Thursday, August 31, 2006

Podcasting and Apple

Some commentary on my recent consumption of podcasts.

ACL Rehab, #6

Today a small break through was made ... the 130 degrees barrier was broken.

With a lot of hard stretching and this blunt metal tool (sounds a bit ... yeah I know 'funny'), Sara helped me reach 136 degrees. I'm not too far off from the normal flexion of 140-150 degrees.

Log: 127 to 136.

Monday, August 28, 2006

ACL Rehab, Week 3, #5

Each week, the knee has been making nice increases in flexion, about 10-12 degrees. Now, we are getting into the smaller and harder gains. I started the day at 125 degrees and ended it at 129 degrees.

I must say that physical therapy hasn't been a walk through the park. In order for me to get increased flexion, Sara my PT has to physically 'stretch' the knee and force the knee to bend. As she's doing it, she's basically tearing scar tissue. Yah, it kinda' hurts and isn't much fun as your eyes well up a bit.

At this point, I am able to walk normally (regular gait, no noticeable limp) but the leg does swell up if I am on it for too long. The left quad is noticeably smaller than the right but have been doing extra leg lifts to strengthen it.

I can see why these ACL injuries take a good 6-9 months before you are back to playing sports. Lots of rebuilding and relearning to do.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ballard Farmers Market, Summer 2006

This summer, Heather and I have taken to the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are produced in the State of Washington. Each Sunday, we head to the Ballard or University Farmers market to smell, pinch, and taste the local farmers' hard work. They really have some delicious stuff. My personal favorites this summer have been the cherries, nectarines, and peaches.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Mommy Wants a New Pair of Shoes, NFL Style

So this year, I've decided to play only one fantasy football league which is comprised of friends and family in Seattle. We're using Yahoo's fantasy football platform because I've had good experiences with it in the past.

One interesting note this year is that my wife Heather is playing for the first time as a rookie. She knows I have a passion for all things football and this is intended to create more bonding time together in front of the TV on Sundays. It's going to create more trash talking for sure.

We decided to put a little wager on the season since I'm supposed to be the Kasparov of fantasy football, if I say so myself. If Heather beats me this season (total points, not head-to-head), she can go shopping for a new pair of shoes or a new handbag. I don't think she means Payless; I'm actually scared she might go Sex in the City and throw down for some Manolo Blahniks.

I'm beginning to wonder what upside there is for me. Clearly nothing monetary!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Whidbey Island, Summer 2006

So my friend, Joe, found this amazing beach house on the shores of Whidbey Island. We spent the weekend gorging ourselves on smores, pasta, chips, beer, et al., laughing at one another, playing card games, and keeping our dogs from killing each other.

For some reason or another, Roxy (Joe's black Lab) and my Lizzie just don't get along. It's a bit perplexing because neither dog is aggressive and usually play the submissive one.

Despite playing ref all weekend, we had an amazing time soaking up the summer sun and catching up with old friends.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

ACL Rehab #1

Today was my first day of physical therapy for the new knee.

Very excited to get this going!

Sara, my physical therapist, began the session by loosening up the fluid around the knee cap and then stretching/pushing my knee towards my hamstring. This is to break up all the scar tissue around the knee joint.

Each session my progress will be measured in degrees (i.e. how much flexion can I get each time).

I started at 80 degrees and the goal was to get to 100 degrees. This part was quite painful, the joint was very tight. I ended up getting to 98 degrees (Nick Lachey), just shy of 100.

Sara made me get on the bike to warm up the joint and she challenged me to see how far I could rotate around. Couldn't get the full 360 degrees; probably closer to 270 degrees.

After the bike, I got a refresher on how to walk properly. Because of the brace, you have to relearn the correct way, really emphasizing the heel-to-toe motion.

The day was wrapped up with 15 minutes of shock treatment on my quad where they place these electrode pads on your quad which send pulsating electricity. This stimulates the regeneration of the muscles. I kind of liked the stim (the medical term), I think I'm part masochist.

Best part of this visit was that she opened up my brace to have full range. No more "Ay, ay Captain!" peg leg.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Day 11, ACL Update

Went in to see Dr. Green for my second post op appointment. Things are on track: the leg is straight (better be damn straight!), swelling has subsided, and muscle strength is improving.

Good news is that I don't have to sleep with the mega brace on. Bad news is a) I still have to wear it during the day even though I don't think I need it and b) I still have to wear the "pantyhose" stocking for another week. Ladies, don't know how you do it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Long Tail Economics

Since I've started writing another blog focused on consumer Internet and technology, I'm going to periodically post links to that blog entry instead of copying and pasting every time.

This one's about long tail economics, Chris Anderson's claim to fame and his recent book on the subject.

Here's the link to my commentary: Long Tail.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Day 6, Post Operation ACL

I thought I was a tough guy since I had stopped taking the meds (oxycontin) around Day 3 post op. I was doing fine until the last 24 hours, when my lower leg realized that somebody had drilled a hole into it and attached some foreign object (some other guy's tendon).

Yep, had to go back on the meds to alleviate the pain. I hope this is temporary. Hmm, reminds me of my flag football team's mantra... "Pain is temporary. Pride is Forever."

In this case, pain must be temporary. Pride what, who?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Day 4, Post Operation ACL

Today was a good day. Had my first post op visit with Dr. Green. I was able to see the new knee unveiled (very curious to see what was underneath the stained and bloodied bandages). It wasn't pretty (see below). He made a total of 6 incisions (2 of which were used to drill the graft into the 2 bones and the others were to look inside the knee and smooth out the meniscus in the back of the knee). Yeah I know, probably a little too much info.

All in all, good to get the first visit out of the way and have a plan for rehab. It starts ASAP. I'll be in the brace for the next 4-6 weeks and can walk without crutches as soon as comfortable. Right now, the brace gives me zero flexion (range of motion). I'm basically a pirate with a peg leg attached at the knee and I get to sleep with this bad boy (robo brace).

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Cryo/Cuff & Lizzie

Whoever created the Cryo/Cuff Cooler has done a huge service for post op ACL patients. Instead of having to schlep over to the fridge and pack a new cold one every half hour, I attach a blue tube to the air cast around my knee and immediately a rush of coldness soothes the swelling.

Even with the meds, you need this beautiful device to sleep through the night since there's a ton of heat dissipating from the knee.

Lizzie has been quite curious about the knee and crutches (startled by the click clacking around the house). She hasn't quite figured out what's going on.

Friday, August 04, 2006

ACL Replacement, Finally

The day started off with a 5:30 am wake up call (my alarm) and a 6:15 am check-in at the University of Washington Medical Center. The facilities/reception area resembled a new remodeled hotel lobby: clean lines, lots of natural light, open space, and modern furniture.

My surgery was scheduled for 7:20 am. Once I got the call, a tech took me into my 'room', an 8x8 space with a bed and this cool vacuum looking machine called the Bair Hugger. I find out later that it pumps out hot air to keep patients warm.

The next 45 minutes, I met the entire medical team starting with my anesthesiologist, who was a cool cat. Dr. Peter Buckley, a 60-year old+ rugby player with a British accent, and I commiserated about rugby and the reality of aging, mostly laughs. He administered my IV and asked the perfunctory questions: "What's your name? Date of birth? Which knee is getting operated on? When the last time you ate? Health problems?"

I then met the rest of the team, Dr. Buckley's resident with medical student in tow, 3 other murses, my surgeon, Dr. Trey Green, and his assistant (a young orthopedic surgeon, Addison, who also plays flag football at Memorial Stadium). Kind of funny there's a real surgeon at this Seattle hospital called Addison ...

Where was my tending Addison Sheppard from Grey's Anatomy? I prefer this spicy, redhead to the whiny, banal Meredith Grey.

Around 7:20 am, it was time to "get it on!"

Surrounded by my entourage of blue scrubs, I was a rockster rolling at breakneck speed through a series of halls and swinging doors . It was like being in an episode of ER or Grey's where I AM the first person view. Very surreal.

The next thing I know, I bust into this frigid cold operating room that could have been made for a mad scientist. There were a gazillion lamps of all shapes and sizes with tons of medical equipment and supplies on the perimeter of the room. Within a minute of digesting all of the activity (I saw the surgical team as a group of Santa's elite elves on Christmas Eve busily working in the background), I was O-U-T.

Black out. Don't remember a thing.

In the next 2 hours, Dr. Green & Co. do their thing and I wake up back in my 8x8. All in all, it was a smooth operation with very little discomfort. I think the most pain I felt was when Dr. Buckley stuck the IV in the vein on my left wrist. The whole team made me feel comfortable at every stage in the process (nice people), were extremely efficient, and in my view, the medical center deserves to be voted one of America's Top Hospitals, as rated by U.S. News & World Report 2005. Also, props to the UW Sports Medicine Clinic for all of the pre-op work and the forthcoming post-op and rehabilitation.

My resident anesthesiologist was nice enough to take a picture of the operation. The new and improved knee!

Private Equity & Turnaround Combo Strategy

Private Equity Wire reported today that Hellman & Friedman, a major private equity shop, took a majority stake in Alix Partners, a turnaround consulting firm (which was valued at $800 million).

Could this be the start of a trend of PE firms partnering with best-of-breed turnaround expertise? Makes sense to me ... meld the strategic, financial engineering minds with a very specific type of operational excellence. Can't deliver those exceptional returns for investors and partners no matter how good the strategy if you can't execute on it. Common sense.

Given there aren't that many pure turnaround firms around, I'd suspect to see some more deal making in the near future.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Don't Sweat the Small/Big Stuff

Sometimes you have to take a step back from the daily grind, remove yourself from all the drama, and re-examine it in the context of all that is good. I'm talking about the basics here: a bed to sleep in, food to eat, the clothes on your back, friends you can depend on, family that loves you, a strong belief in your abilities, and an active, healthy body.

In other words, everything else is basically gravy (e.g. the vacation to Seychelles, the new Lexus, that job promotion). I'm not advocating not setting goals or pursuing financial security. Absolutely not.

I just think that you can strip away some of that (since it's extraneous) and live an equally fulfilling life.

So I'll get off my soapbox and ....

Remind myself to NOT sweat the small/big stuff and be thankful for all the basics.