Friday, January 27, 2012

"Sick Day"

I got up bright and early so I could get a root canal.  Fun stuff.  I had decided that regardless of how I felt, I was going to take the day off from work.  I've been stressing over all the stuff that I need to get done, but I figured I could use a day to myself.

I've felt pretty good in general, which is nice, and I'm relieved that the endodontist just needed to go in there and clean everything out of the tooth.  In other words, there isn't a fracture.

So I laid around and watched TV, played video games, and took a nap.  I'll gladly give up days like this if a root canal is what I have to get to give myself one, but this was a nice pause before letting things go back to being crazy.  Plus, I'm feeling better physically, which makes a world of difference too.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


So that sinus infection that I said came raging back?  Now I wonder if it was ever a sinus infection.

The swelling had gone down, but there was still an area that was blown up.  I began to suspect that this problem may be dental.  Of course, way back when this began in late summer 2010, I thought it might be, but the dentist and his assistant couldn't find anything to suggest that it was.  Like a dummy, I rolled with it and chalked it up to sinuses or allergies.  And didn't do anything about it.  Sometimes it was sorer than others, but it was never really bad.

At other regular cleanings nothing was spotted, so when I went to the doctor back in December, I mentioned that I thought I had a sinus infection.  He applied pressure where the sinus is, it definitely hurt, and he prescribed an antibiotic and nasal spray.  Problem solved, or so I thought until last week.

I've been dutifully using the nasal spray and taking the different antibiotic prescribed last week to beat the infection, but the last couple of days I began to wonder if perhaps this problem was dental-related after all.  Something didn't seem right--the swollen gum, namely--and when I finally took a peek at it, what I saw sure fit the description of an abscess, as previously explained to me by the dentist.

In a panic--I had mistaken the meaning of an abscess for a fracture--I called the dentist's office and secured an appointment for that afternoon.  About an hour later I felt the abscess deflate.  I was really worked out.  Mistaking an abscess for a fracture, I thought this meant I was going to lose the tooth.  (The abscess was near where I've had a root canal.)

What did the dentist have to say?  Yep, that was an abscess and had nothing to do with my sinuses. (Did it ever?  Who knows?)  He determined that I need to have a root canal.  On a tooth that already had a root canal.  Several years ago I had root canals on two adjacent teeth.  After tomorrow morning both will have had second root canals.  (The other one had a nerve left behind, which could have happened if I had an extra one and the endodontist didn't look for it.)

So my reaction to all this is somewhere in the middle.  I'm relieved that, at least for now, there isn't any suspicion of a fracture and the need for an extraction.  I'm aggravated that I'll be paying again to have a root canal on a tooth already treated in such a manner.  I can't say I'm looking forward to the procedure tomorrow morning, but I'm relatively at peace with it and glad/hopeful it isn't more serious.

As for the other medical thing that's caused some discomfort, I ended up getting in at the specialist on the day of the referral.  He didn't find anything and thinks it may be referred pain.  So that's a win in the interim.  But could this year ease up on the health/medical concerns, pretty please?


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Friday, January 20, 2012


Checking in to say I haven't fallen off the edge of the planet.

I haven't felt like writing here due to how I've been feeling.  It's not anything serious--not that I know--but I've had a bit of a painful start to the year.  There's something that has caused some distressing pain, although it hasn't been persistent.  I did go to the doctor after worrying about it a couple weeks.  I followed his advice for the past week, but the issue still hasn't gone away entirely.  Looks like I ought to call the referred specialist next week.

To top it off, a sinus infection that I was treating and seemed like it was mostly cleared up came raging back out of nowhere a couple days ago.  It's more painful than it ever was before and has kept me up for the better part of the last two nights.  I did get a prescription for another antibiotic phoned in, which will hopefully start taking care of business soon.  Half of my face is swollen, and yes, it hurts, sometimes a lot.  I do think I have that under control with some extra strength ibuprofen left over from a recent prescription.  Or so I hope.

I'm usually in pretty good health, which makes me more stressed about all this, not to mention feeling the actual discomfort.  Here's hoping this sinusitis calms down this weekend and I can get the other thing checked out in the next week.


Thursday, January 12, 2012


Oh, hey there.

Just been working and working out, which explains my extended absence (again).

December was pretty much a loss when it came to exercise.  Between being busy and doing some physical therapy to get my upper body loosened up, I didn't spend much time in the gym.  I returned to it this week to find it way busier than I'm accustomed to.  I don't know that it was New Year's resolution overflow--almost all of the exercisers were students--but regardless of the reason, I had a problem.  All of the recumbent bikes and treadmills were occupied.

One of the elliptical machines was free, so I thought I'd give that a shot.  I quickly discovered that it required a new skill set.  I found it tiring faster than what I'm used to doing, but then again, I'd kind of taken the past month off.  Obviously I wasn't going to jump back into exercise with quite the same stamina.

As the minutes ticked by I entered into the usual bargaining that comes when wanting to be good and exercise yet not thinking I can finish the whole hour.  If I can get to a specific time short of the target, I'll stop then.  Reach that time and set another one.  I made it through the hour workout.

I decided that mixing up what I do isn't such a bad idea, so for this week I'd stick to the elliptical machine.  That plan was all well and good until I got to the gym today and saw them all the same ones in use.  I mistook a cross country skiing machine for the same thing and hopped on it.  Again, it didn't take long to find out that it presented a new set of challenges even if it was mostly similar.

The main thing I noticed is that it felt like I was having to do the exercise with slightly bent knees the whole time.  Basically it was a very mild crouch but enough of one to make the legs work extra.  I thought there was no way I could last long doing this.  The posture felt strange, and the exercise was wearying.  Ten or fifteen minutes in I hit a rhythm where I felt I had the knack of it while thinking there was no way I could last an hour.  If I could get to a half hour, perhaps one of the regular elliptical machines would be free.

Just before I was to finish on the machine and get onto another, the last free one became occupied.  All right, I guess I'll have to press on for a bit more.  Again, I was more than ready to stop at the first sign of another machine freeing up or when I hit 45 minutes.  In the end I completed an hour on the machine I started on.

Although I wish I were already in better shape and had dropped more weight than I did last year, I have to take some satisfaction in the four hours of exercise I've done this week.  My conditioning is decent, and my mental stamina must be too if I can push through two workouts that I really didn't feel like I could finish.  Perhaps switching up the machines I use will keep me from feeling like working out is less of a chore on those days when I'm not feeling like I want to be in the gym.


Friday, January 06, 2012

Keeping up

It's been a very busy couple of days--as usual--which meant that I've neglected blogging of some sort here.  While daily blogging was not on my list of resolutions for 2012, it's something I wanted to work at resuming after failing to keep the years-long streak going in late 2011.  I suppose I could have backposted entries or forced myself to stay up, but I think the best thing for me as a writer (and as a person who needs to sleep) and you as a reader is to hold myself to a more reasonable standard.

What might that be?  Simply put, I pledge to write here on a daily basis within reason.  Some days, like yesterday, I'm simply too swamped to write something, especially anything of value.  When that happens, so be it.

I'm going to aim to write earlier in the evening, which ought to help with typing up something more worth your while.  Typically I'll sit here after 11 or 11:30 p.m. (or into the next day) grasping for a topic.  Trying to whip something up when I'm tired doesn't exactly lead to great results.  I think too that waiting until the very end of the day, or start of the next one, has made this feel more like homework that I've procrastinated on.

Writing for writing's sake can have its value or rewards, but it also means a lot of unproductive work.  On a related note, I bought a Moleskine journal for writing down immediate reactions, notes, and thoughts for the movies I see.  I'm bad at taking notes--I don't, in fact--and while I remember broad strokes and some details fairly well, the sheer bulk of what I watch means there's plenty of things that occur to me that I don't retain.  Putting those thoughts down in a physical book has already aided in the writing I do about film and, strangely enough, may be more helpful in finding them again. 

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The future at present

Streaming, streaming, streaming.  Everybody's streaming.  Obviously I'm able to stream movies and TV on my laptop, although that's not how I'd prefer to watch.  I can access Netflix through the Wii, but the best it can output is standard definition.  Not good enough.  (Yes, how incredibly spoiled that sounds.)

Recently I bought a Roku.  Tonight I hooked it up with an HDMI cable and proceeded to see what I could find and might want to watch.  Without intending to seek it out I ended up burning through all six episodes of Portlandia's first season.  The picture quality was remarkable.  Suddenly I have the potential of always having something I could be watching.

Sure, cable television has offered lots of channels for awhile, although there's always been the issue of finding nothing worthy on.  (Look how far we've come.  Springsteen's song sounds like he's talking about a puny lineup now.)  The channels on Roku don't have everything one could ever want, but it would take an intensely dedicated or hard-to-please viewer to exhaust these resources.

I imagine some of you don't think this is a good thing.  Having the capability to find something to watch on TV at any moment may even sound like a nightmare scenario.  Fair enough.  I just can't help but marvel at how quickly the technology has made this a reality.


Monday, January 02, 2012

Year in review

2011 was not without its challenges.  There's the perpetual job drama, which has been going on for five years over the same point of contention.  I had some concerns about my health.  While I waited longer than I should have to get them checked out, my fears were basically overblown.  I felt pinched for time quite often, but in most cases it was because I was making time to exercise, which has made me feel better, and doing things I enjoyed.

All in all, it was a pretty good year that saw it's share of firsts.  I visited New York City not once but twice and couldn't have had a better time.  I finally attended the Toronto International Film Festival and managed to see a film from one of my favorite filmmakers several months before I would have been able to otherwise.  Plus, he and the main cast were in attendance.  Although my favorite team wasn't playing, I attended a World Series game.  I saw Paul McCartney in concert

On top of that I went to my fair share of ballgames and made my annual trips to film festivals in Cleveland and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.  On two occasions I got to see my favorite singer, who doesn't play in this part of the country regularly.  I even meet her and her husband, who she was performing with, after one of their shows.  I met and renewed acquaintances with several folks I've known online.  My parents moved to a home that is unquestionably the nicest place they've ever lived and are a solid ninety minutes closer, which makes visiting, especially at the holidays, easier to do. 

I know it is often easier to complain and focus on how things are not how one wishes for them to be.  I'm certainly susceptible to dwelling on what I'm dissatisfied with and worrying about stuff I can and can't control.  So it's important for me to look at last year and appreciate the ridiculous amount of treasured experiences it gave me.  I didn't expect a significant number of those things to come to pass.  Whether 2012 can equal or surpass 2011 is irrelevant.  I had a very good year.  Now let's see what this new one will bring.

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Sunday, January 01, 2012

Resolve 2012

January 1 means resolution time.  I'm going to carry over last year's resolutions, which I had mixed success accomplishing.  Those resolutions are:

-Lose weight/continue to get in shape.

-Read the Bible all the way through.
-Read more.
-Give more to charity.
-When it comes to media consumption, aim more for depth among the breadth.

Those are all well and good, but if that was last year's list, I need to add to it, right?  So let's toss these out there and see what I can do:

-Keep my apartment straightened up more.

It's easy for me to let it go and become a mess.  I'm going to tell you upfront that I know this will be tough for me.  The desire to do it often isn't there, and time seemed at a premium last year.  But I'll try.

-Knit on a regular basis.

It wasn't by design that I did minimal knitting in 2011, but I can do better, especially since I have a project or two in mind.

-Avoid letting election year politics stress me out.

It's inevitable that I won't be able to escape the chatter everywhere about the Presidential campaign, not to mention all the other races.  I'm already completely sick of it all, so I need to be mindful of not letting it drive me crazy.

-Catch-all: general personal improvement.

One can dream, right?

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