some show-and-tell

Today’s rehab report along with some photos of my knee in progress.

Day 58 (7/18)

After being gung-ho about going back to work, I realized that I wasn’t ready, yet. The first night without pain medicine was less than stellar. I had the CPM machine going at 80 degrees till about 2 AM and then felt some stiffness/bruising so I took my knee out of it and applied the pressure bandage and went to sleep without a cold pack system since I couldn’t feasibly hook it up and apply it myself. I awoke at around 4 AM with the knee feeling pretty stiff and, more worryingly, with a need to go the bathroom.

The horizontal to vertical pain now firmly entrenched in my head, I cautiously swung my legs down over the bed. Immediately, I felt the blood rush down my knee and the extreme pain had to be endured again. The pain is almost down in the calf area, not the knee, slightly to the sides where all the bruising is (I have pictures later for the curious few). It lasts for about 3-4 minutes–lesser if I decide to brave it and get on my crutches and try to put weight on the leg. I’m not sure what it is, but it is not comfortable. I used the restroom and collapsed back in bed. The gratification to going back to a horizontal position is instantaneous as well, so at least I have that respite.

Unfortunately, the lack of pain medicine (or perhaps the mental lack of pain medicine) kept me awake for most of the next few hours. Thankfully, at some point, my parents woke up and were able to apply the cold therapy machine on my knee. However, they’re going to be gone in a couple of days so I need this pain to go away soon or figure out how to get that machine going myself, in a comfortable manner. The ice was nice but it again leads to stiffness and discomfort and I had to shift my weight around to feel comfortable for periods of about 8-10 minutes.

Since I couldn’t sleep, I decided to research my pain on that veritable resource of information–the Internet–and found several accounts of people claiming that they had lots of pain when standing up during the 5th-6th day after surgery that eventually just went away. I’m hoping my pain will follow a similar course. I also made the decision to take off work/work from home the rest of the week since it seems that going to work for those 2-3 hours (as well as the extra time spent throughout the day in a non-horizontal position) may have intensified the pain.

I did have to drive my dad to the airport but after I got back I had the cold therapy machine to look forward to. Most of the rest of the day was spent with the cold therapy machine and short naps as it allowed. I was able to get a little bit of work done remotely, as well. I gave the doc’s office a call in the afternoon and he said he would put me on weaker pain meds and that I could rely on Ibuprofen and Advil to manage any pain as necessary, as well. I was also able to crank my CPM machine up to 85 degrees and finally spent some time doing my exercises (conveniently before the PT appointment). Doing the physiotherapy exercises actually feels good, possibly because I have something to distract my mind from the pain or possibly because I’m causing my blood to go to a different place. Although it’s all probably because I’m back to being somewhat horizontal.

The visit to the PT office today continued to establish the positivity as I was able to chat with another ACL surgery patient who was about a week ahead of me. He told me he had many of the same pain symptoms in the first week that have all but gone away now. My physiotherapist also reassured me that the pain when standing up from a laying down position should be on its way out fairly soon and is primarily because the various systems in the body are trying to reestablish the routes for the blood (or at least, that’s how I envision it). Anyhow, she said a lot of patients complain about those symptoms and that I should bring it up with my follow-up meeting with the doc on Monday if it is persisting.

As for the activities during the rehab session, I once again started by stretching (bending and straightening) the knee joint with a band and then did the little session with the electro-stimulating thing. My unknown units number this time was 72–just a 5-unit increase from last time. I blame it on the fact that I had gone into the session having done about 40 minutes of my own electro-therapy about an hour prior. After that I did straight leg raises and then a knee-bending exercise with a foam roller below my knee. The PT was pleased with the straightening on both these exercises.

I then got off the bench and did a set of calf raises. These were pretty painful since they basically hit the bruises down the side of my leg. Apparently this exercise will get rid of the “standing up pain” if I do it regularly so I’ve put it on the docket. Next, it was over to the leg-press machine where I did a couple of sets of leg presses (both legs and single leg) and a set of calf raises. After that was done, I did a knee extension exercise with an elastic band where I basically bent the knee, straightened the knee and then lifted my ankle. After a set of about 30 of those, it was time to walk.

The PT said I was ready to walk with one crutch just on my right-hand. After fumbling around with the balance aspect of it, I was able to do 4 sets of cone walks (walking over 5 6″ cones back and forth equaling one set) with one crutch (no brace)! This was exciting because it now gives me a free hand to hold stuff. I can’t express how awesome it is to finally be able to hold something other than crutches. She recommended me wearing a brace if I was out in public but that I could do it without a brace at home.

Finally, there were a few more exercises with the elastic bands (quad extensions–I’ll touch on them in a later entry) and an exercise where I lay on my expanding belly and tried to bend my leg up backwards. It was hard. I had to use my right leg to do the bend for my left leg. After it was all said and done, I was at the PT for over an hour but I felt refreshed and not pained!

My mom and I went to H-E-B to pick up groceries after that, where all the standing took a toll and hence we cancelled a following stop at Target. I came back home and iced my knee for about an hour before taking a shower. It’s probably psychological, but the pain is slowly decreasing when I’m standing up. Or, rather, I’ve found that if I just go straight into walking instead of standing and waiting for the pain to engulf me, it only takes 2-3 steps for the pain to dissipate. I’m hoping for a good night’s sleep tonight and if I have pain, I filled a prescription for hydrocodone to help me through. I’m hoping I don’t need it, though, especially after talking with the PT about the “standing up pain” being expected.

I’m probably going to work from home again tomorrow just to be safe and so that I can spend my mom’s last day here with me. If the standing up pain decreases, I’ll consider going into work on Friday for a half-day or so.

Now, for the photos (not for the faint of heart)!!

If you felt like this entry was two-toned, you’re not hallucinating–it was. The first half was written before physical therapy and the second half after it. Before PT, I was very negative and kind of tired of the pain. After physical therapy, I felt refreshed and reenergized. I’m glad my recovery is unlike other accounts I’ve read where the physical therapy causes all sorts of pain. I, for one, am glad for the concretely measurable improvements I’m making and, of course, for the only exercise I’m getting.

first day back to work

I continue chronicling my rehab from ACL surgery…

Day 57 (7/17)

Since I had postponed a few meetings from yesterday and we were nearing an iteration deadline, I decided to go into work today. When I woke up in the morning around 6 AM to take the first of my last three does of pain meds, though, there was a lot of pain getting out of bed and to the bathroom. The pain going from a horizontal position to a vertical position is still extreme–maybe a 7 or 8. I’ll have to talk to the doctor tomorrow about more pain meds or something over-the-counter because it’s pretty unbearable for the few minutes that my knee is adjusting to all the blood.

I worked remotely from about 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM before I left for work. I did some research on picking up a handicap placard and found out that I could do so at a county tax office and that one was about 2 miles away and had a drive-through service. It was about a 5 minute drive and 5 minute wait and $5 worth of fees and I had my red placard in hand that allows me to park closer to establishments and limp through their doors.

I reached work around 10 AM and once again was hit with the sending blood-down-the-knee thing. I limped over to my desk with the crutches and was able to prop my leg up on another chair and work at a completely different angle than I’m used to. I went to a couple of meetings and actually got some code written so I felt productive.

I was originally going to work till 2 PM but I didn’t want to deal with the adventure of acquiring food so I decided to leave around 1 PM and eat lunch at home and work remotely. This arrangement worked out pretty well from a comfort (and probably productivity) perspective. I was able to ice with my machine at home and even got my CPM machine cranked up to 80 degrees.

In the evening I felt a bit adventurous so I took my parents out to an Ethiopian restaurant we had gone to with friends–Aster’s. We all ended up getting their trademark Doro Watt dish and I think my parents liked it. Drove home and once again I was relieved to get back to the ice pack. I spent some time researching whether the pain I’m feeling now is normal or not. I will probably be emailing my PT tomorrow to get her opinion. I do have a PT session in the afternoon.

I’m planning to go in for more or less a whole day of work tomorrow, since I have an early morning meeting. I may skip out during lunch, once again, although this would involve more walking to and from the car. At least I can park fairly close.

My pain while my leg is elevated is around a 2 or 3 now. The pain while just standing up is around an 8, like I mentioned earlier. After standing up for a while, walking is about a 5-6. I do need to remember to wear my brace around, though.

 

the commencement of rehabilitation

This post examines my experience of ACL surgery through the rehab process, which is currently ongoing.

Day 53 (7/13): Rehab starts

At some point during the night, my nerve block wore off and instead of being greeted by unparalleled pain, which I had expected, I was greeted by the warming ability of being able to wiggle my toes again. Of course, the oxycodone probable played a part in deflecting the pain, but let’s just pretend that I’m some sort of Herculean man unaware of little things such as nerves complaining.

I had my first rehab/physical therapy appointment at NASM at 10 AM, which was somewhat problematic because I was in no condition to drive. My friends were also at work and I didn’t want to bother them more than I already had so I convinced my father that he would be okay to drive the approximately 3 miles that the therapy location was. In retrospect, I’m glad that the surgeon’s office/physical therapy center is so close to where I live.

We headed over to the physical therapist who undressed my wound and commented that it looked pretty great for the day after surgery. Swelling was minimal and she was surprised that my only pain, thus far, had been soreness from the hamstring graft. She did caution me that sometimes the pain got a lot worse before it got better and that I could expect a considerable amount in the coming days.

She had me do some quadriceps flexing sets and some leg raises, both of which looked good. She also put some electrodes on me and got a baseline measure for how strong my quads were. They were 35 of some unknown unit. Apparently my right leg, if I had measured it, would have been about 350 of the same unknown unit. Long way to go. She also had me walk around with my brace and crutches, but bearing weight on the operated leg. Satisfied with the results, she re-dressed my operated leg and said I was doing very well and was ahead of schedule in terms of recovery. But she still cautioned me about the oncoming pain. I’m glad she did, because boy did the pain come.

My rehab/pain relieving habits at home basically comprised of the following:

  • 1-2 tabs of oxycodone every 4-6 hours
  • 1 capsule of cephalexin every 8 hours to prevent infection
  • 1-2 hour sessions of this neat cryo-cuff cold therapy system
  • 1 hour sessions of a continuous passive motion machine to regain range of motion
  • 40-minute sessions of an electric muscle stimulator
  • Lots of laying around in bed with my knee elevated above my heart to prevent swelling
  • Lots of delicious comfort food

In preparation for the oncoming pain, I decided to switch from single tablets of oxycodone to two at a time. I guess it may have helped. But the pain finally came. The last of the nerve block finally wore off and the pain around my knee came. It wasn’t really debilitating pain but it was constant and annoying. The ice pack made it worse because I had to put it on to keep swelling down, but it just contribute to the pain because it felt like my foot was going to fall off. In honesty, the worst of the pain happened when going from horizontal to vertical as the blood rushed down the knee.

Going to bed on Friday night was particularly difficult and I actually made the decision to switch from the ice pack system to the CPM machine a little past midnight. Luckily my Dad was awake and he was able to assist in the changeover. In contrast to the ice machine, the CPM machine was nicely padded (with what I am envisioning is llama fur) and had a comfortable hum and repetitive motion that made for easy sleep. It did bruise the back of my thighs, though, although I’m told this is expected.

Day 54 (7/14)

I managed to get a good 5-6 hours of sleep on the CPM machine until it was time to chomp some pain meds at around 7 AM in the morning. My hunt for a snack was cured by a cereal bar which I essentially inhaled and popped a couple of pain meds and tried to go back to sleep. I went back to the ice machine in the morning and it was a lot more comfortable, although I still had to tune it down to an almost minimal setting.

Oh, by the way, something no one talks about when it comes to repairing torn ACLs is… constipation. Yeah, it’s kind of nasty. The laxatives don’t really help. But prepare yourself for that if you have to go through it.

Anyways, what made Saturday doubly special was the fact that I was going to have grihapravesh done on my house, or the Hindu “house-warming puja”. Of course, I was in no position to sit on the ground for 2 hours so thankfully my father substituted in on my behalf. After dozing for most of the morning on pain meds and machines, I finally got out of bed at around 10 AM and brushed my teeth. I took a short shower, which basically comprised of me painfully applying a garbage bag around my knee to prevent water from getting in and infecting my wound, gingerly stepping into the shower and kind of trying to get my body wet without getting the garbage bag soaked. The acquisition of a loofah helped greatly in the area of hygiene.

Once I got out of bed, I hobbled around a little bit and managed to catch the end of the puja. After that, it was time for another dose of pain meds and more time on the CPM machine. I think I was up to around 65 degrees on the machine by then (I’ll try to get more accurate numbers of this in future posts).

In the afternoon/evening I decided to venture out and drive and was able to do a short drive to H-E-B and Target. I walked around H-E-B and that quickly caught up with me as the blood rushed to my knee. It was quite painful and I had to sit down at Target while my parents shopped. When I got back, the ice therapy was a welcome change. The rest of the day was not really exciting and basically involved eating, watching movies and doing more rehab.

Day 55 (7/15)

This was more of the same as the previous day, except that my dose of antibiotics was finally done. I did venture out to a furniture shop with the parental unit and purchased a dining table but that was about as much as I could handle before I had to rush back to my ice packs. I also decided to take another day off work to make sure I was back to a decent amount of strength, and also so that I could get another PT session in.

Day 56 (7/16)

This is today. I’ve got about a day’s worth of pain meds left and the knee pain is still there but it is subsiding considerably. The swelling is still there. One of the wounds from the incision is still bleeding a little bit, but there’s nothing bad, according to the physiotherapist. The measure for my quad-thing, which was 35 unknown units last time, has nearly doubled to 69 unknown units. The physiotherapist was excited to see that.

At the PT session, my maximum flex was measured at 95 degrees, which was awesome because the target for 2 weeks is 90 degrees. I’m not sure how straight I could get the knee. I also walked without the brace, but with the crutches today and it went swimmingly. I’ll be doing this at home and walking in public with the brace.

There’s still pain going from a horizontal to vertical but a lot of it is counteracted by the psychological reassurance from the physiotherapist. I’m hoping for more of the same! The plan is to go back to work tomorrow for at least half a day and come back early and work from home if I see too much swelling. I’m planning to set up the CPM machine at 75 degrees tonight while sleeping, to keep working on that range of motion!

 

 

a day in the life of acl surgery

This is continuing the ACL surgery post I made previously. The rehab posts will probably be more frequent since I’m spending a lot of time off my feet.

Day 52 (7/12): Surgery time!

I waited almost a full 2 months since my injury before I had surgery. The surgeon had recommended at least a 2-3 week resting period so that my knee would have had the swelling die down and not be inflamed (and also because he wasn’t available before then) but, as I mentioned previously, I went ahead and postponed it by a couple more weeks so I could enjoy a short vacation. The beach vacation I had with my friends was pretty stellar, by the way. A group of 10 of us drove down to South Padre and spent hours on the beach, in the ocean, in the pool and in a condo. We got to know each other very well–maybe better than we wanted to in some cases. Anyhow, back to my story.

The surgery was scheduled at the Cedar Park Surgery Center which is an ambulatory surgery center out in Cedar Park. What this basically means is that I get discharged the same day as surgery. I conveniently scheduled the surgery for a Thursday so that I could take one sick day (Friday) and still get about 3 days of rest before I had to entertain the thought of going back into work. As I mentioned previously, having my parents here was extremely awesome because I had someone to talk to, someone to take care of me 24×7 and also a delicious supply of home-cooked food (which I would have killed for without having to go through surgery, anyway).

I had to check in at 7:45 AM on Thursday, which meant a departure of time of about 7:15 AM since the surgery center was about 15 miles away. Because of general anesthesia, I was not permitted to consume anything past midnight (not even water). Surprisingly, I was able to get a good night’s sleep, which I had not expected because of nervousness and anxiety. I’m not complaining, though.

One of my friends had agreed to drive me to the surgery center and she arrived promptly at the scheduled time. The three of us piled into her car, crutches in tow, and we were on our way to the surgery center. The trip took less than the estimated 30 minutes, pushing me closer to being a part-time cripple quicker. Wee hoo.

The surgery center was small but swanky. I checked in with the nurse and signed a couple of things to the effect of “if you are dying, we have permission to save your life.” All pretty straightforward. There was a nice little TV screen there that had a spreadsheet broadcasting when each patient had checked in and when they had been admitted for pre-op. This gave me a somewhat concrete estimate of how long I had to wait. I ended up in the waiting room for about 20-25 minutes and was taken in for pre-op around 8:20 or so.

The pre-op nurse asked me to change out of my clothes into an exceedingly complicated hospital gown and then lie down on a bed with socks and a shower cap (or so it felt like). With socks. She then proceeded to shave my leg in a fashion that will embarrass me for weeks to come. Basically, the front of my left leg from my thighs down to about halfway through my shin. There is hair everywhere else. It looks spectacularly strange. She also gave me a tiny thimble of water with a couple of relaxants or pain killers or something. I didn’t complain or ask too many questions.

I was then interviewed by the anesthesiologist’s assistant who made sure I wasn’t carrying any infections in. Pre-op nurse tried to subtly put the IV drip into me but I was fairly distracted. At some point some more painkillers or relaxants were put into my IV and I began getting woozy. This is also when the anesthesiologist applied a nerve block on my quads to ease the pain I would feel post surgery.

I remember a few more things… me initialing my knee to make sure it was the correct one they were operating on, the rather large anesthesiologist talking to me, the surgeon coming in and writing “Yes!” on my knee to make sure he was going to operate on the right one, being wheeled into the OR, taking deep breaths of oxygen from a mask and then eventually being told that they were drugging me. And then I dreamed about a cricket match but was rudely interrupted. Post-surgery.

For those who are curious, my new ACL was constructed with a hamstring graft. When it comes to ACL surgeries, there are typically three choices: hamstring autograft, patella autograft and an allograft. The autograft implies that the tendon used to craft the new ligament is coming from the same source as the target ligament (i.e., me). Allograft is a tendon harvested from a cadaver. Before surgery, I did have to sign paperwork that said that an allograft would be used in the case that my hamstring tendon was deemed to be unusable. I would encourage talking with the surgeon about this because that was kind of a surprise.

The patella tendon has been the preferred source for ACL reconstructions for a while and that is only now changing with a bias towards the hamstring tendon. The hamstring autograft supposedly requires better expertise from the surgeon and also takes a little longer to heal, but the reconstructed ligament is supposed to be stronger and the long-term pain is supposed to be minimal. Apparently a patellar autograft leaves long-term pain in the patella that can prevent even kneeling on that knee again. It also comes down to the surgeon’s preference. My surgeon did all three procedures but the hamstring is apparently the one that he does the most often, so I figured I’d go with that option.

Back to my story… I woke up in a new room with the same people around me. My knee felt pretty numb. My parents were called in and I’m pretty sure I was not very fun to talk to. Several people came and went after that (people giving out the medical equipment I would need post-surgery, for example). I don’t think I saw the surgeon afterwards–I’m sure he had other procedures to do. I was offered some crackers and ginger ale, which I graciously accepted after much prodding. They were pretty good although I think the straw they gave me was defective because I kept spilling ginger ale on myself. I’m pretty sure it was the straw’s fault.

I called another friend to let him know I was ready to be discharged in about 30 minutes. We sat around and chatted till he arrived (with another friend) at which point I was allowed to put my clothes back on through that weird gown and was wheelchaired out to the car where I was remarkably able to get into the front-seat mostly unassisted. We dropped off a prescription on the way back home and then once I got home I pretty much passed out on my bed with the ice pack machine around my knee (more on the machines, later). I texted another friend and guilt-tripped her to pick up my meds for me from the pharmacy.

Since my leg was still pretty much numb, I didn’t feel much pain except for my hamstrings, which felt extremely sore. The staff at the surgery center had given me some leg exercises to do but they were basically exercises in futility since my quadriceps’ nerve block was still in action and I couldn’t even so much as wiggle my toes. That’s a weird feeling, by the way. Everyone should be able to wiggle their toes whenever they want to. It doesn’t seem like a difficult task.

I spent most of that day drifting in and out of sleep in my bed with my parents beside me. Once my meds arrived I had some oxycodone inside me, as well. Apparently the worst part was over.

of acl surgeries and more

I’ve decided to go ahead and include a few tidbits about my ACL surgery so that I can (a) come back and look at it when I have made a full recovery and (b) answers questions/doubts for people who are looking at ACL reconstruction surgery as a possible solution for a torn ACL issue. Feel free to add questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Day 0 (5/21): Injury

I injured myself playing basketball at work. Concrete courts are probably not the best location to be playing basketball regularly. I don’t clearly remember what happened except that I was going up for an offensive rebound and while I was jumping, I felt like I was pushed from behind (while leaving the ground). I bobbled the ball and jumped once again before crumpling to the floor. Both times I felt like someone had knocked knees from behind me. I’m not sure if they had or hadn’t, but that’s the sensation I got. I may have heard something pop, but I feel like that is just something I feel like happened because it is one of the common symptoms.

I wasn’t sure how bad the injury was since I’ve never had significant knee issues before, so I sprayed some Icy Hot on and waited around for about 10 minutes for the pain to subside. When it felt good (or, I guess, numb) I grabbed a ball and attempted a jump shot from three-point range. This time, it felt like one of my bones had knocked against my knee cap, or something. Yup. Definitely something serious. I knew I was done so I packed up my things as I debated whether to go to the ER or not. I was also depressed since I was going to be missing my team’s playoff game the next day.

After I went home and showered, my knee started developing more pain as it stiffened up and the Icy Hot wore off. I decided that going to the ER would be in my best interests and found that the North Austin Medical Center was the closest option so I drove over there. The wait was horrendously long but I was at least grateful that I wasn’t in as much pain as some of the other patients there, who were at various degrees of crying (from sobbing to wailing) presumably from physical pain. At this point my knee was getting pretty locked up and I had to hobble around.

It took probably about 2 hours at the ER before I was finally seen and the doctor ordered an x-ray to check for bone issues. The x-ray didn’t show any bone issues and going by the ligament tests they do (by pushing the knee in various directions to check for pain/range of motion) the ER doc diagnosed it as a strain in my lateral ligament and applied a brace to prevent motion. She indicated that I should be back in action in about 10 days and that I should see a specialist if the pain/swelling got worse.

Day 1 (5/22): First day after injury

I took the day off the next day since I was in a considerable amount of pain and because I didn’t trust the ER doctor, I scheduled an appointment with North Austin Sports Medicine, which had a pretty reputable knee surgeon. It helped that a couple of my friends from work had been going there for leg issues and were happy with the experience. I got an appointment for the next day itself. I spent most of this day on pain meds and hobbling around my apartment. I was still optimistic that the injury was not a serious one.

Day 2 (5/23): Diagnoses and drainage at NASM

I had my first appointment at NASM with an assistant doctor (or some weird title like that) about 36 hours after injury. She pulled the x-ray from NAMC and noticed the extreme amount of swelling and noted that this happened either with an ACL tear or a tibia fracture, which is kind of hard to diagnose from an x-ray unless you are specifically looking for it. She conducted the same range-of-motion tests that the ER had done and concluded that my ACL appeared intact. She also ordered an MRI for that day so that she could get a conclusive idea of what the issue actually was. She also went ahead and drained the fluid from my knee joint, which apparently contained a high percentage of blood, which confirmed her suspicion that it was either an ACL tear or tibia fracture.

I left the office with a prescription for crutches, an MRI appointment and two possible diagnoses. A tibia fracture would have resulted in a walking boot of some sort to prevent further pressure on that bone while the bone healed naturally, and possibly pain medications and regular draining to keep the pain away from the knee. An ACL tear would require… well, the rest of the content of this blog. 🙂

I returned to work for a couple of hours (after picking up a pair of $3 crutches from a medical prescription equipment store) and then left for my MRI. Apparently they had a machine specifically to look at the knee so I just got strapped in there with plenty of pillows and a bunch of magazines to read. Apparently I was relatively still since the MRI only took about 35-40 minutes. I went back to work with a 24-hour waiting window to find out what was actually wrong with my knee. Thrilling stuff.

Day 3 (5/24): The real diagnosis

In the middle of work on this Thursday, I called into NASM to figure out the severity of my injury. In classic mystery-style, the assistant for the surgeon was not available to take my call. He did eventually call me back and told me the results of the MRI: a complete acute/sub-acute tear of the ACL and damage to the medial meniscus to boot. Apparently the acute/sub-acute implied that they were not sure whether this tear had happened during this last incident or whether it had happened earlier. I forgot to mention earlier that I had been having pain in my left knee for a few months but a couple of visits to the health center at work had yielded no diagnoses. I now believe that I may have possibly had a partial tear well in advance but this incident may have pushed me over the top (or injured the meniscus which created the pain here, I guess).

The assistant asked me to come in and get fitted for an ACL brace and then schedule a meeting to meet with the surgeon and figure out the details of scheduling surgery and rehab and all that jazz. I begrudgingly did so. I was also told that I didn’t really have to use the crutches any more since the brace was weight-bearing.

The next few days were not all that exciting. I eventually met with the surgeon and he said that given my age and lifestyle and the fact that the meniscus was also torn, surgery was the best option so that I could get back to sports and so that I didn’t end up getting early arthritis in that knee. I scheduled the procedure for June 26th to begin with and then pushed it back 2 weeks so that I would have a chance to spend the July 4th vacation with a few friends before getting operated on and kicking off (pun intended) the arduous rehabilitation process. This was a good decision, in retrospect, because it also allowed my parents to fly over for my surgery which has been invaluable.

I’m going to end this post now and dedicate the next post to the actual surgery and the ongoing rehab process.

mmmbop

It has been a while since I posted my depressingly pessimistic piece, huh? Well, thankfully the air has cleared, the weather has become better and I almost feel the springiness of the supposed current season. A lot has happened in the last few weeks and a lot is gonna happen in the next few, so I decided to take a step back and deliver smorgasbord of updates.

Getting Swoll

Let’s start with the most recent updates. Just this Sunday I ran the Capitol 10K, which is Texas’ largest 10K (and possibly largest race?). The longest distance I’ve run competitively before is — 0 km. Yep, this was the first somewhat competitive race I’ve done. My previous runs in a non-competitive environment were a 7K in the first ever Mumbai Marathon and about 13 km to raise money for orangutans when I was back in Middle School. I’ve always wanted to get into running and when a buddy brought up 10K, I decided to make the leap. Armed with a fresh new pair of shoes, I couldn’t be stopped.

I didn’t train too hard but did run 4.5, 5 and 6.2 miles in the three Sundays leading up to the race, thus building my endurance up. Race day was surprisingly refreshing, despite the extremely hot weather. I managed to complete the 6.2 miles without stopping once and actually setting and resetting my 1-mile record with every split (except the last one). Maybe it was the adrenaline or the runner’s gel, but the run was relatively easy and I think I could have gone on for at least a couple more miles without too much struggle (I even sprinted the last half mile or so). The half-marathon is next in my sights.

The running of Cap 10K also coincided with the beginning of basketball season. While the hoops at NI leave a lot to be desired, the team I put together this season seems pretty legitimate. We’ve got two legitimate post threats, two defensive-minded forwards and me handling the ball. We dominated in the first game of the season to win 20-8. Our league is pretty tough, but I’m hoping we drop a maximum of 2 games and head to the winner’s bracket come tournament time.

Yeah, so I’m not really getting swoll… yet.

Laughing at all sorts of shit

I missed The Hunger Games screening because my friends decided to buy tickets when I was 10,000 miles away (thanks, guys!) but I did end up watching 21 Jump Street this week. The movie is freaaaaaking amazing. I got an abdominal workout watching it. My head was sweating from laughter. I didn’t even know it was possible for head sweating to occur from laughing. I feel enlightened. Now, I’m looking forward to the slapstick crass humor marathon that should be The Dictator. After all, Sacha Baron Cohen has a name to uphold (and I hope I spelled it correctly).

Also, this isn’t quite laughing, but I’m super-excited for Childish Gambino in about a week’s time! He was awesome when he did stand-up/performed last year at Emo’s. I’m pumped to watch him at a real venue (Stubb’s). I’m hoping to be celebrating a basketball domination next Thursday (we play a game at 5.15pm). Next week is going to be pretty much dedicated to listening to Camp over and over again.

That’s all for now. I know all 4 of my readers are itching for some videos, so I should have some up soon. Look forward to some Madeon. He’s fucking legit.

generally speaking

I always get into a reflective mood around my birthday. More than the start of a new year, I think this is a better time to make resolutions and set goals, because it gives me a better idea of how I grew over one discrete year of existence. The reflective mood probably also has to do with the fact that my birthday is just 3 days before Valentine’s day and since I am invariably single during this time, I am in a particularly vitriolic state of mind.

So, year 25 of my life was, in general, a positive experience. I grew a lot and it was not only in circumference and weight (actually, I think I shrunk it both those departments). More importantly, I feel like I finally settled down in my job and my life and developed a friend circle that I can both depend on and have fun with. Mentally, I stopped taking myself so seriously and made an effort to be more extroverted, though there are still eons of room for improvement in that department.

There were just as many negatives, however. For one, I was pretty financially irresponsible. I fear that I am becoming the quintessential American consumer—purchasing all sorts of crap that I do not need and allowing it to pile-up in the various crevices of my apartment. I spent unspeakable amounts of money on dining and entertainment with friends. My only real investment in my financial future was irregular contributions to my savings account and consistent purchasing of employee stock. I did not maintain a personal budget and thus was prone to making bad consumer decisions. My attempt to rectify this has been to actually plan a budget for 2012 and tracking it week-to-week. Even if I do not stick exactly to my budget, at least I will have a smaller feedback cycle for when I am fucking up.

The second, and infinitely more frustrating, part of the last year of my life was the dearth of romance. Not that romance has been an integral part of many of the years of my life, or at least, successful and reciprocated romance, but I did make a conscious decision to make more of an effort. After having spent the majority of my college career being infatuated with a girl who was not only not interested, but ended up being not that great of a friend, I was more than ready to move on. Living with roommates for my first year of employment delayed this process since I didn’t have to feel the entire brunt of loneliness. Once I moved into a one bedroom, however, I realized that my social life was entirely in my own hands.

Now, the only problem was that I had to put myself into situations where I could actually meet women, since that would appear to be the required prerequisite to finding a woman who I was attracted to and who reflected that attraction. Unfortunately, my only existing avenues for such adventure were (a) the workplace and (b) the bar scene. This was not ideal since workplace romances are always tricky situations and I am always distrustful of the bar scene, telling myself it is because I don’t want to find some random at a bar (conveniently ignoring the fact that I am myself some random at a bar).

Neither of these situations really panned out. My workplace advances were pathetically rejected, leaving an expectedly awkward dangling friendship that took a while to repair. The bar scene prospects never panned out, probably because evidently all Austin bars are full of dudes and the ones that have girls seem to have ones that need to perennially run off to the restroom. Girls, you should get at least a little more creative with your rejection!

Around the time I was predicting, nay, expecting failure on both these fronts, I went ahead and created an account on OkCupid. The biggest step going into this was lying to myself that I was not as interesting enough in real life as I was on some website. It was probably after spending a couple of months sending 20-25 messages and receiving a response or two that I realized that, incredibly, I was more boring online than I was in real life. The ego blows continued. I have since concluded that the one thing OkCupid has going for it is that it is free. Unfortunately, since it is free, I feel like many of the girls on the site aren’t taking it seriously. And, talking with the one friend that I did make from that website (who is an extremely awesome platonic friend that I can now talk to about virtually anything), they are getting bombarded by hundreds of Neanderthal-writing-comprehension messages a day. These two theories combined, I am able to still sleep at night.

So where does this leave me in my current stage of life? Well, my problem in the earlier years of my life was the fear of rejection. For this reason, I would always take the time to get to know someone well before attempting to initiate a romantic connection. While I still do not believe this process is doomed, it has not panned out thus far. My continued rejection, both in real life and in the form of ignored messages on OkCupid signal that, unfortunately, rejection appears to be the norm. That kinda sucks, because I’m used to #winning and just being really awesome, generally speaking.

One of my close female friends from Rice suggested that I partake in more young professional activities. While I’m not exactly sure as to what this entails, I do realize that going out to a bar is not the most effective way to find someone interesting. For one, you usually can’t even hear what they are saying. I guess I will finally stop deleting the millions of emails I get every day from MeetUp and actually start attending some events. I’m also planning to volunteer (more?), especially at dog shelters. And I’m actually going to get a dog, after thinking about it for a year and a half. As a tweet from the @brotips_hq account put it best: “be the person your dog thinks you are”. Well, I don’t have a dog, so I’m going to rescue one and then hopefully enjoy some unconditional love. That’s my selfish reading of it, anyways.

Thank for reading! Feel free to leave comments but don’t expect responses. J

new blog design!

I spent way too much time working on a new design for the blog. I tried to go with something extremely simple. Let me know what you think. I’m hoping to add Facebook integration soonish. I love WP. By the way, most of the groundwork for this was done using the Elastic Theme Editor. Check it out if you have a WP blog and wanna do a somewhat customizable theme without too much work.

force feed

I haven’t put anything on here for a while so I figured I’d write something instead of taking the easy option and just going to sleep.

I was originally going to put some raw, unadulterated, brainstorm rap verses on here but they sounded a lot better in my head than when I put them in this little textbox. Actually, that’s a lie, I never got the chance to put it down because, much like the hip hop songs you hear on the radio, I couldn’t understand any of the words. Maybe this means I have a shot at becoming America’s next YouTube star.

So yesterday I went and watched a Snoop Dogg concert. It was a very… interesting concert. Apart from the expected… herbal fragrances in the air, Snoop was present with a minimized crew on stage, pigtails and all. And a massive microphone that said “Snoop Dogg” on it. And, for some period of time, shades that said “Snoop Dogg” on it. And pretty much all his songs called out the fact that he was, in fact, Snoop Dogg. We get it, Snoop. You’re Big Snoop Dogg. Snoop Doggy Dogg. You’re kind of a unique dude.

The show was fun, though. He played a lot of songs I knew–something I was afraid of because I do not know that much Snoop Dogg. The Next Episode, P.I.M.P., Drop It Like It’s Hot, Gin and Juice, Doggy Style. He even did a bit of 2 of Americaz Most Wanted (collaborate with Tupac) and also, totally randomly, pulled out some Akon as well as Jump Around. He was having fun. I was having fun. It was all good.

While standing in line for the show, I noticed that Steve Aoki is coming to Stubb’s. Umm, yes please. Tickets have already been purchased. This is gonna be freaking awesome.

Also, I watched The Three Musketeers today. It was okay. I spent most of the movie trying to figure out if Luke Evans was Orlando Bloom. They looked pretty much the same, but then all the characters did with their long hair, unkempt beards and silly hats. I didn’t remember anything from the book, of which I have only read the abridged version, I’m pretty sure, so there was nothing to fall back on. The movie did make me want to buy the book and read it (again?) so I may have to do that. It’ll have to go to the end of my queue of 8-books that are pending on my reading list.

Fine, so this ended up being really boring. Whatever. I’ll try to work on the Drake cover this weekend.