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Feet and x-rays and…

2 minute read

January 31, 2012, 1:18 PM

First of all, this is my first WordPress Journal entry – kind of. It’s also my second mobile Journal entry (the first was done in 2005). I’m sitting in a waiting room ahead of getting an x-ray, and I’m tapping this out on my Droid Charge using WordPress for Android onto a development site of mine. Then I’m exporting it out of WordPress to put onto the production site when I get home.

So I saw the podiatrist about my foot today. The result surprised me. I also discovered that the body is a very interconnected thing. The hip bone connected to the leg bone connected to the foot bone, etc. (I realize that I am grossly oversimplifying – just smile and nod). Turns out that my high top shoes are causing me problems because they don’t allow full ankle movement, and that movement has to go somewhere. Thus because the ankle is constrained, other things are happening and causing great pain. That also explains why the pain goes away when I start wearing my Crocs (which are obviously low top). Who would have thought?

He also sent me for x-rays on my left foot, to make entirely sure that nothing is broken, and so here I am, in this waiting room that’s a few degrees too warm but not stuffy. Then I see the podiatrist on Thursday morning for a follow up on the x-rays (of which I’m getting a copy on a CD!).

So as a result of this surprising diagnosis, I am now in the market for a new pair of low top shoes. The fashionistas out there may weigh in if they would like, but I am looking for low top sneakers with good arch support. Be warned, though: I have a wide foot, and so many styles just don’t fit for that reason alone.

Categories: Personal health

My foot claims its first victim…

2 minute read

January 28, 2012, 7:59 AM

It’s not even 8:00 yet, and already today’s a wash. I was going to go to the Maryland polar bear plunge at Sandy Point State Park today, but health issues have conspired against me to prevent this from coming to fruition.

See, it’s once again my stupid foot that’s acting up. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I’m making an additional appointment to see the podiatrist this week, because this is the second time in two weeks that my left foot has become painful to walk on, and we need to get to the bottom of this. Two weeks ago it was minor and I could ignore it, but this time around, I can barely walk. So this makes four foot issues that I’ve had over the span of six months. Once on the right foot that resolved itself and hasn’t come back, and now three times on the left. There is something seriously wrong with one or both of my feet. I’m pretty confident that it is related to my getting in better shape, since this didn’t happen until the pounds started melting away like magic, and the amount of physical activity that I was involved in got to be a lot more.

A couple of my friends on Facebook suggested that it might be gout, but I’m pretty confident that it’s not that. Based on the Wikipedia article, gout comes with swelling, redness, and warm spots when it occurs, and I’m not getting that. Outwardly, it looks the same, but it’s hard to put on a shoe when it happens due to pain (thus why I switch to my Crocs whenever this comes up). I really wonder if this isn’t a stress fracture or something, because I looked it up, and it seems like a pretty decent match on paper, but I want to know for sure. In any case, this is no way to live, and I’m not about to go on living this way. Plus I’ve been doing the stretches that I’m supposed to do and this still came up.

So hopefully they can squeeze me in as soon as possible, because last time I saw my podiatrist it wasn’t hurting anymore, and I want it to be hurting when I go see it (though at the same time, I’m not taking a hammer to my foot to guarantee some pain).

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Is it just me, or is having two good feet too much to ask?

2 minute read

January 12, 2012, 9:52 PM

Yes, this is foot incident number three within the span of six months. It’s starting to seem like where I can say, “Well, it’s Thursday, and so one of my feet is acting up.” You may remember that in August, the top of my right foot was in amazing pain and I was having trouble walking as a result. Then in December, same thing on my left foot. Now, in January, my left foot is acting up again. Gotta love this. Something is apparently wrong, but the doctors haven’t yet figured out what’s going on, because by the time I see my regular doctor or my podiatrist, the symptoms go away. Seriously, when I saw my regular doctor about the right foot, the symptoms had gone away the night before (and were back by that evening). Then the problem had gone away by the time I saw my podiatrist. Fan-bloody-tastic. Then when the left foot acted up in December, it seemed easier to just keep my existing podiatrist appointment the next week, and see an urgent care doctor to get something to tide me over until then. Now this week, my left foot started acting up (again) in the same way, though less so than previous episodes on left and right. But it’s getting more and more noticeable, though I’m not limping around (yet). However, the good thing is that I have a podiatrist appointment on Monday morning. So as strange as it sounds, I hope I’m still in enough pain on Monday that Dr. Lugo can see it in all of its glory. I’m not normally big into unwanted pain, but I want it hurting for the doctor on Monday. We’re pretty sure it’s not a fracture, but not sure what it is outside of that.

Then if this does get to be full-blown, I hope it doesn’t affect my swimming. When I had the pain in August on the right side, I could hobble up to the pool, go in via the stairs, and then be just fine swimming my full workout. In December with the left foot, however, I had major issues with swimming, as it hurt with every kick. It even hurt when I was just letting that side drag, so I had to miss a couple of workouts. This time so far, the pain has been less than in the previous two incidents, and so my swimming has been unaffected (an idiot with his child taking up a lap lane instead of being in the kiddie pool where they belonged put a bigger damper on my workout than my foot).

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Categories: Personal health

Discovering a significant bug in Falcon…

4 minute read

December 10, 2011, 1:11 PM

This is where things get frustrating! I discovered a significant glitch in my “Falcon” development site.

But first, for those not familiar: Falcon is my development site, where I’m currently working to convert Schumin Web to the WordPress platform. It’s running WordPress 3.2.1 right now (but will probably jump a version or so before I’m done). I’m running it all in a test location while I build it and then port and restore content. Then when it’s finished, I’m going to move it onto the main URL, and then it will cease to be “Falcon” anymore, since it will become the production site. Then I’ll probably set up a new development site as “Falcon” for future development and experimentation, such as a full redesign (the site under WordPress will look mostly the same as it has for a number of years).

To run certain parts of the site, I set up custom post types. I have custom post types for the Fire Alarm Collection, Quote Articles, Photo Features, Site Updates, and Splash Photos. What this will look like when finished is nothing new, as those of you who have been with me for a while, when you see the way these things look, will see something very familiar, even if it’s totally different under the hood. The problem is that when you page through the pages of these custom post type archives, the site will act as though it’s displaying the next page, but the content will not change. Let me show you what I mean:

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The pains of getting in shape… oh, the pains!

4 minute read

August 18, 2011, 1:50 PM

Ever have those weeks where you feel like your body is just going to pot? Welcome to my world this week. Four parts of the body have hurt this week: both ears, back, and right foot.

Ailment #1: Ears. I have somehow managed to get swimmer’s ear in both ears. Gross. The right ear is just sore, but the left ear is a full-blown infection. Big swelling in the ear canal, and the outer ear was warm and painful to touch. This actually has caused a feeling of fullness in the left ear, and some minor hearing loss on that side (due to the ear canal’s being mostly blocked). That started on Thursday, and by Friday morning, we had a full-on infection on the left side. Then on Saturday night, the drainage started. I have never seen fluorescent-yellow drainage before – like the color of a yellow highlighter. Gross. Even worse is that I can feel when the infection is draining. It tickles, and then causes some pain. Again: gross.

Ailment #2: Back pain. I don’t know what I did there. I mean with the ears, duh – I swim five days a week. But the back, no clue. That started last Friday morning just as I was leaving for work as a dull ache in my lower back. By the time the day was over, I was having trouble standing for long periods. Of course it would happen the day before a big demonstration, too. The DC SlutWalk was happening the next day, and I vowed that I didn’t care if I was screaming in agony at the event, but I was going no matter what. Thankfully, the back managed to work out for the SlutWalk, and I had a good time. But then it came back on Sunday. No good.

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Categories: Personal health

One more day until vacation…

5 minute read

May 12, 2011, 7:36 PM

Yes, one more day to go. I am one “It’s Friday, ya bastards!” away from a week’s vacation. I am looking forward to it. This is going to be something of a hybrid, too. Last time I took a vacation was when I went to Chicago. Thus almost the entire time was spent out of town. Then two vacations ago was two weeks just hanging out at home and around town. This one will be about half just chilling out at home and thereabouts, and half out of town.

So you may ask, where am I going? A day and a half in Stuarts Draft and thereabouts, and then off to Kings Dominion with Mom and the eighth graders for “Math and Science Day”. It’s kind of funny, too, that I’m finally going to Kings Dominion. See, I’ve lived about two hours’ driving time from Kings Dominion for almost 19 years (believe it or not, my parents’ house and my house are about the same distance from Kings Dominion), and I’ve never been. We’ll see if it was worth the wait. The waterpark won’t be open (still too early in the season), but the rest of it will be. So we’ll see how it goes, I suppose. Otherwise while I’m in Virginia, I’m hoping to swing by SDMS again and visit Mom at school and such, do some photography in Staunton or Waynesboro or so, and then hopefully see Katie if all goes well, since it’s been far too long since last I’ve seen her.

Then in the first half of the week, I’m going to give lap swimming a try again. There’s a county-operated indoor pool in Olney, and considering how close it is to my house (only four miles), I should visit, and give it a spin. I’m thinking I’ll do it on Monday when all the children are at school. They have designated lap lanes, and so we’ll see how it goes.

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A fitter, trimmer Schumin coming your way?

5 minute read

April 19, 2011, 9:50 PM

First of all, before we start this discussion, why didn’t anyone tell me I hadn’t written a Journal entry in three bloody weeks? I came to this realization today when I was showing somebody a photo on the site, and noticed that the last Journal entry was March 29. Yes, I can get caught up in things, and occasionally need that little reminder that I haven’t done one of these in a while. So here it is.

Yesterday, I posted this on the Twitter:

I’ve lost nine pounds since last time the doctor weighed me about a month ago. Apparently I’m doing something right?
April 18 8:51 AM

First of all, I was as surprised as anyone. I realize that I weigh a lot more than I probably ought to, but that surprised me. That’s over a span of about a month. I’ll spare you the exact numbers, citing Schumin-will-not-share-that-with-you privilege, but I’ve been really trying to clean up my act health-wise.

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So there you go. My body officially abhors the springtime.

3 minute read

March 9, 2011, 6:23 PM

Yeah, there you have it. My body abhors the springtime. I am allergic to pretty much everything related to the spring, and this was all confirmed by a doctor that specializes in allergies. So I have proof of it.

By the way, allergy testing is pretty interesting. What I’m allergic to in the spring is kind of irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion, but the process was interesting. They checked my blood pressure, temperature, pulse, heartbeat, and breathing, and then they offered two options for the actual allergy testing. One was a blood test, and the other was a skin test. I opted for the skin test, since the little applicator for that was better than getting my finger pricked or having them take a little vial of blood.

For that, they came in with a tray full of samples of different allergens, with the little skin applicators ready to go. They did the testing on my upper arms, which seemed agreeable enough. I’ve heard of people getting these kinds of things on far less preferable places, and so I wasn’t complaining. Plus I could watch the process, since it was in a spot that I could see.

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Categories: Personal health

I never thought someone would actually want to work in a purple office…

5 minute read

December 23, 2010, 6:27 PM

So I saw a chiropractor today for some neck and lower back pain that I’d been having lately. I chose to see a chiropractor as opposed to a regular doctor because of a couple of matters that happened some years ago. In the summer of 2001, I had a bout with some pretty severe lower back pain. I saw a regular doctor about it, and they prescribed muscle relaxers, which did nothing except cost money. Then one day in March 2002, after months of the back pain coming and going, I sat down on my couch in my old Potomac Hall dorm room, and… *pop* – instant relief. The pain was completely gone. I don’t think I had felt that good in a long time. Went from about a six on the 1-10 pain scale to ahhhhh in one short second.

So when my neck started feeling a little stiff a few months ago, as well as some lower back stiffness when standing for extended periods (like at demonstrations and such), remembering that feeling of relief from a while back, I started doing some research on chiropractic. I read up about what it entailed and what it was about, and also went on Quackwatch to see what kinds of red flags to look out for. I read plenty of horror stories about chiropractors who did way more adjustments on people than were necessary, who routinely x-rayed when it wasn’t necessary, and pressured patients with a lot of hard-selling.

So having done a whole lot of research on what to look for and what to look for as warning signs, I started looking for chiropractors in the Wheaton area. Ultimately, it came down to Dr. Peter McPartland and Wheaton Chiropractic. Both facilities took my insurance. While McPartland was closer to my house and within walking distance of Glenmont station, I ultimately chose Wheaton Chiropractic for a few reasons. First of all, McPartland was a storefront office at Glenmont Shopping Center, while Wheaton Chiropractic was in a medical office building (Forest Glen Medical Center). Then on McPartland’s new-patient forms, which were available for download, I read this passage: “This is to certify that I am not pregnant and Dr. Peter McPartland or Staff has my permission to take x-rays of me.” Compare to Wheaton Chiropractic, which said, “Current research does not support routine imaging, especially for uncomplicated cases. We are conservative about ordering studies for patients, and will order them only when clinically indicated.” That was the grabber there – one asked for blanket permission up front to x-ray, and the other one said they wouldn’t x-ray at all unless it was really necessary. So I went with Wheaton Chiropractic.

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Categories: Personal health

Sick days are no fun…

4 minute read

October 28, 2010, 8:03 PM

Ecch… I hate taking sick days. This was the first sick day I’ve taken since 2006. But when I call out sick, I mean it. Talk about an awful time. I tossed and turned the entire night last night, with TBD (formerly News Channel 8) on the TV. And I had a fever the whole time. And I had a major case of nasal congestion and got to know exactly what sinus pressure was all about. I felt like my nose was going to explode, what with all of everything clogged up and in pain. And blowing my nose didn’t do much good. No relief. Just more of the face-wants-to-explode feeling.

And let me be the first to tell you that all-natural nasal sprays are overpriced and ineffective. I bought this all-natural nasal spray from Whole Foods yesterday that was made of saline, glycerin, and – get this – grapefruit seed extract. Lovely. So now the snot smells vaguely like grapefruit, but it’s still there. I went with the all-natural stuff because of the usual concerns about the rebound effect on conventional nasal sprays. However, unlike the natural stuff, the conventional one worked like a charm. When I finally said the hell with the natural spray, I hit my bottle of regular spray, and I could breathe again.

Then you know you’re sick when you call the office to relay some information and they can’t tell who you are by voice. Usually, I’m fairly easily recognized by voice. Not this time. I called twice to attend to various things, and two people each couldn’t tell who I was.

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Categories: Personal health, Work

With pupils as big as saucers…

4 minute read

October 1, 2010, 7:06 PM

You know, a trip to the eye doctor can be kind of fun, but let me tell you… recovering from same is less fun. Specifically, recovering from the dilating drops is no fun at all.

I had two different eye exams over the course of the week. One was the standard checkup-type eye exam on Wednesday, and the other was with a specialist on Friday (don’t ask, but I’m not going blind). And in both cases, they give you the little drops to dilate your eyes, in order to be able to see what’s going on inside and make sure all is well. The problem, of course, is going out into the real world afterwards, still dilated and all. Wednesday’s dilation was fine because it was raining out. Thus going home afterwards was fine since the sun wasn’t out. However, for Friday’s exam, it was cloudy in the morning, but after working a half-day at the office and going to see the doctor, it cleared up and was a beautiful day again. It would, of course, normally be beautiful for me, too, except that I would be practically blinded by it all. Yes, they gave me the little horn-rimmed dark inserts that sit behind your glasses in both cases, but they don’t work all that well because they move around a bit and cause their own reflections.

If it gives you any idea what we’re dealing with, here’s what my left eye looked like for Wednesday’s exam:

Dilated left eye on Wednesday

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Here’s some advice: Don’t eat a five-day-old salad…

2 minute read

June 14, 2010, 11:48 PM

That’s my advice for you, because on Saturday, I wasn’t feeling too well, and I blame it on Friday’s lunch. You know how it is – you wake up feeling icky and with a fever, and then by the end of the day, the fever has broken, and all is feeling well again. I have a feeling it was food poisoning on Saturday. At least that was my theory until recently.

Except now I don’t know what to think, since I started feeling bad again on Monday, too, and I’d not eaten anything else that I could pin down as questionable. I hope I’m not getting sick. That would be really unpleasant. But as of right now, I have a fever, and my chest hurts from all the coughing I’ve been doing. I really don’t want to have to call out at work tomorrow, because I’ve got stuff I need to do down there, so hopefully I’ll be in a state where I can make it in tomorrow.

Meanwhile, now I’m trying to figure out where I caught this. It’s been two weeks since Boston, so for all I know, I might have caught something up there, because after all, that was a perfect breeding ground for colds, with people sharing rooms and coming together from all sorts of cities. I consider that most likely, because since coming back, I haven’t done anything, other than the aforementioned salad that was a shade past its prime, that would have made me sick.

Actually, I take that back. We got all of our summer interns in recently at work, and I wonder if I didn’t catch something from one of them. That would certainly be unpleasant, wouldn’t it?

Either way, it certainly shot my weekend. I was planning to go out, and ended up staying in all weekend. That did, however, do wonders for the Web site, where I got a lot of work done on new content (by the way, look for the CSS version of the site to go live around July 1 with at least two new photo sets at launch).

See, don’t tell the allergies that it’s their season, because maybe they’ll forget and it will be too late then…

2 minute read

April 3, 2010, 10:10 PM

First of all, hello from my parents’ house in Stuarts Draft. This ought to be a fun weekend. I saw my friend Bergit in Charlottesville on the way down (that was a lot of fun), and then I’m spending tomorrow with the parents, then Monday I’m spending with Katie, and then Tuesday, back to DC.

The drive down here was kind of interesting. Usually I don’t hit traffic on a Saturday, but this time, the Beltway was awful. Almost as soon as we crossed into Virginia, pow. Slowed to a 10 mph crawl. Once I hit I-66, though, no problems, and except for some moderate congestion on US 29 through Gainesville, we were good. Smooth sailing right down 29 to Charlottesville. I noticed that they were expanding the Charlottesville Wal-Mart, and also noticed that an Exxon station at the corner of US 29 and Barracks Road had been demolished and seeded. Very strange seeing a vacant corner lot like that…

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An appointment, and a trip to Shady Grove…

3 minute read

April 7, 2009, 8:09 PM

So today was interesting. I had an eye appointment today in Chevy Chase, and so I only worked half a day, and spent the other half going to the appointment.

I decided to try something different today as far as my commute, to see if a different method worked better. Since my appointment was a block away from Friendship Heights station, and work is at Dupont Circle, instead of taking the 51 to Glenmont and taking the train like I usually do, I drove over to Shady Grove and took the train from there.

First of all, the drive over to Shady Grove from my house wasn’t too bad. I know the way quite well, traffic was moderate and moving, and so I just kind of zipped over and found a parking space. Then I got Rohr 1068 going in. Now that was kind of fun, since I got to see a lot of stations I hadn’t been to since 2006(!). After all, same destination as always – Dupont Circle – but coming from the other way. So instead of my usual run of stations, I got to ride through the other side. It’s been a while since last I saw all of the four-coffer arch stations on the Shady Grove side of the Red Line, and even longer since last I saw the outdoor stations out that way. And it’s very strange hearing “Red Line to Glenmont” in the morning, I must say, since of course, coming from Glenmont, I’ve become accustomed to hearing “Red Line to Shady Grove” first thing, and hearing “Glenmont” means I’m coming home.

However, the fare was a bit of a shocker – $4.50! Ouch! It’s only $4.00 from Glenmont, you see, so this was an added hit. But then from there, it was business as usual, walking the rest of the way to work.

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Categories: Personal health, WMATA

So I found an ophthalmologist, and I went today.

5 minute read

September 29, 2008, 10:22 PM

So I found an ophthalmologist, and I had my appointment today. I went to Rodman & Engelstein, and I’ll just say this – this was definitely a different procedure from when I went to Dr. Patel in Fishersville.

First of all, I took a half day off from work, and took Metro up to Silver Spring. First of all, one has to wonder who peed in the train operator’s cornflakes this morning. The train was a Silver Spring train, which meant that it ended its run at Silver Spring rather than going all the way to Glenmont. I usually hate those kinds of trains because they don’t go where I need to go, but this time, I was going to downtown Silver Spring, so I didn’t particularly care. It was there, and I caught it. This guy came down REALLY hard about the whole going-out-of-service thing. “ATTENTION CUSTOMERS ON THE PLATFORM, THIS TRAIN IS OUT OF SERVICE! DO NOT BOARD THIS TRAIN!” And he repeated this a few times before the train was completely berthed. And of course, despite being all like that, he didn’t even bother to change the sign to the “NO PASSENGERS” sign. He kept it on Red to Silver Spring.

Then getting there, I filled out the customary mound of paperwork for when you’re a new patient. After that, it was time to get started. First they checked the pressure in my eyes. Then they looked at my eyes with a microscope, checked my existing prescription, and tested my vision with glasses on. Then they dilated my pupils. This is where things changed. After this, they take you out of the exam room, and have you wait in another waiting room while the drops work. I played Tetris on my phone, and that certainly became a challenge as my pupils dilated. I ended up having to close one eye and hold the phone way far away to play. And the technicians would occasionally come by to check on how well the drops had worked. First time, they said I was almost ready but needed to ripen (my term) a little more. The second time, I was ripe, and was taken into a second exam room. There, they looked at my eyes with the microscope again, tested my vision without glasses, and then figured out what the new prescription would be using the phoropter.

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Categories: Glasses, Personal health