cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (alas)
In the last couple of years, I have blown out both my ACLs (1. landed badly from a jump split kick, 2. lunged forward while sparring and my weight shifted badly) and had (patellar ligament) surgery to repair them. At this point, if I tear one of my ACLs again, the surgery repair will be a best-outcome day-to-day function, not good enough for athletic activity. After the first one and physical therapy, I went back to my old style. ...Not going to do that again. Also, I think my friends would restrain me if I tried.

But I want to go back to training. More carefully!

I'm looking for something interesting (preferably not Tai Chi) and physically challenging that's good on the knees. That means fewer cutting and twisting activities (like landing from jump spin kicks). Specific schools would need to be in Minneapolis, probably uptown/downtown/south.

I have read that Judo and Tae Kwon Do are both very bad for this. One of my friends recommended Aikido, but it's hard to find actual information on injury rates.

Any links to actual statistics for ACL injury rates compared between MA styles would be awesome! I tried to find 'em, but my Google-fu failed me.


Edited to add: Not going with Aikido, alas, fairly high injury rates, though it's hard to find specifics on ACLs--I plan on checking out a Shotokan Karate school soon. Seems like that may be best? Non-contact sparring, more structured movements, fewer fancy kicks.... I'll need to talk with the instructor etc. of course, but I liked the school Adam pointed to.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (knee x-ray)
It's been more than six months since I had knee surgery to replace the ACL in my right knee.

I have a fair amount of discomfort in both my knees (the left one's knee surgery is a year older). A lot of it is related to my current job location, which has me doing a lot of standing and a lot of lifting and shifting heavy boxes. If I stand for more than an hour or so, my knees start aching. Well, it's hours and a job, so I'm taking it. I'm also taking a lot of aspirin/ibuprofen/Tylenol--daily, a lot of the time two-four times a day. I'm trying not to use narcotics much, though they're the only thing that knocks the pain away for a significant amount of time once my knees start hurting.

This makes it sound horrible, but it's not that bad, really! I've got almost all my range of motion back, and the little bit of bend I've lost may be gone forever, though I'm still doing all my stretches. I do knee therapy exercises for flexibility several days a week (they're easy), but I'm getting lazy and not doing the strength-building ones so much. They're time-consuming. Also, I can get a lot of the same benefit from biking.

I'm able to do stuff! I'm biking to and from work almost every day, and it doesn't seem to aggravate my knees at all. I've signed up for a Shaolin Kung Fu class beginning in a couple of weeks, so it'll be interesting to see how that goes. My knee brace showed up in the mail a couple of days ago, and I'm approved for full activity levels as long as I wear the brace for another year. This is great, and wonderful, and also scary, as I am terrified that I'll run down the stairs and I'll blow my knees out. Or I'll chase after a bus and.... Or something will startle me and I'll swerve and.... Or I'll jump down from a chair and.... Or I'll be doing Kung Fu and.... Or I'll play tag and.... Or I'll try volleyball/capture the flag/basketball/anysportatall and....

Mostly for my own future reference--quad exercises! Do them! Squats, leg presses, lunges.

Conclusion: Nervous as hell, still dealing with pain issues, but happy to be approaching normal activity levels.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (crazy)
Things done today:
* Had one-month post-surgery knee checkup. Everything looks fine, my mobility is good for the time range, and I've got a prescription to start doing "official" physical therapy. The appointment was for 8:30 a.m. Phil got up and went to work, I rolled over in bed and tried to go back to sleep (which also was bad because it would have left kitten unfed and unwiped). Fortunately Phil remembered I had a doctor's appointment and came back and got me. Whew! Good husband earns brownie points. Between that and him putting up with pain-and-sleep-deprivation-induced crankiness, I think there will be the baking of brownies this weekend. (Yes, my brownie points are literal.)
* Finished writing my after-the-end-of-the-world short story, "Missing You In Pieces." Only about 600 words over-budget. Stay tuned for the critiquers call.
* Started weaning the kitten by mooshing formula with kitten food pate and letting him eat it off my finger after he'd had some straight formula. He likes the idea a lot, but he's shaky on implementing it. He ended up wearing a large amount of the food.
* Witnessed kitten's first solid bowel movement. Kitten formula may have the things a growing kitten needs, but it's not 100% ideal for their digestive system. There have been poosplosions. This is a huge improvement. I have hopes he may soon start using his litter box, too.

Things forgotten at home when I went to the job:
* Thumb drive with my writing files on it.
* MP3 player with things to listen to if there's office projects (so far, no).

Food things acquired recently:
* On my way home yesterday I picked up fat-free Target fudgesicles (better than sugar-free, because I despise the taste of artificial sweeteners--and alas that fudgesicles are one of those things that are difficult to find in an unaltered state), blueberry toaster strudel, and DanActive (for the taste--reminds me of tasty sweet Nigerian yogurt drinks, or of sweet lassi).
* Phil, because he knows what makes me happy, bought real fudgesicles for me on his way home. He's definitely getting brownies.
* The CSA was duly split last night, so I have many tasty vegetables and some tasty fruit. Yellow watermelon is heaven. Also need good tomato recipes.
* On my way to work this afternoon, I was handed a bag of pretzel crisps and a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese. Yum. La vache qui rit cheese always reminds me of growing up in French-colonized West Africa. And I love working in downtown, where free things are handed out on the street corners quite regularly in summer.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (knee x-ray)
My 2-week-post-surgery checkup went well. There are no signs of infection at the incision sites. My range of motion is as good as can be expected at this point--I can't quite straighten it, and while I can barely bend it 90 degrees, it's pretty painful to do so. Sitting at a desk is going to be--interesting. And they're scaling down the painkillers, which I expect to be No Fun. They handed me copies of the x-rays and photographs of the inside of my knee, some truly gory stuff that I'll be posting shortly! The doctor also added leg raises to the knee exercises I'm doing, and believe me when I say they're no picnic. The really happy news is that I no longer need to use a knee brace or crutches; I can wobble around on a cane. I can carry things again! I'm not entirely useless!

In other news, tonight Phil (sort of) rose to the challenge of cooking CSA vegetables while I'm out of commission. Tonight's dinner: buttery dilled green beans. Recipe: Boil large pot of heavily salted water. Wash bag of beans, chop off tips and discard. Boil beans for 6 minutes. Add 1/2 stick butter, 1 small bunch minced dill weed, and salt and pepper to taste. Would probably be better with some lemon juice or bacon.

Oh, and a fudge bar--my favoritest frozen treat in the world.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
And lo, Phil did bring home Taco Bell supreme tacos for dinner. And there was happiness and the contented silence of chewing deliciousness. And it was good.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (knee x-ray)
This whole "being dependent on Phil to get me anything that can't be carried in a bag" (since I'm on crutches and don't have a hand free to hold stuff) and "Phil has to do all the cleaning" thing is getting old. He's frustrated because he doesn't really want to cook and doesn't really know how to cook the CSA stuff. He's decidedly cranky about the amount of stuff that just isn't getting done and the number of requests I have. And I am cranky that he gets annoyed and says he's not going to get me something rightthenwhenIwantitnow! That said, I'm very grateful that he's here and taking care of me and generally being patient and supportive. Hopefully this Friday the doctor will say I can go to a cane and a knee brace, which will at least make me capable of doing some stuff.

This morning's a case in point. I wake up when his alarm goes off, and, er, nature's urgent call means I can't just wait until he's gone to trek upstairs and take care of things. Plus he usually snoozes the alarm for a half hour anyway. I go upstairs, and since I'm up and it's early and I don't want to have to do this again, I go through the whole nine yards: getting a clothes I can wear; unstrapping the knee brace; waterproofing my incisions (saran wrap + waterproof tape); showering; reapplying bandages; strapping on the knee brace; and brushing teeth. This process delays Phil enough that he has to rush out the door in the morning, which means he doesn't have time to make me cereal. And the poor SOB still has to return a library book and pick up pain pills for me on his way home. Not to mention Mt. Washmore in the kitchen.

Then, of course, I fell back asleep, on and off, until 1 PM. I wake up, strap on the knee brace to trek up the stairs to freshen up, take pain pills, make myself a lunch that I can carry in a bag (toasted asiago bagel with a little cheddar cheese--yum!), eat, strap on the knee brace to move the chair closer for my knee stretches, do my knee stretches (owieeee!), strap on the knee brace to get ice, ice my knee, strap on the knee brace to return the ice to the freezer--and it's 3 PM.

I need to figure out how to reprogram myself to think not, "I should remember this for XYZ," but, "I should write this down." All I can remember of the awesome dream I had this morning is that something was eating a cave full of people, but first it dipped the edges of the cave in something that stood in for margarita salt, and I thought it was hilarious. See? Not useful. And a couple of days ago, in the shower, I had a great idea for a Twitter-length short story, and I have no idea what it was now. Corollary: I need to keep pen and paper within reaching distance in the shower. I've had so many great and now-faded ideas in there.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (knee x-ray)
x-posted to Fb/LJ--

I am doing better. Better than I was immediately after surgery, and definitely better than I was at this point in my recovery after my first ACL knee surgery. I have a little bruising in addition to the incision, and some pain, but nowhere near as much as I did last time. I'm not out of my head from pain or painkillers, also unlike last time.

This time, they didn't find any meniscus damage (or very very little) when they went in to do surgery, so everything took the projected amount of time and all they had to do was repair the ACL and take care of some abrasiveness on the underside of my knee cap. I had a cold, so they couldn't put me under general anesthesia like they did last time. The anesthesiologist said it was probably better not to anyway. So I got a spine nerve block and another nerve block on my leg to help with the incision. I was wide awake all the way to the operating room, where they put in the nerve blocks and then gave me a sedative, and I woke up still in the operating room, instead of several hours later in the recovery room. They also sent me home with a fanny pack holding a softball-sized bag of anesthetic that fed an IV line into my leg for the first three days to help get me past the worst of it. Brand name? O-no.

I can get around on my own wearing a thigh-to-ankle immobilizing brace and using crutches, though the brace hurts to wear. I tried to do a little with one crutch so I could carry things with the other hand, and that was not such a good idea. The pain pills are doing a pretty good job of controlling my pain, though alas, they are not super-fun pain pills--I'm neither pleasantly muzzy-headed nor filled with warm fuzzies. I've begun doing the most basic physical therapy exercises: putting my leg up on a chair and letting it hang; and trying to bend my knee without putting any weight on it. They hurt. I cannot bend my leg yet, but the straightening seems to be going well, as it has since I injured my knee.

I'm spending all my time on the couch in the living room, either reading the internet (email, blogs, newsletters, etc.), watching TV, or sleeping. Pain wakes me up when the pills wear off, so I've been sleeping very irregularly at night, and I tend to take 3-4 naps during the day, whenever I get sleepy, which is regularly. I've finished watching all of Criminal Minds on DVD, all of True Blood on DVD, the 2nd-to-last season of Monk, and I'm about to finish the first season of Buffy (rewatch, borrowed from a friend). I'm catching up on my writing newsletters, and I'm pleased that I'm clear-headed enough to actually get some writing-related work (and soon, writing!) done, though I'm cutting myself a whole lotta slack. Did I mention 3-4 naps a day?

WARNING: Beyond this point, there may be TMI and photographs.

Read more... )
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (knee x-ray)
x-posted to Fb/LJ

In a little over an hour, I'll be heading in for knee surgery to replace my torn ACL. (Yes, the other knee, this time.) I'll be out of surgery sometime this afternoon: barely mobile, heavily drugged, and ravenously hungry. They don't let you eat or drink after midnight of the day before, you see, in case you turn into a gremlin.

For the next three weeks I'll be on crutches and in a fair amount of pain and, as they say, not in my right mind. Then I'll be heading back to work and physical therapy, but I'll still be barely able to walk, stand, sit, or lie down comfortably. And I'll be using a cane for quite some time.

I plan on watching lots of TV for the next few weeks. That's about it. I probably won't be able to answer emails promptly, let alone go anywhere or do anything more active.

I will miss you all!
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (knee x-ray)
x-post Fb/LJ--

The knee surgery to replace my ACL is scheduled for this coming Monday, and I can hardly think of anything else. It's worse because I know what to expect this time around (I had the other knee repaired about a year and a half ago). I have no energy, no willpower, and my impulse control is remarkably poor. I think all my strength and willpower is going to the not-freaking-out-about-imminent-surgery project. With mixed results.

I've dealt with work emails. I've gotten my teeth inspected and (my very first) cavities taken care of. I've bought skirts and loose-fitting pants for post-surgery work wear. My family visited us and we visited Phil's family. I went to the opera, the zoo, and the Walker Art Museum*. I went to a nice restaurant with Phil last night for the last time for a while. I have a bed.

There's no way I'm hitting my Vicesteed editing goal before surgery--I'd hoped to finish this draft, but I'm only to Chapter 20. And writing/editing/anything time will be pretty much non-existent for the next couple of months, mostly because I'll be too muzzy-headed to do anything quality. I suppose I could write short stories, because it matters less if I muck those up.

There are still other things I want/need to get done before surgery. I'd like to get my bike fixed, so I can use it for physical therapy during the recovery (once I'm somewhat mobile). I'd like to get the dishwasher fixed, but that requires one more part to arrive and then a scheduled appointment with a repair guy. There's a wedding, and the surrounding events. There's the MNSpec writing meeting and critique session (the day before surgery), that I still need to get critiques done for. I need to finish uploading and labeling at least the 2009 orientation photos. I'd like to go to the MoA and look for more post-surgery clothes and comfortable dress shoes and tiny earrings, but that seems a distant possibility. I'd like to go to Fire Roast Mountain coffee shop in the afternoon this weekend, but other events may interfere. Oh, and I need to pay bills and see about that property tax refund and...and...clean the house really thoroughly one last time, and--.

* While I'm still a walker. Get it?
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (knee x-ray)
  • 14:05 Pretty sure the power guys changed a stoplight to green for me because I biked past in a low-cut top. Rock!
  • 18:08 -- Have officially hit the point where I'm getting invitations I will have to turn down because I'll be recovering from knee surgery.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)

  • 00:09 Thunderstorms every day 'til Friday = no biking to work = all knee exercises in the evening = no free time.

cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
It seems like everything's speeding up as the date for my knee surgery limps closer and closer. My schedule's packed with events, and I'm not where I wanted to be in various writing projects. It doesn't really matter. Things happen, you do what you can, and you don't shouldn't waste time whining and wishing.

It's much on my mind, the closer it gets.

06/15/2009 - Monday, photo gig all day

06/14/2009 - Sunday, no work. Photo gig in the afternoon.
* Read Writer's Digest, 5 Publisher's Lunch, WritersWeekly, FFWSmallMarkets, FundsforWriters, Duotrope newsletters.
* Updated Aswiebe's Market List, cleaned out old contests and anthologies, and uploaded newest version.
* Emailed newsletter and posted on website, livejournal, twitter, and facebook.

06/13/2009 - Saturday, no work.
* Finished crits (2 & 3 of 5) for Critters.
* Started getting "The Old Woman By The Sea" ready to edit. Printed off crits from the message board of the now-defunct collaborative project I wrote it for, left note to the effect that I was going to be revising it and submitting it elsewhere, and checked with one of the other members about whether it was okay for me to leave in references to something she'd created, even though it would be in an alternate-alternate world.

06/12/2009 - Friday. Worked all day. Some downtime.
* Approved MinnSpec new member.
* Posted writing log.
* Another private-locked penthius freewriting where the story idea is all. Been having more of those lately. Wish I had time to write them.
* Finished crit (1 of 5) for Critters.
* Worked on crit (2 of 5) for Critters.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (beware of cyclist)
Since biking home from work seems to be going well (no excessive knee pain or swelling), today I started biking both ways. I can do this because I'm now working in a large office that actually has !showers! for people to use.

Following the 11 bus route path, it took me 23 minutes to get to work, as good or better than busing time. Showering* took an extra 10 minutes, but I figure getting more of a workout is worth it. The 11 route has a number of small hills and doesn't have a separate bike lane, but is mostly along residential, not-too-busy streets.

This means I'm biking round-trip about 7 miles in roughly an hour every day. Don't even ask how much of that time is spent getting in and out of downtown. The construction has made traffic truly horrifying; I have yet to find a ninja route out. Still, it's a reasonable amount of exercise, though I really, really miss being able to get a hard workout in martial arts classes. I'm becoming all--soft. Grump.

But! Biking is good. It takes away my morning reading time on the bus, but now that I have a bed and a nightstand (it was the Weekend of Acquisition), I plan to put a lamp on said nightstand and start reading for a little while before bed. This might also help me with my longstanding getting-to-bed-on-time problem.

* Showering means I have to pack my work clothes with me, and a towel, and (apparently--there's supposed to be shower gel but it was almost empty) soap. I was irritated to discover that there was no way I could McGhiever the ottoman in the shower room into a secret hideyhole for my soap and towel. Well, not without serious construction. Which I'm still pondering. I could saw a door and hinge it and put a little lock on it and I bet nobody would notice....
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 10:45 - My knee hurts today. Not sure if it was a good idea or a bad idea to do a full set of knee exercises after a 4-hr roadtrip.
  • 12:57 Turns out pre-rinsing dishes before loading them in the dishwasher is bad (NYT):
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (experiment)
Attended: Writers Workshop, The Gathering, Writing in the Recession, First Wiscon Dinner, Opening Ceremonies, Haiku Earring Party, Livejournal Party.

Missed due to excessive haiku-writing: Ghostly Ladies. By the time I got there, it was standing room only, and that's not a good option for me right now, what with the whole "missing parts of knee" thing.

Made: Necklace/nametag chain of miscellaneous orange, brown, cream and red beads.

Gave away: Lots and lots of calling cards.

Met: Lots of lovely people.

Acquired: 3 crits of the first 3 chapters of Vicesteed, Star Trek sign, keychain, yo-yo, green bolo tie, 3 printed book excerpts, some business cards, and a pair of beautiful flowerlike blue earrings titled "Graduation at Pixie High."

Bought: 1 breakfast pasty (Not Good), 1 dinner at Nepali restaurant (Quite Good).
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 10:44 ++ The swelling in my injured knee has gone down enough that I can comfortably bike! (Is good exercise for folks with bad knees.)
  • 14:02 - Just stretched and ripped a hole in the elbow of my dress shirt. Okay, I need more business clothes.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing iffy)
04/27/2009 - Monday, full work
* Nothing--I think. My schedule right now is, "Work full time, come home and make dinner, do physical therapy exercises, go to sleep. Rinse, repeat." I really, really need to figure out how to wedge writing/editing/submitting stories time in there. Oh, wait! I read Poets & Writers on the bus ride to work. So that counts for a little.

04/26/2009 - Sunday, no work, but party cleanup and setting up a new computer, which kinda interfered with my work flow.
* Set up Google Profile. Yes, this counts as writing work, because a significant portion of that is getting your name out. Also added the profile info to my "places to update info" file--a crucial thing to have once you get a certain number of social networks/bios circulating.
* Made editing changes to Vicesteed ch. 15.
* Printed and filed 3 Critters critique of Vicesteed chapters 24-25.

04/25/2009 - Saturday, no work, but did host Phil's birthday non-party from noon on.
* [ profile] penthius freewriting (though you can't see it because it's one of those very rare "the idea is all" stories, inspired by one of the sets of guidelines I read. So unfortunately it also comes with a deadline.
* Read WritersWeekly, 2 Duotrope, 2 FundsforWriters, Critters, FFWSmallMarkets newsletters.
* Updated Aswiebe's Market List from the above newsletters.
* Thanked 2 critters for their crits of Vicesteed.
* Processed The Opinion Guy's form rejection of "The Radiator Burped."
* Processed Fusion Fragment's form rejection of "A Phoenix By Any Other Name."writing log.
* Posted writing log.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 12:14 + Advantages of a morning Dr's apt: sleeping in, pancakes, crossing a couple of emails off my to-do list.
  • 12:16 LOLcat priorities:
  • 14:12 + Dr said no more knee immobilizer. Hooray! - Probably painful "instability episodes."
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (editing despair)
04/19/2009 - Sunday, no work
* Did 3rd of 4 critiques for MinnSpec--was still 1 crit behind at the meeting. Excuses, I haz dem.
* MinnSpec writers group meeting and workshop. We discussed finding time and motivation to write, though it made a predictable sidetrack into the whole "organic" writing thing that many members seem to be enthralled by.

Note to self: Posting these dratted notations of things done and undone and half-done is a necessary writing discipline. So do it every day, already! Sure, there were knee injuries and drugs and way too much work at the day job. So what? That is the way it will be, but the basic writing disciplines must hold.
cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
  • 08:09 ---Forgot all my painkiller at home. Not a good start to the day.
  • 14:15 Coworker about equipment: Oh, you bitch! ...Sorry. Oh, you son of a biscuit!
  • 15:01 My parents address me as "dearly beloved gimp." :P
  • 15:03 My coworkers suggest I do something less hazardous, like skydiving or parasailing.


cloudscudding: Photo of Abra Staffin-Wiebe (Default)
Abra Staffin-Wiebe

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