Monday, July 31, 2006

ACL Surgery Pre-Op

Had my pre-op today, which consisted of 1) meeting with the surgeon's assistant, Ivory, who happens to be African (the irony) and then 2) getting my knee fitted for the "Robo-brace," (RB) a full-length leg contraption consisting of at least 15 velcro straps and accompanying clips that completely immobilizes any movement of the knee.

After the fitting, my physical therapist, Sara, taught me how to walk on crutches with the RB on which I found to be eerily strange. I mean, it's like preparing to walk injured knowing you're going to break your leg the next day. We then went through an education on isometric exercises for my leg muscles, ones that will help improve strength in my quad post-surgery and minimize atrophy.

So a couple of rules to abide by:

  • No eating or drinking day and evening before surgery; right to gorge on my "last supper"
  • Bathe with special soap, Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG), night before and morning of to 'sterilize' my body
  • Bring the Cryo Cuff, a cooler-looking device that pumps cold water through an aircast that reduces swelling of the knee, which will be my best-friend post surgery
  • Bring the meds; hello Vicodin or Oxycontin
  • Make sure to sign the knee to be operated on; yeah, that would be bad if they went in on the wrong knee

T-4 days till the surgery. Getting anxious for this to be over and get on with with rehab. I'm going to do everything I can to accelerate this process. Enough of not having the freedom to run and play sports.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

MRI of Ruptured ACL

As suspected, the ACL was confirmed to be totally obliterated. Looking closely at the photo, you'll notice that blobby mess between the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (lower leg bone) where they connect. That sea of blob is what's left of my ACL; it's merely strands of torn collagen. In a healthy knee, you'd have a clear picture of both bones which is connected by a black line, which would represent an intact ACL.

The positive thing about this MRI is that the other major ligaments like the MCL, PCL, and LCL were fine; no damage whatsoever. Pfew!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Road to ACL Surgery

Today was the first of many visits to the University of Washington's ("UW") Sports Medicine Clinic, where they treat both the university's athletes as well as the public. I apparently fall into the latter these days.

After filling out about 20 forms on my family's medical history and my dog's as well, I was taken by a Lisa Loebish assistant with a thick Eastern European accent to measure my height and weight. Pretty normal, a shade under six feet and a girthy 180 pounds. Not my fighting weight but that's what happens when you a) become non-ambulatory and b) continue to feast.

They then took x-rays of both knees. I knew it was a soft tissue injury but apparently, you can determine other issues from the x-rays. My orthopedist, Dr. Green, then walked in the room and I proceeded to give him my play-by-play of the injury. "Nobody was open in the end zone, saw an opening, hit the gap, cut back hard on left leg, and heard a pop. Knew something was wrong when I hobbled around on one leg and felt some pain in knee. I continued to play through the entire game despite this. Was playing on more or less one leg as the left knee would buckle when weight was borne on the leg."

He responded, "That's hardcore" but was thinking, "This guy's got a loose screw in the noggin' and is way too old to be playing flag football. Stick to chess buddy."

Dr. Green asked more questions about other symptoms and conducted a couple of tests on the laxity of the ligaments. Making me extend the leg and bring it in.

Overly optimistic as I usally am, I went into this visit thinking it was an MCL injury, which 98% of the time requires no surgery. This was based on the fact that I had forward stability and incurred no swelling at the time of injury. Two good signs, usually.

Dr. Green quickly dispelled my hypothesis and pretty much concluded that my ACL was blown based on the looseness in left leg compared to the right one.

My immediate response, "So when can I get back on the field?"

"Well, it's typically 6-9 months before you can really doing any rigorous activity."

My heart sank. 6-9 months, you've got to be kidding me. I have NEVER in my life been out of commission for more than a few weeks. I seriously have had the worst luck in the last six weeks: broken clavicle and blown ACL. I might as well lose a testicle while I am at it. Yeah, let's not tempt fate by throwing out such words. Just not worth it.

I could see myself over the next 9 months .... 50 pounds overweight, slothful, pale, and playing Stratego by myself after work.

Yeah, it's going to be a b*tch of a ride post surgery, from the many tales of ACL surgeries I've come across on the net.

Anyhow, I can still pray for a miracle tomorrow when I go to get my MRI, which in reality will only confirm my lack of an ACL.

Shall I dance around on one foot in a circle in a feathered headdress and leather thong and chant for the ACL gods to deliver?

Probably should.

Can't wait for my official invitation to the OR when I return to Dr. Green's den for the good word on Thursday.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

P.I.F. in The Animal Kingdom, Part I

Creature of night, preys/SMS on mice or men

Cunning, sly, and red

Crazy, creative, and crane-like

Needs to be in physical therapy 24/7

Runs high, runs straight, is straight

100 mph/hour, only stops for underpants

Relentless, playful (i.e. will play with anybody), has sick athletics in DNA

Industrious, organized, mature beyond years

P.I.F. in the Animal Kingdom, Part II

Pretty, diva, likes his feathers ruffled

Regal and white, has seen better days

Brawny, independent

Plays cymbals, jovial, funny

Can command respek sometimes, owns his domain, bear or mole?

Youthful, no fear, let's it hang all out

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Classic Clips from 40 Year Old Virgin

I admittedly haven't seen the movie but if these clips are a proxy of the movie, it's a classic already. Some damn funny sh*t between employees, a lot of "funny" business like vulgarities, racial epithets and stereotypes, et al. I don't support or condone this kind of behavior but much humor I find ... check it HERE.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"Gaining Greatness in Life and Work" Article

Came across an interesting web article offering a prescription for gaining greatness in work and life. The advice is based on 20 years of research and interviews of leaders from various backgrounds and interviews. While I have come across lot of these types of 'self-help' books/advice, the simplicity of Dennis Kimbro's findings is the beauty of his work as it could be broken down into four simple tenets. Yes, a lot of these are commonsensical but nonetheless, food for thought.

I. Dream Big

  • Get a big dream and believe in yourself when no one else will.
  • Be different in your thinking; the world rewards differentiation.
  • Determine what you love to do (i.e. what you would do for free) and act on it.

II. Be Inner Directed vs. Outer Directed

  • Being inner directed is having purpose and using it to define your vision; not letting outside influences motivate you.
  • Focus on your area of excellence.
  • "You cannot succeed being like everybody else. The opposite of success is not failure but conformity. You must be willing to take the lonely road."

III. Dedicate Your Life to Lifelong Learning

  • Become an expert in something; because we are an information-based society, those who take time to seek out information will be rewarded.
  • As a leader, 90% of the time you can show up on time with a plan and succeed. Those who beat their competition are those who show up on time with a plan and commitment to carry out the plan. Think Kanye West. Yes, that was his example... the rapper from Chi-town.

IV. Refuse to Fail

  • Make failure never a viable option for you.
  • Interesting statistic: average millionaire does not find his or her dream until age 45 and does not become a millionaire until age 54.
  • "You are being trained to manage people and money but won't get on the fast track until you begin to manage yourself."
  • Greatness takes time.

Other Notes:

  • When making decisions, you can filter in one of two ways:" accept the circumstances as they are or take the responsibility to change them."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gimp Herm As Fatty Jedi Knight or Evil Pope

So my "friends" have a funny way of expressing their sympathy for my recent injury. Actually, it's pretty freakin' hilarious and will go down as one of the year's best Photoshop works. Not because it's a super technical creative but because it's so bad/simple, it's good. Pure genius.

Check out my square head cut-and-paste on the Pope turned to the dark side (e. g. anti-Christ black robe) or as I say a very "healthy" Jedi Knight who had a few too many Ding Dongs and is now relegated to mind tricks and his motorized personal vehicle.

Compliments to the artist: Mike Dean.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pride Dominates 34-18 in Season Opener, Grim Reaper Claims Another Body Part

This past Sunday was the 2006 summer season opener for Pride is Forever against NWA. A glorious, summer day it was ... sunny, cloudless and a warm 90 degrees on the field turf. With my collarbone feeling good (i.e. no feeling/limitation), I was ready to return to the field at 100% since my exit five weeks ago.

Without our current starters, PIF had to reallocate skill positions a bit. I moved to QB, Brian Z moved to the #4 spot and our sub Joe moved to #5. The ladies stayed in the same spots: Kellyn, Maggie, and Nicole. It was a tremendous performance by everyone, I mean everyone. Every single person made a big play or several big plays.

I'd have to single out the ladies collectively for MVP where they had the biggest impact on our play. Throughout the game, I was able to find them readily open after going through my progressions. Specifically, when the #1 or #2 receivers were logjammed in the secondary, the ladies always moved to the open space where they became easy dump offs. It was key to pick up those extra yards and completions to create future open plays by hitting the ladies. Props to Nicole for the outs, Maggie on the sweet TD catch, and Kellyn for running the turnarounds. I did have a couple blatant overthrows/picks which were mental mistakes - I tried to rush things too quickly and didn't set up properly.

Defensively, we were on lockdown with exception to two broken long plays. The score should have been 34-6. Nonetheless, we had some big INT's that kept the offense on the field and which were critical to running down the clock towards the end of the game. Mike D stepped up like Charles Woodson on a pick at right corner, as did Brian Z for a deep corner pass, and the ESPN play of the game ... think Chris Berman shouting "Whoop! She could go all the way!" where Kellyn shifted back as linebacker, plucked the errant ball from the sky, and made a b-line to the left corner of the endzone. On that play, the door to victory was slammed shut for NWA. Actually, it was shut aways back but that was simply the dot on the exclamation point.

One disappointing event in the 1st half. It happened on my QB scramble to the endzone where I made a hard cut on my left knee and tweaked it (pop sound I felt). After that point, I had to play on one leg and could not move laterally. I felt like Byron Leftwich in that Akron Marshall game where he played with a broken fibia. Somewhat dramatic I know. Cool thing was that it forced me to play more strategically, not relying on my legs to get out of sticky situations. I had to shift around the pocket like a big brown bear (think Dan Marino or Big Ben) looking for the quick throw downfield. I can dream, right?

Anyway, looks like I am out for at least 3-4 weeks before I return to any gait-like activity. Lots of RICE these days (not the white Asian kind but the gimp kind) lieing on the couch while sporting a cane minus the top hat around town. According to my physical therapist friend, I likely have a Grade II medial collateral ligament sprain (MCL). It's not actually that bad of an injury given that the ligament does regenerate and 98% of athletes incurring the injury return to their normal form. Yes, the Grim Reaper has cast another dark cloud over my summer plans.

Looks like my guitar calls me back after my departure from my clavicle mishap. Nope, you won't be finding me on the field anytime soon, but maybe at Zoka strumming my acoustic for all the Java heads and tree huggers.

Ah, life goes on.

Friday, July 07, 2006

My New Favorite Seattle Spot, Fred Meyer

So was lieing in bed last night and thought about how tasty my dinner was ... a 1.4 lb ruby red ribeye that I had picked up at Fred Meyer ("FM") that evening. The grill that flame broiled this steak... purchased at FM. And then I thought about how great it was to have my watch resized that same day at FM, which now fits perfectly on my wrist; I had apparently been wearing this watch too loosely since 2000 when I bought it in Tokyo.

And then .... the new kicks I got the other day, a sweet pair of black Vans, and on sale for $39.99, at none other than FM. And then .... what about all the toys I had bought for Lizzie and even the briefs (yes, they were tighty whities, that's how I roll) a few weeks back.

All of life's little pleasantries through Fred Meyer.

The conclusion was that FM was delighting me as a consumer. Groceries, shoes, grills, towels, all the sundries, dog paraphernalia, and even a frickin' a guy who resizes watches in their jewelry department.

The point is that Fred Meyer is my new favorite Seattle hang out. I wonder what's in store for tomorrow? Couldn't help on that one.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Day 34, Back in the Gym

Today was my first day back in the gym since that ominous day against Multiple Scorgasm where I was a VERY VERY girly man, breaking my collarbone on a failed TD catch in the endzone.

Happy to be back though! It felt good to be amongst the people in the testoterone filled Gold's Gym where most dudes' biceps are bigger than both of my quads put together. Rather than focusing on specific muscle groups, I did a circuit of sorts alternating between various LIGHT dumbbell exercises to ease back into the routine. I'm talking like 10 lb. dumbbell lateral and overhead raises. Yeah, pretty comedic to see me grimacing doing 10 lb. lifts. Nice thing though was that I was able to do legs at full strength.

So it's all good ... hitting the gym a few times a week now will accelerate the bone rebuilding process and strengthen whatever muscles had atrophied in my shoulder. Very thankful that I feel little pain these days and can get back to doing the things that I REALLY enjoy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Clavicle Update, 1-Month

Son of a b*tch. Went in for my 1-month check up and there is still a small gap/space between the shattered pieces and the main clavicle bone. It's unclear whether the bones will ever fuse together because of the distance.

On the bright side, this is a non-issue as long as I am able to gain full functionality of my arm/shoulder and there is no pain. Right now, I have full range of motion but am lacking some strength (no reps of 225 for awhile) and can only move so far before stretching some of the scar tissue, which causes a bit of pain. Will have to try to take it easy ... i.e. no running up concrete stairs.

Dr. Seidner's recommendation was nothing new. Basically, listen to your body. If it hurts, don't do it. And no contact sports, like tackle football or rugby. Hmm, sounds like I can still enjoy my summer outside.

Sad thing about an injury like this, there's nothing me or anybody can do to affect the recovery/outcome. It's all about letting nature run its course.

4th of July BBQ

Instead of doing dinner and drinks on the waterfront (i.e. Joey's), we decided to hold down the fort and have the crew come over some lemon linguini, rosemary grilled chicken, arugula salad with light EVOO (yes, I said it to be annoying) sprinkled with Asiago, mojitos, and amazing desserts. Props to Debbie's Microsoft chocolate cookies (she used MSFT-branded chocoloate bars, what is the world coming to?!?), the very berry tart (Manon), and the homemade cherry pie from the Burke's neighbor. Good eats!

So big news from Brian and Amanda.... they got engaged the day before on their trip to Winthrop. They will now go on to produce ultra-competitive, 'focused', and physically dominating specimens that will terrorize the playgrounds. Kids beware.

On a separate note, I have been teaching Lizzie to be a guard dog and think this picture is an excellent representation of an advantageous target. "Lizzie, sic [ ]!"

Monday, July 03, 2006

Burke's BBQ - Stew & Stella

At the Burke's BBQ on Sunday, our Seattle friends spent the early evening catching up on the last 12 hours of their lives; the average time some had last seen each other. You see, some had gone hiking earlier in the morning and others had gone boating the day before on Lake Washington.

The Burke's put on a monster feast: flank steak sandwiches, brats, fresh fruit salad, nacho dip, many others and classic dessert favorites - pushups, drumsticks, and ice cream sandwiches.

I think the highlight of the night was when Uncle Stewart wanted to demonstrate his 'parenting' skills with Stella. "Can Uncle Stewart hold Stella?" he confidently asked. You can see the results here. There are a couple things that don't mix with Stew, puppies and babies.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Summer Kicks Off at Tia Lou's

The summer of 2006 has officially arrived and a few friends got together on Friday night to celebrate the 4th of July weekend at Tia Lou's in Belltown. It WAS NOT difficult to herd these cats to partake in strong margaritas, general goofiness, and "friendship building." These photos demonstrate a strong aptitude for all of the former. It seems as though Priscilla and Heather find themselves in front of the camera a lot.