Oct 31

Weekend Reading: Trick or Treat Edition

By Erin E. Templeton

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Happy Halloween ProfHackers! We hope that your day is full of treats and light on tricks.

For your weekend reading:

Apparently, Craigslist is not just for hook-ups and used furniture anymore. The Atlantic reports that people are also using it to list cemetery plots: “Shopping for Secondhand Graves on Craigslist.” …read more

Oct 17

Weekend Reading: Changing Leaves Edition

By Erin E. Templeton

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Another Friday is here, and that means another edition of Weekend Reading.

Tuesday, October 14 was E. E. Cumming’s birthday. In honor of his birthday, a piece from The New Yorker by Paul Muldoon has been making the rounds on social media. In addition, check out …read more

Oct 10

Weekend Reading: Lunar Eclipse Edition

By Erin E. Templeton

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Early Wednesday morning (6-7AM), there was a total lunar eclipse, an event where the whole of the moon turns a kind of reddish-orange. I was awake to see it, but despite my best efforts, it eluded me. According to Scientific American, the next full lunar eclipse won’t …read more

Oct 07

Towards clarity?

3020361085_f37fb25e92_zI went back to the doctor this morning for a check-up on my foot. Those of you who have been following the saga know that I was diagnosed with a metatarsal stress fracture seven weeks ago (for an injury that occurred on July 31). The good news is that the stress fracture has mostly healed, and I am cleared on that front to start working my way back to walking and then running.

The bad news is that my first metatarsal joint has other issues and is still both painful and inflamed. That is the source of my despair and why I haven’t made the transition out of the surgical shoe, why I gave up on walking after a few furtive attempts with Parker. To try and figure out what’s going on there, my doctor re-examined my MRI and X-Rays. There is evidence of a little arthritis, but no bone-chips, cracks or other damage. So he gave me a cortisone shot.

I’ve had several cortisone shots: two in my right knee (20 years apart), one in my left wrist, and one in my left ankle. Of those, the ankle was probably the most uncomfortable. Until today. Holy did that suck. Hopefully, it solves the problem, which as far as we can tell, is inflammation in that joint. I won’t know for a couple of days, but it is possible that this injection kicks the inflammation and lets me move on to start the reentry process. Best case scenario: I can start wearing regular shoes and walking a little at a time in a couple days.

But it is also possible that this is a temporary solution (or no solution at all) to a long-term problem. I will cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, I am going to grit my teeth until the cortisone kicks in (if you’ve experienced the joy that is cortisone, you low that these things get worse before they get better), and cross my fingers that it works.

 

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Steven Depolo]

Oct 03

Weekend Reading: Hello October Edition

By Erin E. Templeton

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Happy Friday, ProfHackers!

The Atlantic confirms what many us have known for some time now: “Online Relationships Are Real.” Also from The Atlantic is an interesting look at they way NYU philosopher Helen Nissbaum is shaping national policy on privacy.

It’s football season, which means different things for …read more

Sep 28

A bit of despair.

4908973430_c739367fe9_zI am grateful for all the people in my life who care about how I’m doing. I really am. But I’m having a more and more difficult time answering questions about it. What I say, on a good day: “It’s getting there . . .” What I say on most days: “I have no idea” usually accompanied by some kind of shrug. This isn’t what my friends and family want to hear. This isn’t what most people want to hear. It’s definitely not what I would want to hear. There aren’t words for how badly I wish I could answer otherwise.

The truth?

Lately, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to run again. . .

It’s been 9 & a half weeks. I can’t remember what if felt like to be able to walk without a limp let alone do anything else. Running feels impossibly far away. I see photos of myself from Big Sur, and I wonder who that person is (or was) and where she she went. Why did she have to leave? Who am I without her? I catch a glimpse at the “run” badge on my RoadID and feel like an impostor. I read updates from my friends who are gearing up for their fall marathons, and I resent them for being able to do something that I can’t, for reminding me of my limitations. Then I get mad at myself for my resentment. I miss being outside. I miss racing. I miss sweating. I miss all of it.

I’ve been following orders. I’ve been conservative. I’ve stayed off it as much as I can and then some. I have given up my fall racing calendar. I have given up walking my dog. I have given up riding my bike. I have given up going to the store for myself. I don’t walk anymore; I drive or get rides pretty much everywhere. I’ve given up cutting the grass for myself. Doing any kind of yard work. Standing in class. Wearing actual shoes. I’ve been taking Vitamin D, Horsetail, Calcium & Magnesium, Symphytum Officinale, and the usual multivitamin, joint supplement, & Omega 3. It occurred to me yesterday that I could probably just skip food with breakfast and be fine with all these stupid pills. But they are supposed to help. All of these things are supposed to help.

And yet, here I am. It’s been 9 & a half weeks. WHY ISN’T IT BETTER? What else do I have to do? What other sacrifices can I possibly make? Of what else can I possibly let go? As if there’s some magic spell or curse that could be broken if only I knew the right fix. Would that it could be so.

I send this out into the world in part as an attempt to purge these feelings and send the negativity as far from me as possible. I also send it out in an attempt to be honest with myself and others. I am trying to be patient with myself and my limitations, but it’s hard.

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user David DeHetre]

Sep 26

Weekend Reading: Pumpkin Spice Edition

By Erin E. Templeton

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Autumn 2014 officially began this week. Less daylight and cooler temperatures are here (or on their way), and pumpkin spice is taking over: from Starbucks and beer to yogurt, bagels, PopTarts, and hummus (side note: yogurt?! PopTarts?!)–even Trident chewing gum. Alternately, you might consider using the …read more

Sep 23

Dancing in the Rain? Underwater Audio Review

By Erin E. Templeton

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Thanks to a stress fracture in my foot, I’ve been spending a lot of time underwater lately. Swimming laps and pool running is the only kind of exercise my injured self can tolerate right now, so it’s what I’m doing. But as some of you know, pool running in …read more

Sep 16

Some Progress

13067187205_daf5c5ef0c_zI had my check-up at the orthopedist this morning, and the good news is that there are visible signs of healing. The weirdness is that the healing is in a different place than we thought it would be, It’s back on the 3rd metatarsal rather than the first. We expected things to be happening over on the 1st based on the MRI, but signs of bone regeneration are signs of bone regeneration, and I’ll take it where i can find it.

From here, the road back to running is still a lengthy one–another four weeks before I can try. I was not surprised to hear this because while my foot feels much, much better than it did, it still feels like there is something wrong. I can get around more easily than before, but I still can’t get around easily. So my doctor and I are choosing to be conservative in order to give me the best chance possible for Paris. That means more time in the pool, which I am absolutely fine with. I start transitioning back to running shoes this week (though not for running), and next week, I can start to add short walks to the routine. Parker will be very happy to hear that!

My doctor thinks that I should be able to meet my next goal, which is to be able to run outside–if only for a little bit–on my birthday, which is just under four weeks from now. The transition back to running outdoors will have to be a slow one, so I think that I will take advantage of this opportunity to try and train Parker to run with me. I haven’t done so before because I lacked the patience for it, but I think that it could be a fun way to ease back in for both of us.

Thank you to everyone who crossed their fingers and sent good thoughts & wishes–I am grateful for the support. In the meantime, if you need me, you can probably find me in the pool.

 

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Aurel].

Sep 06

Chlorine is my jam

 

8589583606_4b4ed6c03d_zFirst things first, that photo is not me. I like to think that I look like her when I am swimming, but the truth is, I have no idea. Because I’m swimming, so the only things I am sure of are these:

  1. There’s a big black line that runs the length of the pool.
  2. I am most comfortable when I breathe every four strokes to the right.
  3. Breathing is much louder when done underwater.
  4. Lots and lots of people who swim in the same pool as me forget to remove their band-aids before entering the water.

 

My foot is still broken. But it is healing. Slowly. Or maybe it is healing at a moderate rate, even quickly for a cracked bone–I don’t know–but it feels like it is happening in slow motion. I’m not the most patient of people when confronted by my own limitations. Or really limitations of any kind. I am grateful that many of my friends, family, and colleagues are more patient than I am. I’m not always the most cheerful person in the room right now. Especially if getting to that room requires stairs.

So I’ve been swimming (and aqua jogging, or pool running). For the quantitative types among us, I’ve spent a little over 24 hours in the pool in the last three weeks. That might strike some as excessive. It would probably strike me as excessive. Except for the fact that the time I spend in the pool is the only time that I can move through the world without pain. The pain of walking isn’t excruciating. But it is uncomfortable enough that I am avoiding it and avoiding things that require it. This includes walking my dog,  Parker, which  for the last 6 almost 7 years has been a daily source of joy for both of us. I miss it terribly. But swimming doesn’t hurt. When I swim, I can forget that my foot is broken (except for the flip turns, which I do only with my left foot). Aquajogging doesn’t hurt either. It’s about as exciting as watching paint dry, but it doesn’t hurt.

It occurred to me last week sometime that perhaps it is appropriate that my journey to Paris requires me to swim. Perhaps all transatlantic marathons should have such a prerequisite. Maybe not. Probably not. But it makes perfect sense to me that mine does. I think about Paris a lot when I’m in the pool.

I did break down and purchase a waterproof iPod this week. I’ve used it twice now, and it has really made a great difference, especially in the pool running. I’ve been listening to an an audiobook. Audiobooks, I have realized, are EXPENSIVE. And many of the ways to get them from libraries or the like require newer technology (the waterproof iPods are generally Shuffles, so the apps that many library interfaces require will not work). I’ve signed up for a trial membership with Audible.com, which is pretty cool so far. The headphones aren’t very comfortable, but I’m pretty sure none of the waterproof options combined with a swim cap would be.

It also occurred to me that maybe there is a magical number of laps I need to swim or minutes I need to aqua jog for my foot to be healed. I don’t really believe that to be true, or at least the rational, non-magical thinking part of my brain doesn’t believe that to be true . . . but there’s nothing like an injury to trigger superstition. As I said to a friend, I am becoming the Queen of Magical Thinking of late.

I go back to the doctor on the 16th. Hopefully I will get good news.

 

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Simply Swim UK]

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