Monday, March 29, 2010

Hey all! Just thought I'd drop a line to let you know that I'm still around. Just haven't been posting. Remember about a week ago when I said that I had pretty much healed my back injury in 4 days? Well, then I had to go and go crazy at the gym. (Note to self: kettle bells + diagonal/ rotational movements + ballistic movements + newly healing back injury = bigger back injury)

I've been slowly rehabing myself with the help of my talented co-workers and I've grudgingly accepted the fact that I'm a mere mortal. I've put my figurative foot down and gave myself a good scolding. Nothing but pilates and cardio for me for the next 3 weeks.

ANd now I can actually tolerate sitting long enough to post!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I had every intention of posting this earlier, BEFORE my trip to Vancouver, but I was a bit disorganized and wonky throughout the month of March and just didn't get around to lots of things. So a little late, I wanted to share a bit of information about the Paralympics. I was lucky enough to catch the opening ceremonies and two events (Sled Hockey and Slalom Alpine Skiing) after my conference.

I admit, posting info about an event on the day it ends is a little cheesy. Fortunately, this is a blog and not a professional publication in which case I would probably be looking for a new job right about now! Below is a copy of an article I wrote for an informational newsletter about the paralympics. Too late for 2010, but maybe early enough to get everyone thinking about 2012 and watching some alternative sporting events!

Here 'tis:

In early 2010, one of the largest sporting events in the world will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia. Thousands of elite athletes will gather to compete in a variety of winter and alpine sports. These athletes, who have trained rigorously for years, dream of appearing upon a podium to receive a gold, silver, or bronze metal. In may surprise you to learn, however, that these games are not the Olympic games.

On March 12, 2010, two weeks after the Olympic closing ceremonies end, the Paralympic Games begin. The Paralympics are a multi sport event for world class athletes with physical or visual impairments. There are six categories of athletes competing in the games: visually impaired, amputee, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, physical disabilities (such as dwarfism or congenitally malformed limbs), and other (such as traumatic brain injury or stroke). The paralympics are names for the Greek prefix "para" meaning "with" in reference to the fact that they run parallel to the Olympics.

The Paralympics got their start in 1948 in London when Dr. Ludwig Guttman, a neurosurgeon from the Stoke Madeville Spinal Cord Injury Hospital, organized a sporting competition for World War II veterans to coincide with the Olympic games. The Stoke Madeville Games continued to occur in London every four years as an international sporting competition open to war vets using wheelchairs. In 1960, the 9th International Stoke Madeville Games took place in Rome and became open to all wheelchair athletes, not solely war veterans. This was the first time the Stokes Mandeville Games, or Paralympics, as they were later renamed, were sanctioned by the Olympic committee as a parallel sporting event to the Olympics. In 1976, the Paralympic Games in Toronto welcomes athletes with other disabilities to compete and the International Paralympic Committee was formed.

Today, the summer Paralympics include 18 different events including rowing, track and field, equestrian, and wheelchair basketball and rugby. The winter Paralympics include alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, curling, and sled hockey. The 2010 games take place over a 10 day period, from March 12 through 21. The festivities include opening and closing ceremonies, sporting events, and cultural and educational forums.

Despite the recent increased visibility of adaptive sport (most notably the 2005 film Murder Ball depicting the US Paralympic wheelchair rugby team), most Americans are unfamiliar with the Paralympics. Comedian and Paralympic soccer player Josh Blue jokes in his stand up routine that he is often congratulated for his participation in the Special Olympics. (The Special Olympics, founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1962, are open to individuals with intellectual disabilities and strive to improve physical fitness, social skills, and a sense of personal accomplishment through sports and competition).

Unlike the Special Olympics, which are open to any individual with intellectual disabilities who wants to compete, the Paralympics are truly an elite event. Like the Olympics, the US Paralympic teams hold highly competitive try outs. Athletes may train at one of the 12 Olympic training facilities in the United States. Most athletes must juggle work and family life with training schedules of 30 or more hours per week. Athletic sponsorship, often a lifeline for Olympians, is extremely limited for Paralympic athletes.

Likewise, televised coverage of the Paralympics has been sporadic at best. Media coverage of the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing was available only as an online streaming video service through NBC affiliate Universal Sports.

However, the days of obscurity may soon be coming to an end. The United States Olympic Committe and Comcast Corporation announced the formation of the US Olympic Network on July 8, 2009. Set to launch in 2010, this network will be devoted exclusively to the broadcast of both Olympic and Paralympic competitions. Moreover, pressure has been increasing on major networks to broadcast the games from sources like Olympic Committee, Olympic and Paralympic athletes, and from grassroots organizations hosting online petitions.

Interest in the games is also increasing as the games come full circle to the games original participants: war veterans. In Beijing, 16 US military vets competed in the games; more are slated to compete in Vancouver in 2010. The US Paralympic committee sponsors military sports camps throughout the country to introduce veterans and military personnel with physical disabilities to summer and winter sports. Organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project and Veteran Training also assist disabled veterans in becoming active in competitive sport.

Dr. Ludwig Guttman died in 1980, but his dream lives on. The Paralympics has grown into the second largest sporting activity in the world. This international sporting phenomenon continues to inspire athletes, both disabled and non-disabled alike.

For more information about the Paralympic Games, visit

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I'm back (injured)

Well, I'm back from Vancouver and I just have to say that I'm eternally grateful that I do what I do and I work where I work because otherwise, I may be falling to pieces. (literally)

Tuesday, I was up at Whistler, watching downhill skiing -- blind slalom (can you even imagine?) and sit-skiing slalom. (more on how all that works later) In any case, I watched the morning runs and then went to have a bite to eat during the break when they were re-doing the courses. I returned at the starting time for the afternoon runs, but found out that they were delayed secondary to intense rain and fog. One delay turned into two, then three, and then I decided I had just about enough of standing in the pouring rain waiting. I figured I would watch the runs on television from my nice, dry hotel room.

While descending the bleachers, a group energetic, goofy kids pushed somebody in my direction. He collided with my upper back at the precise moment that my heel hit the step below me. I felt an immediate, sharp, intense pain in my right lower back at the posterior superior iliac spine. (written like a true physical therapist, if I do say so myself!)

I left the park only to get in a car and drive 2 hours back to Vancouver and then spent the entire day Wednesday in airports and planes -- NOT good for an acute back injury!!

But now on to the original point of this post: I luckily was on my feet all day at work on Thursday, interspersed with lying on mats and stretching, applying ice to my PSIS, and getting a great realignment from my co-worker. Even the asymmetric lifting I need to do getting people out of wheelchairs seemed to make things better. The end result? 4 days after a potentially serious injury, I'm 90% healed. ( a little sore still, but not IN PAIN)

I just feel so lucky that (1) I have a bit of understanding about the injury and what to avoid. I can totally see how it would be tempting to just go to bed and lie flat on my back until everything felt a little better. Which would have made things infinitely worse.

I'm glad that (2) I have an active job. If I had a desk job, I would have just about died! Plus, if I had, like, a lunch meeting with clients and had to SIT ( I couldn't sit. I was hanging half off a chair with one leg dangling while doing paperwork) That probably wouldn't have worked well in a business lunch, eh? I can roll all over the floor where I work and nobody would give me a second look.

Similarly, (3) I'm glad I have access to the modalities and expertise that I do, without needing to wait to get an appointment. I feel badly that sometimes our patients have to wait up to 3 weeks to get in.

So, overall, I'm back, I'm better, and I'm full of post ideas, so watch out!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

if you can't write poetry, live it
I'm off to Vancouver tomorrow!
Have a good week, y'all!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Books I've read..

Every once in a while, you experience something....a book, a movie, a TV show, a song, a lecture, a chance meeting with somebody on the street...that changes you in a small way. It's not that you enjoyed the book or really liked the song or found the person interesting, but your way of thinking shifts just a bit and you are actually changed as a person. Three Cups of Tea is such a book.

This book tells the story of Greg Mortenson, an American climber who becomes disoriented when descending after an attempt at summitting K2. In his exhausted state, he wanders off his path and find himself in a remote mountain village in Pakistan. Faced with a stranger, the people of this poverty stricken village take him in, provide him with food, shelter and care and essentially nurse him back to health.

Greg is so moved by the generosity and kindness of these people (who essentially have nothing, nothing at all) that he vows to return and build a school for the town where the children can learn in a warm, safe environment. And his life is changed forever.

Once a free spirited guy who worked only as much as he needed to fund his climbing adventures, Greg becomes a man with a vision of a better world. And he works tirelessly in the most extreme conditions imaginable to bring this dream to fruition.

Greg's humanitarian work through his organization, Central Asia Institute is truly inspiring. It's amazing to see how something as simple as a place for the village women to gather and sew, or pencils, or a rudimentary bridge can change the fate of an entire town.

I really don't know a lot about Pakistan or Afghanistan, despite the United States' relationship with these two countries, which should probably motivate me to learn a bit more about them. After reading this book, I feel like I know a bit more of the people of this harsh area as well as the politics that surround them. I also saw these countries in less of an us and them way and in more of a we way; we are all people together inhabiting the same planet and some of us are in a better position to help while others are in a position needing that help.

I'm not entirely sure I could ever be as selfless and Greg Mortenson and I'm positive I could never be as brave. But his story makes me want to be a better person. His vision has made me look at the things I do on a day to day basis in a new way; how each and every decision I make can have a greater effect than just upon me. His actions make me want to live a bigger life.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Barbecue blues

The weather was beautiful today so I headed out for a hike in the Blue Hills Reservation outside Boston. It was truly lovely, with bright blue, clear skies, warm air, and lots of people out with their dogs. I can't wait for summer!

I really needed a good day in the fresh air, too. I went out with some friends for a friend's birthday last night. We went out for barbecue and it just did not agree with me.

Later in the night, I said that I felt less than fresh. J asked if I had indigestion. But you know, the pain I was experiencing seemed way too intense to be something like post barbecue indigestion! It seemed more along the lines of....appendicitis!

Why, oh why do my friends find my discomfort so amusing? They should be gathering around me with concern, not pointing and laughing! It's always been this way.

Many years ago, I went to a barbecue restaurant in Atlanta with my friends, Joe and Erin. I don't remember the name of the barbecue joint, only that the walls were festooned with images of insanely happy cartoon pigs. Which seemed a little strange to me. I mean, if I were moments away from being turned into a pulled meat sandwich, I wouldn't be the least bit happy. These pigs looked like they had just won the bovine lottery or something. Strange.

But, I digest.

Later, during a movie, I experienced pain so intense and unyielding that I was positive that I was dying. (I don't remember what movie we went to see, as I spent the entire time kneeling on the floor ---the disgusting, sticky, slime covered floor -- with my head on the seat -- the disgusting, movie-popcorn-butter and fart-dust covered movie theater seat!) My entire torso was pulsating in pain. I was sweating, nauseous, and dizzy. I looked up at my friends and said "I think I'm having a heart attack. We need to leave. Now. I have to get to an emergency room."

They laughed at me. LAUGHED! Something about me being 27 with no cardiac risk factors and no family history of heart disease not to mention I had chowed down a giant pulled pork sandwich a mere two hours before. Whatever! I told them that they'd be sorry if I died, because I'd come back and haunt the two of them for the rest of their lives!!

Turns out they were right and I was wrong. But still.

So last night, when I told J that she may need to drive me to the emergency room later if the pain didn't subside, the response was pretty much the same.

"SO let me get this straight. I drive you to the emergency room so they can ask you what you had to eat earlier in the evening and you can say barbecue? And when they ask you if you tried TUMS or Pepto or Maalox, you'll say....?"

"Oh!" I said. "That's not a bad idea. I should go get some digestive medication!" As luck would have it, we just received a sample of Pepto Bismoquick dissolve tablets in the mail that day.

Fifteen minutes later, I looked over at J: "Hey! You were right. I feel much better. No wonder you're such a good nurse!"

J looked back at me. "Yeah. Imagine that."

Whatever. Barbecue or no barbecue, it could have totally been serious!

Friday, March 5, 2010

weekend wrap up

This week, the weather was like a pesky mosquito that buzzes around your ears all night yet never bites you. It snowed for like 75 hours straight with whipping wind and freezing cold air. And there was maybe 1 inch of accumulation! But the ocean was extra high and choppy and amazing to look at.

I watched a great movie: 500 days of summer. It begins with the lines "This is a story of boy meets girl. But I must warn you: it is not a love story" That just about sums it up, story wise. The music was great, the scenery, the non-linear way it told the story (day 1 to day 400 to day 33 to day 67, etc) the rather open ended way the movie finished...all good. (I've never been a neat and tidy, sum it all up at the end in a nice little package with a bow kind of girl)

And I still feel like I'm trying to pull myself out of the late winter slump that I've fallen into. I'm making it to the gym, I'm trying to eat better, I'm plugging away at projects (I'm getting frustrated that the high school pool was closed 3 times this week because -- hello! No snow accumulation!) but it seems like everything is still a struggle.

I tackled the project of organizing the paperwork. I usually do this on New Years, but I was in California on New Years, so I never got around to it. So I figured I need to organize and purge the file cabinets before I do my taxes!

And I read Green Yourself by Deirdre Imus. Its a bit of a environmental/ organic/ veganize your life guide. I decided to keep this book when done for reference. (It has some good recipes) And it's in keeping with the rest of the goals -- no paper plates, no shopping bags. I've also instituted drying the clothes on a drying rack rather than the dryer. Mainly because our dryer is on its last legs and it makes the worst high pitched screeching noise. I just can't deal with that.

And best of all, after the horrible weather this week, its supposed to be 50 this weekend. I'm gonna jump on my bike and go play!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March Goals

Oh, what a cold, sleety, slushy, sloppy day! I've been shivering non stop.

Makes me want to curl up and sleep for 2 weeks. Not write goals. But of the two choices, one is clearly wiser. So here we go:


1) Get taxes filed

2) Triathlon training in full swing!

3) Go out twice, again :)

4) Finish preparation for 3rd education presentation at work.

5) Have a movie nite with my buds!

6) Register for spring races

7) Reduce diet coke (again) while upping water intake

8) 6 servings of fruit/ veggies per day

9) resume and keep up with gratitude journal

10) Have a great trip to Vancouver!!

Luck o' the Irish to everyone!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

february goals

The past month, I got caught up in the February doldrums. It happens every year. February is the shortest month, but it somehow seems like the longest. And it really took the wind out of my sails this year. Soooo....when it comes to goals, I was, well, less than successful.

February Goals:

1) Marathon in 4:30. well, we all know what happened with that. But I did do my 20 mile run sub 9 min pace, so , well you know. Next time.

2) Triathlon training underway: half credit. I'm burning up the gym with bike/run bricks and circuit weight programs. But I have yet to make it into the pool.

3) Hair cut: Can you believe I haven't chopped this mop yet? I got an appointment next weekend though. SO half credit.

4) Go out twice in Feb: SUCCESS! Went out with some work friends to see a band, went to a party with other friends, and went out with some people I met at the expo in Myrtle Beach.

5) Cut down on sugar: big fat fail.

6) Increase water consumption: big dehydrated fail

7) work with scheduling to streamline admissions for clinic: ok. This was not my failure. You know the expression you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink? This was more like you can lead a horse to water but you can't guarantee the lake won't dry up. Too many other factors playing in. Back burner this goal for a while

8) Take 30 pics this month: well, I carried the camera around with me. Does that count?

9) Decide upon and purchase clipless pedals: picked em out...getting them this weekend.

10) COmplete 2 educational series for work: done and done!

March Goals to follow!!