation where I need to shift and steer at the same time.

dislocated-shoulder xray

Originally uploaded by garyowen
Here is the picture in case you didn't want to follow the link. This is before it was reset. I was on pain killers when this was taken.

I can tie my shoes

I tied my shoes today for the first time since the accident. I was tired of wearing socks and sandals (my only slip on style shoes, and it's cold so I needed socks) so I decided it was time to figure out how to tie shoes with one hand.

Turns out it's not too hard. It just takes some patience and creativity... and a little flexibility.

My morning routine has lengthened from 20 minutes to an hour... but I'm able to take care of myself pretty well. Next I gotta figure out how to floss...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

dislocated shoulder

I dislocated my shoulder. I even have cool xrays to prove it.