A Hopeful Prognosis

This is just some of the debris from around our yard due to the very unusual Nor’Easter storm in October. This has finally been picked up by the town, but required many painful-to-my-foot trips from the back yard to the curb.

This is just some of the debris from around our yard due to the very unusual Nor’Easter storm in October. This has finally been picked up by the town, but required many painful-to-my-foot trips from the back yard to the curb.

I had a follow up appointment with my podiatrist yesterday and was conditionally discharged. Progress has been made on reduction of pain from my plantar fasciitis with the combination of the 500mg naproxen 2x per day (reducing swelling), icing, massaging the heal, wearing the boot at night, and resting my foot. Almost zero exercise has taken it’s toll in other ways, however. The weight has continued to creep up – because you cannot diet without exercise. So, I have started back on the Precor AMT machine at both the YMCA and the gym at work. I’m generally good for at least 30 minutes, then need to back off the resistance or I start to get a few twinges in the right foot. I’ve been very careful to stretch it out afterwards which helps quite a bit. I’ve had a few painful days, but only after being on my foot all day and, ironically, wearing my Brooks Ghost running shoes all day (casual day at work).

 

The Blue Boot

This is the pile of wood cut from my front yard. Not the debris, just the wood I salvaged. It’ll make awesome fires in the fireplace next winter - and a great opportunity to use splitting as exercise this coming spring.

This is the pile of wood cut from my front yard. Not the debris, just the wood I salvaged. It’ll make awesome fires in the fireplace next winter – and a great opportunity to use splitting as exercise this coming spring.

As I write this, it’s Saturday night, exactly one week after losing power. We had a very unusual October snow, dumping almost a foot of very wet snow on us. The real problem wasn’t the snow, but he fact that we still had most of the leaves on the trees. This creates a huge area to catch leaves and weigh down branches. We lost dozens of trees and many times that for branches. The limbs took down our power, and with it our water, lights, refrigeration, and, generally, life as we know it. I worked a little this week, maybe 30 hours in all. By itself, that is a major cut in what I normally do, but it felt very strange to have chunks of days allocated to using a chainsaw and not protecting my company’s data from harm (aka my day job).

Our house has been mostly dark, mostly cold, with a few limited assistances. We are fortunate to have a propane fireplace in the Florida room, and, of course, propane to use. Until yesterday, a propane delivery wouldn’t have been possible with all of the downed trees. So we cut trees, and cut trees, and cut trees. The pile of wood shown above is just from one part of the front yard. It was really a mess, but propane delivery could occur if needed.

After working for hours almost every day this week, my feet were absolutely killing me. I had set a podiatry appointment earlier in the week for Friday, although with a partner of my normal podiatrist. He was excellent as well, helping me to understand what was going on and why I had so much foot pain. More importantly, he has me on a regiment of a few activities and meds designed to help alleviate the pain for good. He sent me to our local New Balance store for OTC inserts and to the local CVS for anti-inflammatory meds. He also gave me some stretching / massage exercises to do with my thumb on the heal and instructions to roll it on a golf ball when sitting still, especially at work. Both of these are intended to break up the tissue, similar to a foam roller. I then ice it afterwards and continue on the anti-inflammatories for at least a few weeks.

Finally, the blue boot. I get to wear an uncomfortable, bulky blue boot to stretch the tendons at night. I’ve started off with a few hours, but with no lights and no heat, the huge number of blankets on the bed have made the first few nights not so successful. When power is returned, we should be able to dump many of the blankets in exchange for the electric one, making the boot effort more effective. For now, a few hours each evening, plus the inserts each day will be my main plan of attack. I’m also attacking the gym with a vengeance once power returns and showers are no longer a logistical chore to do.

Fall Snow, Feet, and Work Demands

Okay, this photo is not really from October, 2011, but it might as well be. We are currently in the midst of a huge snowstorm and it’s only October 29th.

Okay, this photo is not really from October, 2011, but it might as well be. We are currently in the midst of a huge snowstorm and it’s only October 29th.

So it’s December and the snow is falling as you’d expect in New England. Wait – it’s actually only October 29th and we have had the most significant snow event ever in October in Connecticut. While a few inches of snow is normally no big deal, snow this early brings snow to trees that still have an abundance of leaves, increasing the number of places that snow can weigh down trees. Put this in the midst of no real cold to date, and you have a wet, heavy snow that is successfully dropping branches and whole trees with almost a constant snapping sound heard from inside my house.

One of those snaps was a branch of mine dropping from high above, dropping the branch onto the “feeder” line that brings power, phone, cable and Internet to my home. The line was literally pulled from my home with the weight of the branch. While we didn’t have power at our home before the branch snapped, we now have no phone (even via a manual touch-tone phone) and certainly no Internet or cable. Based on a tweet response from my power company, I have notified our local police department who was “adding it to the list.” This storm is barely started and wind will continue throughout the night, furthering dropping snow covered tree limbs and further putting us in the dark. The real down side is that we are currently unable to get out of our driveway with any of our vehicles due to the downed line, and cannot even start to clean things up until the power company turns off power at the street. I am presuming that we’ll be without power for a number of days or longer. At least we can shower at the gym (all) or I can use the gym facilities at work to clean up. That said, if we cannot get out of the driveway, those solutions may be mute.

So my foot is no better. The Plantar Fasciitis in my right foot seems to be somewhat better but then flares up light a stone in my shoe. Today, for example, my foot was incredibly painful as the day progressed. Another problem that I seem to be having is pain in each of the forefront pads of both feet. On Friday, I was able to make an appointment with my local podiatrist for next Friday to get checked out. While it is not with my normal guy, I am hoping that I can get some relief from  the daily aggravation of the pain. I have not run in over six weeks and it’s driving me nuts, but more importantly, the daily pain is driving me nuts more. My feet have never hurt so much and I just can’t imagine it being this bad going forward. I am looking for a quick solution, or at least one with a known outcome. On Friday, I may know both.

Work has continued to drive up demand for my services – working longer and longer hours with little hope of a light at the end of the tunnel. I work with two other individuals and we are at a definite different level of production for our position. I am by far the most senior, most experienced directly in Information Security, and by far the most sought after person on my team. We have had a significant shift in our management structure in the three+ years I have been in my current position. We’ve had a direct manger, then another one, then moved to reporting to a well-regarded VP, to another one after that. Finally, our team has shifted to working for another group altogether, and a new guy to boot. We are shifting who reports to whom, and how much responsibility each person has based on both ability and value to the organization. So, without a shift in pay or available resources, some of us are doing significantly more responsible things than others at an equal level in the company. While this blog is in no way meant to talk about my job or my responsibilities, I did want to mention that I’m feeling buried in my job and have allowed that to completely derail my efforts to get in and stay in shape.

I’m feeling fat (I am) and out of shape (getting there) and out of sorts as to how to work in the physical activity I need to get back on track and start losing weight and feeling better again. When I stepped on the scale today, I knew I would be higher than I wanted – but was shocked that I was as heavy as I was more than a year ago. My work in between was seemingly for naught. While I know how to fix this, I need to have the foot fixed and than to set a serious goal of putting myself first and my job second. Without having my head clear and body feeling good, I am in no position to continue to perform at my best at work and drive to results.

So, once I have seen the doc this week, I will create my NO EXCUSES plan for getting my act back in order.

  • No more excuses for not going to the gym, even if I can’t walk or run.
  • No more excuses for not getting to bed at night, even if I have too much to do and can’t wind down my brain.
  • No more excuses for not taking my lunch, even if I haven’t planned it the night before or am running late.
  • No more excuses. Period.

Once I get power back, that is…