Long ago (1988) I moved to Berkeley and started sending a monthly "newsletter" to my Boston friends. When I returned to Boston (1993), I continued the tradition for about five more years (or until I had kids). Looking back, I realize that I was actually blogging. Each newsletter contained anywhere from a few to several blog posts. Having been silent for the past decade or so, I've decided to resume these activities. Don't expect anything profound -- I tend to focus on what I find entertaining or amusing and perhaps sometimes informative. We shall see!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two steps forward, one step back

Here I am wrapping up week eight since the cast came off. Things were going well. At the end of last week I started asking about running -- well, I continue to ask about running, but now I feel like I've progressed backwards. I have this sharp burning pain right at the ankle. The PT responded by backing off a bit -- she still lets me do 7 minutes on the elliptical (a very cool one with free moving foot rests), but we're not pushing much. I saw the Orthopedist's PA (Physician's Assistant) and she didn't seem terribly worried -- said that sometimes you get nerve entrapment from the scar tissue.

So, no one thinks it's a big deal, but well, it's annoying. Having worked hard to become relatively mobile and pain free, it's a drag to be limping again and in pain. I continue to have pretty good mobility, I can feel my little ankle work its heart out when I do all sorts of interesting balancing exercises (hmmm -- I should play Wii FIT this weekend), so I think all is good, but I'd like this pain to go away.

On the other hand, when I asked the PA about soccer, she thought winter was safe, but thought three months might actually be doable -- that would get me on the field in time for our fall tournament! It seems that the fracture is healing nicely -- almost all the gaps are filled in with new calcium and there are only a few small pockets left. I go back in 4 weeks for another X-ray and what I hope to be a solid bone with no gaps.

As for now, Go Breakers! (We're in 3rd place and while 1st place seems out of reach; 2nd doesn't seem that far away.)

- M

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Me and Carli

Finally -- I actually got some info on Carli Lloyd's rehab. Why am I so obsessed? Because I broke my ankle the same day and while I don't claim to be in the same shape as Carli, I also don't expect to rehab any more quickly than she does. So, here is the article on what she's been up to.
And here is my comparison:

When InjuredApril 25April 25
Age (when injured)4828
Length in cast6 weeks2 weeks
Length in boot2 days2 weeks
Length on crutches6 weeks4 weeks
Day/week in PT25
OK'd to run,pivot,run,pick???~ July 10
On the field??????

I go to the orthopedist next week and my goal is to get an OK to run. Fingers crossed!

- M

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

6 on 6 off

It's been six weeks since I got my cast off. That means I've not spent six weeks in a cast and six weeks out of a cast since I broke my ankle. Let's say that I wholeheartedly recommend the out-of-cast experience more than the in-cast experience. The last sixe weeks have practically flown by while the preceding six, well, let's just say "flying by" isn't how I'd describe them.

I continue rehab, usually twice a week. When not in rehab, I'm spinning every day and doing a stretching regime and getting back to a bit of weight strengthening (still not back to my standard 45 minute workout, since the ankle exercises take time and there is only so much time I can spend in the basement each morning). Most days the ankle feels pretty good and it hardly limits mobility. When I do a runner's stretch, I can't really feel it in my calf, but it sure puts plenty of strain on my plantar fascia (resulting in heel pain). So the truth of the matter is that there is still some pretty limited mobility somewhere -- I believe it to be a tight achilles (which I stretch) and also residual swelling in the front of the ankle. The swelling is almost gone -- if you look closely you can tell which ankle I broke, but you now have to work at it. I can walk downstairs with an almost imperceptible timing difference between the left and right feet (I roll down off the injured ankle just a tad more quickly).

Rehab continues to focus on building up strength in the ankle. It's kind of amazing what you take for granted. That said, I can stand on the left foot for 30 seconds on both a hard surface and a squishy foam one. The real difference is that I am acutely aware of all the tiny muscle compensations that are happening to keep me standing. It's actually quite remarkable what a little workout this is for those little muscles, ligaments and tendons in the ankle.

I go see the orthopedist next week -- I'm hoping she is pleasantly surprised with my progress and updates my prognosis for playing again. I note that even Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC, US National Team) does not appear to have returned to the playing field, so I can't complain that I'm out for the summer. However, just as Lloyd is probably determined to play in the Concacaf world cup qualifiers, I'd be pretty jazzed to play in the fall season for the Chucks, even if the stakes are much lower.

- M

Friday, July 16, 2010

Peter Flies Again

Directors Andrea Southwick and Brett Camp brought to life the wonder that is Peter Pan last night on the Summer Fenn stage. Based on J.M. Barrie's story, adapted by Kathryn Schultz Miller, we learn of the story of Pan through our three stars, the twinkling kind, not the tabloid kind, played by Bridget Patenaude, Kylee Bowen, and Teagan Seltzer. The stars tell the story with a luminous attitude, only possible in 10-year-old girls.

The Pans, Peter and his shadow, masterfully played by Eleanor Tolly and Alison (Bob) Jabs, accompanied by the kazoo-speaking Tinkerbell (Maxine Markowitz), bring Wendy (Tess Ross-Callahan, Eva Santos), John (Julian Blatt), Michael (Chadwick Valpey), and the assembled audience on that mystical journey to Neverland. Upon arriving in Neverland, our travelers are greeted by a trio of elves, played by Nina Knight, Rose Crawford, and Emma Platt.

But their joy is short-lived, as Hook (Melissa Morgan) appears delivering a commanding performance, earning her character both fear and compassion from the assembled crowd. Hook's assorted pirate followers, Smee (Maya (Milsa) Capasso), Tattoo Bill (Tessa Englander), Noodler (Jamie Monteleone), and Skylights (Alec Mills), failed to terrify, but rather delighted -- no one can forget Noodler's agile handling of the ingredients list, Skylight's keeping an eye on things, or Smee's careful management of Tiger Lily.

Although Peter ultimately defeats Hook in battle, it is not Peter Pan that instills fear into the heart of Hook. No, that job is left to the Crocodile (Tess Ross-Callahan), whose snappy performance, authentic costume, and reptilian motion left lasting images in the minds of all who saw the show.

The Summer Fenn players will be presenting their final performance today, Friday, July 16 on the Fenn campus.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ankle Rehab: Finishing up Week 3

So, what does it feel like to be three weeks off crutches? My mobility is quite good -- most of the time I can walk normally, although when I first stand up after sitting for a long time or after a long stint on my feet I do limp. What causes the limp? There are two things: first there is now a fairly constant pain on the outside of the ankle. The PT says this is pretty normal, and she didn't find anything wrong. Second, the ankle still swells a lot. After standing for a reasonable length of time, it will look like someone glued a clementine to my ankle. That swelling causes restricted mobiity and also stretches the skin and makes my heel hurt.

Speaking of heels -- this whole episode seems to have triggered plantar fasciitis in both feet. On the left (injured) side, the sprain causes muscle tightness in the achilles and calf, which in turn puts strain on the plantar fascia. On the right side, it's less clear. I think that the strain of being one-footed and hopping around a lot put undue stress on the right foot and triggered some inflammation. At this point, I don't see the right side doing any extra work, but I can tell you I'm worried about plantar fasciitis on that side.

PT sessions are both challenging and enjoyable. I spend 5 minutes warming up on a stationary bike and then do a variety of strengthening and balance exercises.

Some of the more entertaining ones:
  1. Stand on the weak leg and do resisted movements in all four directions with the good leg.
  2. Stand on the weak leg with a tilted trampoline about six feet away to my left (weak) side. Now play catch with a 2-pound medicine ball, bouncing it off the trampoline.
  3. Do squats on a rocker board (this is kind of cool -- the board just rocks like mad even if I'm feeling kind of balanced).
  4. Stand on rocker board and play catch with a 2-pound medicine ball.

After all that I do some stretching and then ice the ankle for ten minutes. Up until this week, we were also doing estim with the icing, but that doesn't really seem to be having an effect, so she stopped doing the estim. From what I can tell, I'm about to plateau -- it's clear that I've got good range of motion, but there is still a fair bit of strengthening to go. I think this is about the time when the going is about to get rough, but we'll see.