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Monday, September 30, 2013

New doc, same story

Wednesday I went to a new doctor to get a second opinion. I think at first he thought my pain was psychosomatic! I'm really so healthy in every other way - great labs, great bone density, good muscle strength, etc. I shouldn't have a bone injury - and I was referred by a psychologist!
One of my friends at work is a child psychologist and I put her name down as a referral - only because I wanted to give her credit for sending the doctor (an old friend of hers) business, and maybe get some preferential treatment (hey, I'll take all the special favors I can get). I had to explain that it was a personal referral, not a professional one!
But any question of psychosomatics was dispelled by an x-ray: the back of my femur is again showing calcified build-up and edema. It's probably a severe stress reaction or multiple stress fractures (the area is about 2" long!).
This is a high quality replication of my xrays. On the left is my first injury xray - the first time I hurt this bone, it was a sharp break with a sharp jutting bone growth at the site. On the right is a current picture of my femur. It's a long, broad area of edema and swelling on the bone. The bone growth is almost completely posterior. I hope you enjoy my super technical drawing. 

The theories:
1. I didn't allow it to heal enough the first time, and stress distributed to adjacent bone when the site of the original fracture was stressed.
2. The first fracture healed, but I have some anatomical/gait anomaly that caused it to almost immediately occur again.

If it's #1, shame on me, I'm a bad runner.
If it's #2, I'm done with running. And the only way to find out is to rehab it and try again.

So, I'm doing a two-pronged approach: I'm completing calcitonin therapy to speed healing of the bone in case it's scenario #1, and I'm doing PT to strengthen auxiliary muscles and stretch tight hamstrings and adductors in case it's scenario #2.

If neither works I'm out of here. I'm just tired of being in pain all the time and ready to feel whole again.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hitting Healdsburg again and a few hours in SF

We really liked Healdsburg, so we went back for our last full day of vacation. We went to Preston Vineyards, bought a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread, and sat in their grounds for the entire afternoon. It was lovely!


The next day we flew out, but we had a few hours in San Francisco first. Naturally it was raining. But we did some sightseeing anyway at Lookout Point, then got crab sandwiches at Fisherman's Wharf.



Verdict: we made the right choice with a relaxed vacation in Sonoma. A vacation just to the city would have been too much to do, and not enough time sitting around with a glass of wine!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sonoma Square and Petaluma

Vacation day three: Sonoma square and Petaluma.
Do you like small parks with assorted ducks and crowded benches? Olde Tymey general stores trying hard to evoke your childhood in the 50's? Overpriced boutiques with lots of tacky country signs that say, "It's ok to wine a little" on them? Restaurants still open by dint of reputation only (Girl and the fig - I'm looking at you, maker of overcooked omelet with separated cheese!)? Middle-America, middle-age chains like Chicos? Then Sonoma Square is for you!
Yeah, skip it. Waste of time. It could be any park in any retirement city.

Petaluma would go on the "skip it" list for me, too, but we went there because David wanted to visit Leo Leporte's podcast studio. Sometimes I let the kid do what he wants.
Nerd husband. He's so cute. 

We did two walking tours of Petaluma, visited the museum in the library, walked on the river, got ice cream, and browsed a used books store. Petaluma is supposed to be charming and old-fashioned with cute Victorian homes. Color me unimpressed. It's not ugly, but I live in New Orleans, which has quaint and quirky architecture in the worst parts of town and gorgeous mansions throughout the Garden District. But besides that, I've lived other places with Victorian pasts, like New London, CT and surrounding areas. There are many more examples of classic Victorians in cities like New London (our house had a turret - my bedroom was in it!) and servant's quarters with back stairs leading to them). So, Petaluma just seemed like an average town that chose not to tear down its older buildings.
Two notable stops in Petaluma: Lala's for ice cream (the area is a big dairy producer) and Copperfield books. I bought a short autobiographical book called "Hostage to War" for $3 in the used book section. The author was a child in Russia during WWII and endured starvation and German work camps. Sadly, she returned home to Russia to find an equally oppressive Stalinist state! The book was a fascinating read. I read it aloud to David during a picnic the next day.
But don't drive to Petaluma for it. I'm sure there was only one copy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The coast and redwoods

Where was I, before my niece butted in and was born, all cute and distracting and stuff? Oh yes, vacation recapping.
My favorite day of vacation:
Exploring Bodega bay...



The breathtaking beaches...


The redwoods. We climbed to the top of the mountain in Armstrong redwood park; it was great fun but I was only wearing flip flops and David was persuaded that we were lost the whole time.





There is no way a photo can convey the majesty of these trees. By far the highlight of the trip!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I have a niece!

And she looks like a sno-cone all swaddled up! I can't wait to visit her and kiss those round, pink cheeks!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A second opinion

I still haven't been running. My left leg still aches (although, really, it aches all the time - no exercise, lots of running, squats, standing, sitting - everything throbs). But before I really nail the coffin shut, I am getting a second opinion. I generally like my sports medicine guy. I saw him for an annoying "shin splint" that turned out to be a totally healed stress fracture by the time I got in to see him. I saw him for osteitis pubis, which never went away, and I saw him for the femoral stress fracture of this spring. He's nice. But what I've noticed about him is that he generally prescribes total rest, followed by a rather rapid comeback. I need a deeper look at what's actually going on and plan for staying in shape and coming back safely. Maybe that's more a PT thing. I don't know. I just think I need another look.
The last thing I got from my current doctor was a perplexed, "You're perfectly healthy!"
But I'm not. If I was I wouldn't be waking in the middle of the night, leg aching dully. Also, I'd be at track tonight, rather than sitting at my computer eating chocolate chips forlornly.


Mapping our route

Barrel tasting

Now. Moving on! A little vacation!
We stayed in Santa Rosa (cheap, central) and the first day we did some downtown depot district shopping, by which I mean thrifting. I bought a fabulous gold necklace.

Then we drove up to Healdsburg to visit some vineyards, picnic in the square, and do a cave tour. We finished the afternoon with food and wine pairings, then had a tapas dinner at Chalkboard (delicious; way too much food - so hard to get tapas right!). Then, because we are old people, we went to sleep way early. Yay vacation! Next...the coast and the redwoods.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

A wormy homecoming

David and I returned from vacation to a perfectly revolting homecoming. Our flight arrived at midnight, and I groped my way into the kitchen and pulled on the light. Horrors! The room filled with fluttering moths - 15 or 20 - and several fat, disgusting larvae crawled sluggishly up the walls. I opened the kitchen cabinet and saw tell-tale webby tangles in the corner. Infested! Two weeks before we left I'd purchased a large bag of organic pinto beans. It was clearly the culprit, as it was full of moths, larvae, and nests. Some other food was slightly affected as well, but it didn't matter to me if it was as clean as a whistle. Everything into an outdoor trash! 
Then I spent today scrubbing, bleaching, and applying vinegar. Now we have nothing to eat, but I'm scared to store anything in the kitchen! 
I've never had actual moths and certainly never larvae in the kitchen, but I remember my all-organic mom throwing our oatmeal, beans, and flour into the freezer when she first brought it home. I usually do the same with any organic food I purchase, but I forgot to do so with the beans. Now we're paying for it big time. 
And now, some unrelated phone pictures before I get myself together enough to download real photos:
California scenery is so dramatic! 

Lunch at a vineyard

Taken from the window of a moving car

It was harvest

Sun in our eyes, mountains behind us


Friday, September 20, 2013

Jeans and jerseys

We're doing a fundraiser at work. It's kind of fun. We pay $2 on Fridays to wear jeans and jerseys to work! I don't own a jersey so I'm wearing my sparkly Walgreens shirt.
Pretty sure this is not an NFL endorsed Saints shirt...it's just a glittery fleur de lis. 

This fundraiser is district-wide, so hopefully we can pull in a few hundred dollars. Most pharmacy employees tend to jump at the chance to wear something a little less restrictive than the ties and button-downs normally required.
What are your casual Fridays like?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A happy birthday

I had a happy birthday this weekend for several reasons.

Reason #1: Successful alteration of a gray blazer I got at the Salvation Army for $3.99. It's very well-made (tag says "Silence and Noise", a brand I've never heard of, but it's obviously quality tailoring) but that made it very tough to alter. It was a little too large, but I managed a pretty decent job taking in the princess seams.
Um, can't see the seams, but anyway, looks professionally done, I promise.

Reason #2: Saints pulled off a win - despite playing like losers. Who dat!

Reason#3: Thoughtful in-laws. I have been looking for attractive glass bowls that can function for storage, microwave, or serving, and my sister in law found the perfect set. These little details just make life so much better.
Salad in a multi-functional and pretty bowl

Reason #4: My birthday was also my older brother's wife's due date. No baby yet, but I found out that her middle name will be Grace!

Reason#5: We celebrated with the cocktail of all cocktails: Coquette's off-menu Gold Rush. I had this jalapeƱo cocktail several years ago, and have ordered it off-menu since. But recently they stopped making it because they ran out of a key ingredient. I have been trying to get the recipe from the bar staff ever since and finally, last month, I sweet-talked a waiter into sharing it. One of my birthday presents was the requisite alcohol, which involved a trip to four liquor stores. It did not disappoint: the cocktail was prefect, just like I remembered it.
My husband took this picture of the booze in question. I actually really like this picture. 

Reason #6: We are now on vacation! Hopefully we're enjoying a much-needed break right this minute.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I'm a lame blogger

Lame in the slang of a decade ago, because lately I've been so swamped with work that I can barely surface for long enough to make dinner, let alone write a two-paragraph post. But also lame because....I'm actually lame.

I'm coming clean. Running isn't going well. I have continued to feel a strange tightness or pain in the backs of my thighs. I didn't run much at all this summer, and it was due to a combination of intermittent pain and far too much work. When I have run, I've been perplexed by a nagging pain. So today marks three weeks off of running, because I learned last time that if pain won't go away, you must rest the injury!

But. In all seriousness, I'm about done with running. I can't pursue an activity that leaves me in pain most of the time. I went back to see my doctor and he basically told me I was a hypochondriac - that I'm fine. But I'm not fine! I definitely feel a pain in the femur! And if this continues, I'm finding a new hobby.

I've been injured for over a year now (on and off) and I can't even imagine being uninjured for a long stretch of time - certainly not enough for me to plan a race. I'm leaning towards picking up a new sport. It's kind of sad, because I was kind of good at running (for a generally un-athletic, sedentary person). But it's getting less and less sad as injured time goes by. At this point I'm just tired of being in pain and ready to move on to something that keeps me active and healthy without the downtime.

Last year, I'd never have said that. I love running! This year, I'm willing to give it up to have nights when aching thighs don't wake me up at midnight. I'm debating keeping the blog or not - if I miraculously heal up and stay healthy, that's one thing; if this is going to be long-term, chronic, or debilitating, there's no point. I am also considering seeing another doctor for a second opinion. So, it's up in the air.

Any suggestions for a new sport? Part of me wants to take ballet or a martial art.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

In which I am robbed

Work lately has been a bear. I've been pulled out of the pharmacy for "special" assignments (like a meeting past the Petrified forest, flu shot clinics, or a radio show) more days than I'm actually working. That sounds fun - I mean, better than being on hold with your insurance company for 40 minutes just so they can tell me that they reclassified the generic drug you've taken for years as a tier three drug and you'll now pay 60% of the cost instead of a $10 copay. And a day or two out of the insurance-ruled, narcotic-seeking mayhem that is pharmacy is a nice change. But I really need to get back to work and manage my own store!
This past weekend I really hit the bitter point. I was "voluntold" to represent my company at their booth at the US conference on AIDs, which is being held here in New Orleans this year. I'm heavily involved (I spoke as part of a seminar we put on Tuesday), so I couldn't very well say no to coming out on Sunday.
But I wasn't happy.
I was giving up my weekend.
I was missing the Saints season opener.
And I was robbed!

When we arrived at the conference, we (the reps and I) stashed our purses in a closet built in to our pop-up booth. It was a safe location, we thought: the door was right behind the podium where we stood, so obviously no one had access without us knowing. Well, half-way through the morning one of the ladies couldn't find her iphone. She was emphatic that she'd left it in her purse. Then another lady returned from her lunch and told us, perplexed, that she'd gotten into a cab and had no cash in her wallet. We all grabbed our bags and realized that every one of us had been robbed: all of our cash over $1 had been swiped, along with one iphone (Everyone else had their phone on their person or, in my case, on the charger). I rarely carry cash, but of course I hit the ATM yesterday and am out $80!

We realized that the back of the booth was not flush with the booth behind us: there was a narrow "hall way" between the rows of booths. The back the booth, made of cheap but stiff foam and plastic board, had a bolted-on panel. The corners had simply been broken off, and the thief walked in behind us during our busy morning and took our money.

We'll never catch the guy, but obviously he worked for the hotel or the conference - someone who was there to set up and noticed us placing our purses in the closet.

Meanwhile, I'm out a weekend day, a great game, and $80. Sucks!

Monday, September 9, 2013

There's a radio show in this McDonalds.

Last week my boss called me late Wednesday night to tell me I'd be on a radio show early Thursday morning. I'm kind of getting tired of this nonsense. I get roped into the silliest things! So I stayed up late waiting on talking points from our PR company, only to discover that this show is taped in McDonald's. As in, at a little sticky table.

It really is. I did my interview, speaking while the host (former politician, not coincidentally also a former convict, as New Orleans politicians are wont to be) chomped his Egg McMuffin.

After I completed the live segment, I tuned to the show in the car to hear how they managed to a produce a show in a fast food restaurant....and sure enough, it sounded exactly like you were in the McDonald's drive through. Only in New Orleans!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sudden changes

This summer has been overwhelming: busy, stressful, not particularly productive or relaxing. A big stress-contributor was my husband's job, or rather impending lack of job. Due to federal budget cuts, we assumed his position (a term position) would not be renewed in December, and a month ago this was verified.

In the space of a month, David started a job search, found one that matched his skills, interviewed, got a second interview, got the job, gave notice at the Army Corps, and today he starts his new job.

This is bittersweet. I know David's not excited to leave the Corps. He loved his job there, but knew he had to leave eventually given the temporary nature of his project. But that was kind of his dream job: interesting work, helpful coworkers, less than a mile from the house, flexible scheduling. Today he took a car, not a bike, for the 20 minute drive to work and I know he's already missing the short commute. Yet we're incredibly grateful that he was able to find a new position so quickly, and one that is in his field of interest.

I wish I could be a better, more supportive wife during this time, but my own work has had so many extracurricular events and activities that I've barely been home, and am stretched thin myself. I'm just praying that David quickly grows excited with the new work and finds coworkers he likes.

On the plus side, biking to work meant leaving in an undershirt and changing when he got there - but today I got to see David in a suit, which of course is adorable! Silver lining!