Archive for the ‘Injury’ Category

Five months

July 22, 2020

Waiting on the “provider” at urgent care on Feb. 21. Is it just me,
or does “The Provider” sound like a third-tier Marvel superhero?

That’s how long it’s been since I broke my right ankle, getting an early jump (har de har har) on lockdown.

This one-two punch certainly restricted my movement, even without the intervention of the 101st Vanborne, which is said to be en route. Since Feb. 21, I haven’t ventured north of Tramway and Interstate 25, east of Carnuel, south of I-40, or west of Interstate 25.

In an ordinary year I would have hightailed it at least once by now, to Arizona or Colorado. At the very least I would have cycled around the bosque, ridden up to the Triangle, or even tackled a short tour. If the State is going to track me, I want the sonsabitches to work up a sweat.

But 2020 has been anything but ordinary, in terms of personal mobility, global pandemic, and creeping fascism.

Bad ankle! Bad, bad, bad! Get in that boot and stay there, thinking about what you’ve done.

Re: personal mobility. I gassed up the Forester the day before breaking the ankle, but I didn’t fill ’er up again until last Thursday.

This means that in the past five months, I’ve driven maybe 300 miles, which is what I get from a tank of gas when motoring around Albuquerque. Bum ankle notwithstanding, I’m pretty sure I’ve walked more than that.* For sure I’ve cycled more (943.8 miles).

By the way, this cycling mileage is not impressive, even for a 66-year-old gimp. My best week since the mishap saw me ride all of 80 miles. The worst? Three-point-five. Seriously. It was March 7, I was on the trainer with my Darth Bootsy footwear, and I lasted a whole half hour.

The good news is, I’m biking and hiking regularly, and the ankle continues its slow, steady rehabilitation.

The bad news is, I don’t think I can outrun one of those federales in the cammy-jammies if he catches me off the bike. And that dodgy right foot is the one I use to kick annoyances in the balls.

* OK, so I’ve only walked 123.7 miles. I had to check.

Hello in there

April 11, 2020

Herself and Herself the Elder enjoy analog FaceTime at the Dark Tower.

Locked doors. Empty streets. Everyone’s bunkered up and wearing masks, like poilus in a Ypres trench awaiting a gas attack.

Social distancing isn’t new to me. I’ve worked from home for nearly 30 years, and I have come to relish my solitude. My colleagues these days are mostly in Missoula and Boulder. Some days I find it hard to believe that I ever got anything done in a crowded newsroom, which may have pioneered the open-plan office everyone else soon came to loathe.

But even I get twitchy now and then, especially since I was homebound early on with a broken ankle. The COVID-19 may be out there, but the cabin fever is most definitely in here. There are bicycles to be reviewed, an ankle to be rehabilitated. And anyway, jolly old Doc O’Grady feels it’s prudent to take society’s temperature now and then.

So I limp around the ’hood for a spell, shout back and forth with the neighbors. One has retired and has a new dog. Another is working overtime and has an old dog, gamely hanging on, like the rest of us. Next door they’re turning a pile of gravel into a base for a backyard shed. The other next door is exhausted from babysitting grandchildren.

Sometimes we ride the bikes. Herself the Elder needs regular resupply, soda, wine, and Kleenex, along with a bit of analog FaceTime through her bedroom window. A little girl squeals, “I have a bike!” So do I, sweetie. I bet you don’t have to give yours back after a few weeks. At least, I hope not.

The Italians sing. New Yorkers clap. Here in the ’Burque ’burbs we venture out briefly, if only to say, “Hello in there … hello … and have you heard the latest socially distant episode of Radio Free Dogpatch?”

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: Cheap, cheap, sings the Radio Free Dogpatch birdie. I used the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic, recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was as usual, in GarageBand. Once again the background music is by Your Humble Narrator, assembled in the iOS version of GarageBand with some John Prine licks in mind.

’Burb-ees

April 5, 2020

When a real-estate agent shows you a house near this view, you pull out your checkbook and ask, “How much did you say again?”

Looks can be deceiving.

At first glance, you might think, “Hey, O’Grady’s taken his social distancing back of beyond again.”

Hey, it’s not a speedy trail run, but at least I’m bipedal again.

Nope. I took this shot from  the east gutter of Camino de la Sierra NE, a wide suburban street that hugs the skirts of the Sandias, midway through a very pleasant 40-minute walk.

Six weeks after I broke my right ankle the limp is mostly gone, and the ankle itself feels like it’s regained a degree of stability. But I think it’s gonna be a while before I trust it to keep me upright in the boonies.

In the meantime, all things considered, a brisk stroll through the ’Burque ’burbs is a fine upgrade from a slow crutch around the house.

Little feat

March 16, 2020

I’m not jumping for joy yet, but spring seems to have sprung nicely.

My new sailin’ shoe.

Tootsie Voodoo said I could lose the Darth Gimp boot and crutches, so I traded up for a lace-up brace that I can wear with socks and shoes.

I may have limped in just under the wire, too. Management was said to be mulling whether to reschedule all non-acute cases.

“Sorry, bub. Here’s a hacksaw. You’ll have to find your own peg and parrot. Next!”

Sounds like a great excuse to do the “Old Folks’ Boogie.”

So you know that you’re over the hill
When your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill
Try and get a rise from an atrophied muscle,
And the nerves in your thigh just quivers and fizzles

Rebooted

March 11, 2020

If spring hasn’t quite sprung, well, it’s thinking about it.

It was a pretty pleasant morning yesterday in the Duke City, so I bit the bullet and ventured out for a short walk around the flattest parts of our neighborhood, which made it a very short walk indeed.

I did a bit with both crutches, and a bit with one, and a bit with none; chatted up a few neighbors who wished to plumb the depths of my stupidity; and finally headed back to the rancheroo for a spot of lunch.

Then I pulled off the Darth Gimp boot and its Vasque Clarion companion, leaned back in my chair, and put both dogs up on a footstool to rest awhile.

Just out of reach. Like a cat.

Not until I settled in and got comfortable did the smoke alarm go off.

Beep.

Beep.

Beep.

Etc.

So I put on the Darth Gimp boot and its Vasque Clarion companion, levered myself out of the chair, crutched into the entryway … and it stopped.

“Turkish, are you fucking with me? I asked. The question seemed relevant, if a tad mystical.

For starters, as all cat people know, your cat will never assign you some vital task until you are settled in and comfortable.

Second, the night Turkish died, as Herself and I were settling into bed, and I rested my right hand on the spot where our big, big boy would usually lounge for a bit, the bathroom light suddenly turned itself on, and then off.

Now there was this. And it wasn’t lost on me that I had instructed that my old comrade’s remains be cremated.

I crutched into the kitchen for a fresh battery, because why the hell not, and the smoke detector started up again. So I returned with the battery and a small stepladder, and — praying there wasn’t a giant, pissed-off, blue-eyed spectral cat in a cloud of smoke up there somewhere  — made the swap without incident.

Turkish always liked the high spots.

 

Revolver

March 9, 2020

It is not dying. But it is sucking.

Hey, what can I tell you? The old Beatles album seemed appropriate for today’s indoor-cycling soundtrack.

“Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream.”

Downstream appears to be where we’re headed, a’ight. In the SS Wall Street, a cruise ship full of coronavirus and cheap oil, captained by a drug-addled golf cheat with a crew of button-down barnacles, lampreys and other hangers-on.

Tomorrow may never know, but today isn’t exactly up to speed, either.

Move

March 8, 2020

Move. Just not too much.

“Move” is the first cut on the 1957 Miles Davis album “Birth of the Cool.” And that’s what I did yesterday. Move.

Not much, mind you. It’s still just over two weeks since I broke that ankle, though it seems more like two years. But I’ve been treating the fucking thing like it’s made of Waterford crystal and all of a sudden I was sick of its bullshit.

Yesterday’s playlist. I probably should’ve gone for “Kind of Blue,” but I needed to get my head out of that particular space for a while.

So I clomped out to the garage, pulled the rim-brake Soma Saga down from its hook, clamped it to the old Cateye Cyclosimulator CS-1000, and went for a short “ride.”

It wasn’t as stupid as it sounds, probably. I did a half hour in low gears. Three-point-five miles with Miles, for an average speed of 7 big big mph. I was wearing my Darth Gimp boot on the starboard side and a Vasque Clarion hiking boot on the port, which kept me more or less symmetrical. Also, I dropped the saddle a couple cm to allow for a certain lack of flexibility in the wonky bits.

Sure, it felt creepy at first. If you’ve ever broken a bone you know that feeling — “Should I or shouldn’t I?” — about taking the damaged goods off the shelf for a little look-see.

“OK, yeah, right, here we go, show me what you got you miserable motherf. …”

But it went OK. The swelling continues to diminish, I’m seeing more definition in the foot, and with any luck I won’t need that bespoke piñon-and-turquoise peg and a Norwegian blue (lovely plumage) for my 66th birthday.

Incidentally, “Birth of the Cool” is also the title of a documentary about Miles, the man and his music. You can catch it on PBS.

Stupor Tuesday

March 3, 2020

The air hereabouts is of a very low quality indeed today.

Jaysis. As if the banjaxed ankle weren’t annoying enough, now the trees are conducting biological warfare against my tender sinuses.

I’ve actually been compelled to take drugs, and not the interesting kind, either. Blaugh, etc.

Last night I slept mostly not at all, and between that and the drugs I’m having trouble staying focused on all the Super Tuesday doings, beyond noting that the Anybody But Bernie Caucus is forming up right smart.

Crucifixion? Good. Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each. Next?

On the hoof

February 29, 2020

Me, not running.

Talk about the walking wounded: Herself, who brought a vile head cold home from Florida, joined me this afternoon for a hot lap around El Oso Grande Park.

I decided to leave the Darth Gimp boot at home and went with a simple Ace bandage wrap buttressed by an old Teva sandal. Didn’t quite burst into tears every time I saw someone soaring past on a bicycle. Waaaaaaaah.

Still, it beat listening to Marcus Wobbly, O.D., mumble about “very strongly” considering new travel curbs at the U.S.-Mexico border to keep the coronavirus at bay. Dipshit probably thinks you have to drink a case of Corona to catch a case of coronavirus.

 

Rolled another one

February 27, 2020

Eric “Nohand” Crapton takes his solo. | Photo by Herself

One of the interesting aspects of occasionally wandering away from straight writing into “multimedia,” by which I mean short videos, podcasts, and what have you, is seeing how one thing can become another if you use a big enough hammer.

It’s not always a better thing. But it’s inevitably something different. So what we have here is a podcast that grew like a weed, a wart, or a boil from a couple of short blog posts.

When I blew up my ankle last Friday my instinctive reaction was to write a long blog post about the first time I did that, in 1983. I was a depressed 29-year-old fat bastard who had just quit one job in Oregon for another in Colorado, and suddenly, boom, there I was in a walking cast, on crutches, 1,400 miles from my new home.

A fiberglass foot makes it tough to drive stick. Hell, I couldn’t even load the truck. Stairs were involved. Plus I had two dogs who were nearly as ill-mannered as I was.

And then there was the time I broke a collarbone midway through a long-loop mountain-bike race. Lemme tell you, that shit will affect your finishing time. My cyclocross training proved useless. Couldn’t even shoulder the bike and run. Couldn’t drive then, either, and it was a long haul back to Bibleburg from Gunnison.

Happily, in both instances, I got by with a little help from my friends. Until this last time, when I was on my own.

Golly gee, Mister Dog, what happened then? There’s only one way to find out, sonny, and it’s not by reading — you gotta listen to the latest episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure Beta 87A microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder, then edited in Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. Post-production voodoo by Auphonic. The background music was assembled from various loops in GarageBand by Your Humble Narrator, while the various sound effects were gleaned from G-band and the iMovie effects bin.