Dumb things I do

I am sure I am not unique, that I am not the only one who does stupid things.

Sunday, I did a 6.4 mile hike/walk. I had a small blister on my right small toe. As usual, I “popped” it, and went on with life.

Then Monday, I felt like doing another hike/walk. Bad idea. Small blister became agonizing, and a huge portion of the skin on the bottom of that pinkie toe peeled off.

Now, I am in agony. Completely self inflicted wound.

Yes, I am dumb

The New Republican Healthcare Plan

The new republican plans for health care sure sounds like “just die quickly, and quietly” Well, as we expected, once the Republicans captured the White House (well, in 29 days now), their first order of business will be to repeal the ACA.

They have been talking about repealing it and replacing it for 6 years now, bloviating at every opportunity, and doing fuck-all in the House with 54 attempts to repeal or defund portions of the ACA (or the pejorative “Obamacare”) so this isn’t a surprise.

However, some of the rhetoric coming out of the Paul Ryan camp is interesting. Suddenly, instead of shutting it down on day 1, they are talking about repealing and delaying for 2 – 3 years until they can devise a “replacement” for it. Yeah, that sounds do-able. Continue reading →

Thoughts on Healthcare in the USA

Very few people believe that the USA’s healthcare system is good. Of course, the wealthy have access to the best diagnostics and care in the world, and most people get their healthcare as part of their benefits package from their employers (albeit with a lot more restrictions than the truly wealthy), and therein lies the problem.

This is the first in a series that I will write to describe the current state, and my humble thoughts on how to move forward.

We will begin with the rise of employer sponsored health insurance, as it is a significant factor in the problems. Continue reading →

Favorite shoes – Asics

I am a big fan of Asics running shoes. Having wide feet, and problematic arches, means that I need a wide shoe that has good support. Being a fat ass doesn’t help either, so that is a consideration.

When I first began running again seriously in 2005 or so (probably earlier) I started using New Balance shoes, mainly because they had a good selection in wide shoes, but alas, they really didn’t offer good support.

Then one day, I tried a pair of Asics and it was almost magical. Pain or discomfort was gone, I could run further, and more frequently without my feet being a limiting factor.

So, from that point on, I have been loyal, trying to shop sales, and closeouts, as they are not cheap shoes, occasionally trying something different with bad results, but I always return to the Asics line.

My main grief with them though is that they don’t last too well. I know that you are supposed to replace shoes frequently, and that it is suggested that between 300 and 500 miles of pounding pavement is the limit. Yet, it seems that before that mileage is reached, the soles are beginning to fall apart.

While I no longer can run (it really causes my plantar fasciitis to flare up), I do 6 – 7 mile walks 4-6 days a week, so the miles add up, and alas, the soles on my Asics I bought in January are about toast.

Sigh, time to go hunting for a new pair.

Oops – medications

As a heart attack survivor, I monitor my blood pressure every day. I wake up, fire up the coffee maker, and then sit down to measure my blood pressure. I take it three times, to make sure that it is consistent.

I take a variety of medications, an ACE inhibitor and a Beta blocker for my blood pressure. I also take a statin, and a anticoagulant, as well as an 81mg aspirin.

I average a little below 120/80 (often in the 117/77 range), so when I measured at 139/101, 143/97, and 137/99 this AM, I was a bit concerned.

I checked my pill organizer, and oops, I missed my meds last night.

I have forgotten it twice in 6 years. Clearly, I will never be able to go off my meds.

(of course, I had a touch of insomnia last night too. Probably related.)

Back on the Fitness Track

A recent life change (that is the understatement of the century) is providing me with time to improve my fitness. Being a “get out and do something” kind of guy, that means walking, hiking, cycling.

In the last week, I have done 30 miles of walking (5 days of 6 mile walks), and one 18 mile bike ride. While it is too soon to see tangible results, I definitely feel better, and the exercise give me ample time to think.

My goals are simple. I would like to shed about 30#’s (not too difficult), get back to being able to ride 30 miles 2-3 times a week, and to be able to run the occasional 10K race.

All achievable goals.

Marking another year …

It is that time of the year, where I once again mark an auspicious anniversary. On Sunday, January 3rd, 2010, at about 8:00 AM, I had a heart attack.

The morning began as usual, up at 5:00 AM, fed the dogs, had coffee and a light breakfast, a quarter cup of Grapenuts with skim milk. Then I headed to the gym, for an hour of cardio.

I felt a bit off on the elliptical trainer. I was just “blah”, and couldn’t get my pulse above 100 or so from the monitor. I did make the full hour, but I just wasn’t up to the 5 minute cool-down period. So I left the gym, feeling crumby.

I got home, and stepped into the shower. And it hit my like a ton of bricks. Shooting pains out the arms, and it felt like Dom DeLuise was standing on my chest. I stumbled out of the shower, naked, and wet, and walked down to my wife’s office. I told her I needed to go to the hospital. Continue reading →

Sick Again – A December tradition

Last Sunday, I cold feel the start of a cold or flu in its infancy. Felt out of sorts, and funky. Got some meds and Monday, I felt good enough to go to work, assuming that I had dodged the bullet.


Tuesday, I had a trip to Boston for a tradeshow, and apart from the usual dehydration of airplane travel, it was normal., almost uneventful. But at dinner, I knew something was coming.

Not to be disappointed, about 1:00AM I was awakened with that distinctive, back of the throat pain indicative of a cold. Would it go up into the head, or down into the chest? Curious minds need to know, man. Needless to say, the 6 hours I spent on the floor on Wednesday weren’t pleasant. Since I didn’t leave home with good cold medicine, I got raped for $16 for Tylenol severe cold tablets in the hotel shop. Ouch. Continue reading →

Hiking – Almaden Quicksilver Park

Since I blew out my legs riding yesterday, I decided to take it easy, and go for a hike.

Ha ha ha.

I printed a map for Almaden Quicksilver Park, and hit the trails.

Not really sure where I was going, I just started up New Almaden trail, and then turned onto the Hacienda trail. Holy shit, it was a butt kicker. Large, wide trail, but very very steep. The first leg of the Hacienda trail is marked for hiking only, and it is now wonder why.

Got to the juncture with Mine Hill trail, and found a lot of cyclists. Got some guidance, so I took Mine Hill trail, avoided the turn to Castillero Trail (it appears to be an extra 0.3 miles).

There is a great view of Mt. Umunhum and a little rest area, with a couple of benches, a horse watering trough, and some much appreciated shade.

From there, I continued on Mine Hill trail, a meandering (and much welcome) downhill along a ridge. Of course after about two tenths of a mile of shade, the sun was baking.

The turn south on Prospect Trail #3, a hiking only trail, was steep, switchback laden, and difficult to hike. Of course, there was evidence of some douche-y mountain bikers riding (boo) on these trails.

By the time I got to the intersection of Prospect and the New Almaden trail, I was at the 6 mile mark, and I just wanted the hike to be over. The downhill was doing damage to my feet. Not accustomed to the boots, I could feel the blisters forming. Crap.

About 2.1 more miles, and I was finally back at the parking area.

Total damage: 8.1 miles, 1776 calories, 1575 feet of climbing, 3:01 total time (2:39 moving time).

I should have done another 34 mile bike ride…

The Dentist

Today was that twice yearly ritual, visiting the Dentist. Hygienist and a quick check.

Where else will you get the joys of the poker, the gouger, and the scraper jabbed at your teeth and gums? As I have long had some moderate gum recession, I get exhortations about keeping the exposed root on my first molars clean.  And the reminder to use a fluoride rinse.

Ah, the pleasant staff, the pain of gouged gums, the mild bleeding. The hamfisted attempt by the hygienist to have a conversation (seriously, you are elbows deep in my mouth…)

And of course, where else would I hear the light banter of KBAY 94.5, and the latest Kelly Clarkson tune?  I mean c’mon, isn’t that the definition of a great time.

Of course, I have hairline fractures in another tooth, so I will get to go back for a quick filling to hold it together and avoid a catastrophic failure and yet another crown.

Great day.