Eighteen.

She walked outside all alone, thinking. It was a foggy evening; you couldn’t see the sky except for clouds of white. It was damp. The air had a musty smell. At times she found it hard to breathe yet the air had a refreshing quality. She was out here to think and to reflect. That’s what they told her to do. Think about yourself, who you are, who you want to be. Now if that wasn’t a killer question, she didn’t know what was. What a crazy thing to ask of an eighteen year old. Think about yourself?  For eighteen years she was told to think of others first, not of herself, so wasn’t this now being selfish? Maybe. This was a time to reflect on one’s self. And what a perfect time – away from home, school pressures and friends. Ha! What friends? She wasn’t social with anyone from this group she was with. Anyone else she hung out with was at another place. Although this was an opportune time to think alone and to be alone, she couldn’t help but feel alone.   Oh, she could have switched and gone with the others but something held her back. She didn’t want to be part of a group; she wanted time to think on her own. But yet she hated being alone and not with the group. Confusing, eh? She wanted to be alone but felt lonely being alone. She thought about this while leaning against a dead oak tree. She shifted her feet, leaning on the right, and then leaning on the left, kicking branches and leaves around, all the while thinking.

But thinking about what? Oh, nothing in particular – her life, school, friends (or lack thereof), mom, dad, family and God. God. Wasn’t that what she was supposed to focus on? Is God in her life? Does she want God in her life?

Questions, questions, questions. Where were the answers? What were the answers? Who knew? Certainly not this young girl with her leather jacket done up and hands shoved into her pockets.

“It’s awful cold out here”, she muttered to herself.

“Duh, it’s the beginning of November. You expect it to be 90 degrees?”

“You be quiet,” she chastised her other self. She’d been hearing from this other eighteen-year-old girl in her head. Who was this person? Was she God? Was it God talking in her own voice? If so, why didn’t she say something more productive?

It was awful cold out there. She decided to go back inside into the warmth. As she walked back to the building she could hear muffled giggles from other areas of the grounds and silently wished she were laughing too. This was supposed to be a time to be with your buddies and laugh and have a good time. And she also knew it was a time to reflect, but who really and honestly did that? Only one person it seemed – herself. Everyone else giggled and talked about their boyfriends and stuff that was important to them. What did she have to giggle about?

How she hated feeling sorry for herself. It wasn’t worth it and it was counter-productive. She tried to think happy thoughts. She tried to recall happy memories and there were many but memories are different from reality. Oh sure, they were once reality but no one ever thinks that while reality is happening. It doesn’t matter how strong a memory is; you can never recall the original feelings. Somehow it just doesn’t come close.

So as she was trying to think happy thoughts, these memories came back but proceeded to depress her. She missed those days she recalled. She missed the person that she saw when she saw herself. She wondered where that person went. What happened to her? Where did she go? Had she ever really left? That was the big question. Had this happy-go-lucky girl just vanished? Or was she still there somewhere, only buried deep inside?

Questions. Questions. Questions. She wanted to find that girl again – the girl from her memories. Was it possible? Or did someone like that only come around once in a lifetime? She hoped not. It wouldn’t have been fair.

She wanted to be happy again. At that particular moment, she wasn’t. She wanted re-affirmation that she was special and worth knowing. But does anyone ever get to really know that? She doubted it, because then everyone would have high opinions of themselves and the last thing the world needed was another stuck up and snobby individual.

Why wasn’t life simple anymore? Had it ever been?

She thought of a song just then, it was called “Keep The Faith”. She guessed that the whole point to this retreat was just that – keeping the faith, or finding it.

The bright side of injury.

If there’s an up side to being a doctor who runs and gets injured it’s learning about the new therapies out there for sports-related injuries.

I had my second chiropractic treatment yesterday for my lower back/hip issue. Since my first visit over a week ago I have felt about 80% better. Unfortunately there wasn’t much change in the range of motion of my left hip joint.  He suspects I have a deep ball and socket joint, meaning I was born this way and will just have to accept it and work with it.  After a rather vigorous ART therapy session he decides to use a Graston tool on my tender fascia.

Say again?

A Graston tool?

Medieval torture device?

You can see it has a few different edges – one sharp, one dull and one somewhere in between.  The traditional method of working the fascia left patients battered, bruised and bleeding, this according to my chiropractor who told me the history of the tool.  Honestly I don’t recall a lot of what he said, I was too focused on bracing through the new sensation of this tool working on my fascia.  It didn’t hurt per se, it was more of a grating sensation.

The Graston technique is described as :

an instrument-assisted, soft tissue mobilization therapy. It is beneficial in breaking up fascial restrictions, scar tissue adhesions, and detecting areas of chronic inflammation and/or fibrosis. Graston has been known to help conditions such as a cervical sprain/strain, tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, lumbar sprain/strain, rotator cuff tendinosis, and even Achilles tendinosis.

At the end of treatment my skin felt raw and was red. I expected to wake up today completely bruised but I wasn’t.  The area is sore today but not nearly as bad as I expected.  Apparently there is no real consensus on what causes fascial pain or why working on fascia relieves pain. But talk to any athlete or casual runner and they’ll tell you that manual therapy on their fascia worked.   Confused yet? I certainly am.  I read this article on fascia science and I am still not clear on anything.  I have no idea what is ultimately the cause of my pain but I do know that after ART and this Graston tool, things are feeling better.

A few months ago, I saw a patient with chronic neck/shoulders and upper back pain.  He’s in his 60s and gets horrible tension headaches which he believes comes from the pain in his neck and shoulders.  When I examined him I noted that his trapezius muscles were very, very tight. There was almost no give to the muscles at all.   I suggested he see a chiropractor or physiotherapist who does ART. He didn’t like the idea of a chiropractor but agreed to see a physiotherapist.  I found one in the area who does ART and told him to book an appointment.  He came back to see me last week raving about his experience.  His shoulder and neck pain is still present but it’s a lot better than its been in years and he feels like he can move his neck much more than he could a few months ago.  But more importantly, his headaches have completely resolved.  “I don’t know what she was doing and it wasn’t a pleasant experience, doc, but it worked!  Thank you!”

In the end, it doesn’t matter that the science of fascia is still iffy. What matters is that therapeutic tools have developed that help patients feel better.

Bedtime Shmedtime.

I hate bedtime.

There. I said it.

The shenanigans, the whining, the “one more make-up story”, the “rub my back until I fall asleep.”

No!

It’s so much more pleasant putting the 18-month old to bed.  A song, a story, bottle of milk, night night kisses and done. Door closes and that’s that.

The other two?  Oy, it’s an hour-long ordeal.  And it’s March Break and I can’t use “It’s a school night” on them.

Someone help me, please!

I’d rather stab a fork in my eye than try to put those two kids to bed.

Does that make me a bad mommy?  I certainly feel like it sometimes.

A Pain in the ….

About a week before the 5K race I started noticing a subtle ache in my lower back.  It’s been there on and off in the past, mostly related to the pregnancies but this time it wasn’t going away.  I felt great during the race and after but in the week that followed the ache turned into something more.  Then I chalked it up to the monthly cycle low back pain but it didn’t go away when the monthly cycle left.  It started wrapping around to the front, near my hip bone.

Uh oh.

Injured.

Again?!?!?????

I thought I had been doing so well.  Apparently not.

I saw a massage therapist who suggested I see a chiropractor.  I had been thinking about getting into some ART therapy. I had heard about this from the FB running group I follow and heard it was pretty good for soft tissue injuries.  Now, the last time I saw a chiropractor was probably close to 20 years ago and it involved a lot of back and neck cracking.  I wasn’t too keen on going down that route.

I was pleasantly surprised by my experience with this new chiropractor.  He assessed me quickly as having very tight hips which were due to weak glutes.  Pretty much exactly as I had suspected and he went on to do some active release therapy on my hips.  I have incredibly tight hip flexors.

And this pretty much sums my situation up.

After 15 minutes of active release therapy, all I can say is “owie” and “wow”.  At the end of the session my lower back and hips, while still aching, felt 100% looser than when I went in.  Sadly that didn’t last but I have been working hard all week on stretching and opening up the hip joints.  I have a lot of work to do.  I am going to scale back on the distance and stick with no more than 5 km runs for a few weeks until this settles down.

Bombshell.

It’s never a good start to the day when your first phone call is to a patient to discuss the consult letter you’ve gotten from the surgeon indicating that pathology was positive for cancer after an elective surgical procedure.  It’s even worse when the patient isn’t aware that the pathology report confirmed the cancer diagnosis.  Upon reviewing the note from the surgeon, it clearly states he was concerned about cancer and relayed that information to my patient.  How much the patient actually absorbed is another story.

Needless to say, I felt awful.

I apologized for blindsiding her, for dropping a bombshell on the phone.

She said she’d rather hear it from me than a stranger.

All I can think is, “Thank goodness I sent her for that abdominal ultrasound!”

 

 

The mouths of babes

Husband is at a rehearsal for a show next week. A friend’s band is doing a covers night and they asked him to sing a song so I am home alone tonight with three kids.

Bedtime gets started early here. The baby was in his crib at 6pm with his bottle. The older boy was in the bath and the eldest was I her room writing something.

She came in to show me. “How to be good”.  I was very impressed!  She knows the rules!  Too bad she doesn’t actually follow them!

 

Listen. No talking back. Do something the firs time you are asked. Do as you are told. Focus your ears. Do not ignore. And all this information is good.

After bath, I read them a few of daddy’s old Smurfs and Ewoks comic books.  Then it was time to get into bed. I told them a make-up story all about Princess Rose and the good transformer who worked with the Prince to rescue her from the bad transformer.  But that story wasn’t enough, so I had to tell another one with Spiderman and how he became Spider-transformer after Optimus Prime injected him with nano-bots to assist the Autobots in taking down the bad transformer.  (Neither kids has seen the Transformer movies, or the cartoon, but their daddy tells them these make-up stories all the time.  I’m sure mine paled in comparison.)

Bedtime seemed to be going so well until it didn’t.  Suddenly neither of them were settling down and my voice started increasing in tone and pitch, and I may have tapped her on the back a little harder than I had intended in an attempt to get her attention and stop sitting up in bed. I’d gotten hit in the face at least three times by the Spiderman doll and clearly had enough and that’s when the waterworks from the girl started:

“You never spend any time with me.”

“I just don’t know what to say to you.”

“Why do you always have to work?”

“Why can’t you just spend all your time with us?”

Oy.  She’s a master manipulator.  At the age of six!

Needless to say, bedtime took about 3 hours.  It’s a little after 9pm, I haven’t had my dinner and I’m seriously considering opening a bottle of wine.

I swear I have no idea how my husband does this on a daily basis. He’s amazing.

Dry.

For the past few nights, our oldest son has asked not to wear a diaper at nighttime.  He will be 4 years old in April.  Husband and I haven’t really encouraged the no diaper at bedtime mostly because we don’t really want to deal with the potential mess the next morning.

Lazy, right?

You betcha!

In fact, it was his preschool teacher who told us that he was dry during the day and was using the bathroom with the other kids.  She asked that we don’t send him in pull-ups anymore.  This was about 4-5 months ago.

Anyway, last night this was my conversation with my son.

As I’m trying to get him to take off his underwear so I can put a diaper on:

Him: “No, Mommy.  No diaper.”

Me: “Yes, honey.  What if you make a pee at nighttime?

Him: “But I don’t, mommy! I don’t pee in my bed.”

Me: “Is your diaper dry when you wake up in the morning?”

Him: “Yes.”

Me: “And then you make a pee in the diaper?”

Him: “No” (His diaper is usually full in the morning, so I’m not entirely sure he understood what I was asking.) “Mommy, big boys and big girls don’t wear diapers at nighttime.  I’m a big boy now.”

How could I argue with a statement like that?

He went to the bathroom, made a big boy pee and we put him to bed in his underwear. (We also put a towel underneath him and his mattress also has a waterproof cover so in the event of an accident we’d likely be okay.)

This morning, despite the time change, everyone woke up at 7:30am.  Husband called out to son, “Did you pee in your underwear?”  The answer back, a proud “No!!”.  “Go make a pee then,” husband said.

Frankly, I was quite surprised.  I didn’t think he was ready but that little boy proved me wrong.  As a reward, I made pancakes for breakfast this morning.

photo(35)

Clearly I’m too busy trying to take a photo to enforce table etiquette rules.