Tuesday, August 28, 2012

PT Banned by the Geneva Convention??

"If you feel your flesh melting or burning away, you'll want to take this off"

That's what my Physical Therapist said to me as she hooked up this strange electrically-charged bandaid thingy. Okay, well, that's not exactly what she said. But is sure sounded like something close to that. And then my knee was attacked by a small swarm of teeny tiny bees. Well, maybe not, but that's what it felt like. In reality, it was Iontophoresis at work. Technically, iontophoresis is "a non-invasive method of propelling high concentrations of a charged substance, normally a medication or bioactive agent, transdermally by repulsive electromotive force using a small electrical charge applied to an iontophoretic chamber containing a similarly charged active agent and its vehicle" You can also use reverse iontophoresis to actually suck someone's molecules right out of their body. Sounds like a scary Dr. Who episode to me, but fortunately we weren't using the reverse kind today.

Shouldn't these be banned by the Geneva Convention?
But the killer-bee-swarm-electrocution-bandage is just one of the many fun and varied torture devices that my PT is inflicting on me in hopes of helping my knee get better. This one followed the Ice Scraper Guy. That's what I call the PT assistant who uses a variety of ice-scraperish implements to get my muscle and tendon fibers to stop adhering to each other. It's a really exciting process that is probably used in places like Guantanamo Bay once the Barney Song torture stops working. Now technically, this process is called "Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, or IASTM and "is a system of manual therapy that uses tools to diagnose and treat skeletal muscle and connective tissue disorders. Practitioners use the tools, which typically vary in size and shape--and which often incorporate a beveled leading edge--to palpate the affected area and reduce any adhesions in the muscles, tendons and connective tissue. The scraping action of the tools stimulates healing at the cellular level and enhances blood flow to the problematic area, which further stimulates the healing process"

That all sounds fine and dandy until someone actually applies it to your badly adhered IT band. Then the fun and games are over.

All joking aside, I love my PT. She's totally amazing and aside from inflicting various devices of torture on me is actually helping my knee feel a lot better. Not good enough to actually compete in the half-Ironman I had scheduled for next week, mind you, but better. Good enough for a 60 mile hill-climbing bike ride is good enough for me, right now, today. And that's why I won't be turning her in for violating the Geneva convention after all.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ironmom to IronGrandma??

Yeah, it's true! Not sure I'm ready to get used to be called "grandma" yet, but it will be at least a year before she's talking, so I have time to get used to it.

That's our daughter holding our first grand-daughter (and those of you keeping track, it's my step-son and daughter-in-law's baby, not either of our teens', thank heavens!) The new parents and world's cutest grand-baby are doing wonderfully and hopefully getting some sleep. We get to spend a couple of days adoring her before we have to head back home.

It seems like such a long time since we were at this point with our own babies, yet holding this little sweet thing it also seems like almost yesterday. What an adventure they are in for!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

For Olympic Athletes and Harried Housewives, the Prayer is the Same

Many of my friends are having a tough time lately, for one reason or another. They're beating themselves up over things they did or didn't do, words said or unsaid, choices taken or left behind. Looking at the Olympic athletes struggling for victory, you have to realize that many of them are going through the same thing. Most of them will never see Gold or stand on the podium with tears in their eyes. For most, it's a game of almost-ran, and the personal recriminations may be hard to avoid: If I'd done more intervals, eaten differently, used more video analysis, trained harder, I could've been there.

The media doesn't help. I'm sure glad in the wake of my own personal Ironman let-down that I didn't have cameras in my face as I puked or walked or struggled with my inner demons. How many of us could endure our personal athletic or inner struggles being exposed to public scrutiny? I think it shows amazing strength of character that the Olympic athletes can put themselves out there for themselves and their country and sport, and most of them are incredibly gracious, no matter the outcome.

Regardless of whether we win or lose, whether our life path feels like it's headed in the right direction or not, we all have pause to second-guess ourselves and to worry about our life's decisions and actions. In times like this, I like to remember the word Grace. I think it's no small wonder that the hymn Amazing Grace is one of the most enduring and well-loved of all time. As a matter of fact, when I chugged up the hill at the end of the first leg of the Ironman bike course, a group of bagpipers were playing just that tune, sending goosebumps up my arms. Allowing ourselves to experience Grace through all of life's turmoils is not always easy.

That's why my favorite prayer is very short and simple: "I am doing the best I can today. Lord, grant me your Grace." I don't even think it matters if you're Christian or Muslim or Jewish or Sikh or Buddhist. A prayer for Grace is the best gift we can give to ourselves and to the world. For when we act with Grace, whether it's doing our family's laundry or missing the medal stand by a fraction of a second, we bless ourselves and those around us.

Monday, August 06, 2012

You Might Be A Triathlete If...

...you're going to an important meeting and you accidentally put Glide under your arms instead of deodorant. I wondered why my pits were so slippery! Must keep them in separate drawers from now on.