Thursday, October 30, 2014

Steampunk Coffe Table

Here is the latest Steampunk inspired project.  We had an old pine coffee table that we brought seconded hand almost eight years ago.  It no longer fitted into our d├ęcor and the choices where get rid of it or Steampunk it, easy choice lol.  Well here is the finished product - what do you think?


This is what it started out looking like, I took the pictures after removing the studs.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 21 - Pace Yourself ...

If you know me, you will know that I am a full on person and my work is no exception. I am passionate about what I do and getting back to it has been both great and a challenge at the same time.  To quote my manager "Pace yourself as you transition back in Matthew" and she could not be more right - ssshh don't tell her I said she was right.

The excitement of returning to work has been tempered by the discovery of friends that have lost there jobs recently due to position elimination.  My thoughts and best wishes go out to all of them during a tough time.

Yesterday was my first trip into the office to meet up with the team and it was a really nice welcome back which was very touching, not to mention a cake that due to my diet I could not eat, but it looked really tasty.  Even here I was thought of as a banana was provided for me, not quite the same as the cake but I'll take it with gratitude and thanks.  It was awesome to start getting caught up and finding out all the great work that has been done.

Yesterday was a pretty full on day with the chiropractor in the morning a trip into the office for a few hours, acupuncture and PT.  I don't mind admitting that when I got home I was done.  Here again however my mind and body were not completely in sync until Sarah grounded me.  I came home with every intention of doing 30 minutes on the bike when Sarah reminded to be sensible.  It was a good job I listened to her as a few hours later I ached something fierce.

The trip to the dentist on Monday seems to have helped and although not the unrealistic remedy I was hoping for, come on you have got to hope right.  The pain has reduced and yesterday and today the pain came on later in the day and ibuprofen nails it completely.  That and a night guard have made for what I would call progress.  I have also noticed that the pain increases not only with temperature and pressure but in line with the amount of talking I do.  So being quiet seems to help and that is something a few people might what to be a permanent fixture I'm sure, but I aim on disappointing them.

Now back to the body, it turns out that sitting at a desk typing is not the best for my recovery or my jaw.  I was reminded by a friend at work yesterday that with my arms forward on the desk typing I would put pressure on my shoulders that puts pressure through my neck and into my jaw.  She is right, huh I seem to be surrounded by smart women, I count myself lucky.  I am listening even if I don't seem to, but it is hard when I really want to motor through everything and get caught up.

Today I paid attention to my body as I continue to work though my email backlog and I realized I need a new strategy.  The first thing I will explore is voice command software (recommended to me yesterday)  and I will let you know how that works out if I can get it installed.

Since today has seen me planted in front of the screen all day I am looking forward to doing my exercises and riding my bike on the trainer I just wish it was not so cold in the room to start with :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 20 - Back to Work

I will be honest I was concerned going to bed last night given my experiences to date and especially after feeling so crappy yesterday.  It seemed the odds were stacked against me as I had to wait to take the pain killers which meant getting to sleep later than I wanted.  Well the pain killers kicked in and to my surprise I got to sleep and only woke once in the night.  Now I am not saying I woke up feeling fresh, actually fresh is not even close to how I felt.  The pain killers had worn off and it felt like I had been in a bedroom brawl and not the good type.  Still I had more hours than expected and a soak in hot water loosened things off so all in all not the worst start to the day.  A text to my dentist landed an emergency appointment for lunch time to have another go at my teeth.

Body functioning and dental plans made it was time to get to work and let the games begin.  Well there was a little delay to the games beginning since I had not powered up my work laptop for a while there were a few updates and an expired password to sort out.  Ok now the games could begin or maybe not.  Oh boy, after a few minutes my inbox loaded and a few thousand emails stared back at me with open hostility.  It has been a day of sorting through the inbox and clearing out the spam and irrelevant mail with the ability to respond to far fewer than I would have liked.  There really are times when select all and delete would be a magic thing to do just not today.

After a day of sitting at the desk and deleting mail I am now need to do my exercises and I really don't feel like doing them but I know I will get into it once I start.  Oh, on the Teeth front more bite adjustment seems to have helped and so far today I have not needed pain killers.  The real test will be later this evening after dinner.

Ah yes dinner, that is the unfolding drama in the house hold.  After waiting 3 weeks for the dishwasher repair man to arrive things did not go smoothly.  Thankfully Sarah was a star and sorted it all out but I could feel the frustration rolling off of her starting with repeated calls to let her know he would be late and then fumbling the repair, no conclusive answers, an order for parts he does not know will fix the problem and another visit needed weeks out.  I think Sarah was awesome dealing with it and keeping her cool.

Ok I really do have to exercise :0)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Recovery Journy Part 19 - Power Down

At around 8pm last night the power started to flicker in the house.  With the wind blowing and the rain falling we were not expecting the power to go out but out it went plunging the house and street into darkness.  It's funny how a blackout makes you think about your preparedness.  With candles lit we spent the rest of the evening playing a board game by the light of head torches followed by an early night.

I wish I could say that the romance of the evening led to a peaceful night sleep but no such luck.  At 2am in the morning I woke with my teeth and back aching, not what I was hoping for the day before returning to work.  At 2am I had no choice but to read until the pain killers kicked in, and that turned out to be a good 2 hours.

At about 4am'ish I got off to sleep and woke with both my teeth and head throbbing, I could not help thinking "really, really".   Determined not to let the pain control me and with the power still out we decided to take the dogs for a walk.  It was good to get out but unfortunately by the time I got home the headache was firmly in control again. 

Yet again I am blessed to have such a wonderful wife who sorted everything out as I took painkillers and crashed out on the sofa.  Writing this at 10pm the pain is threatening but under control.  It sucks when you start to not want to go to bed because of the thought of the experience to come.  I don't have an answer to that right now other than to trust that this too will pass and tomorrow things will be better.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 18 - 9 weeks and Getting Ready to Return to Work

9 weeks seems both an age and like yesterday and now it is time to start to get life back to some form of normality, well as normal as you can be expected with treatment appointment set up almost daily. 

Honestly I was kind of hoping that the last week before returning to work would see me dealing with less intense pain and if not for my teeth a jaw that might have been more the case as the pain in the shoulders has travelled around to the upper back and is now very much like the pain you get after a very intense workout the day after the day you did the workout, if you know what I mean.  The muscles are extremely tight but with all the massage, PT, acupuncture and daily exercises the movement in my neck and head is improving although looking behind me in the car sucks a little.

The bummer has been my teeth, they just don't want to let up and give me a break with almost constant throbbing unless I take painkillers.  Oh and then there is sleeping, I get to wake up approximately 4 hours after getting to bed with aching in the back and shoulders that makes for a restless rest of the night.

Still compared to 2 weeks ago it is a night and day improvement and the successes have been many.  I have been able to start riding on the trainer and I am now up to a 25 minute spin on the bike, can hold a plank for 40 seconds and today was able to hike with Sarah and the girls for an hour.

This week I have tried to prepare myself for the return to work by adjusting sleep patterns and an increase in activity to a full day.  Whilst I am excited and looking forward to getting back to work I am also aware that there is a change of pace coming that my mind might think it can deal with but my body might have something else to say about.  I am resolved to cross that bridge as it comes and be sure to listen to my body.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Steampunk Plane - Kinda

Although not technically Steampunk this project was inspired by Steampunk and quite frankly not being able to find what I wanted.  For sometime now I have been looking for a model silver plane and after scanning the internet, looking in stores and quite literally drawing a blank it dawned on me to repurpose or upcycle an existing model.

It was fun to do, and a nice way to spend a couple of evenings whilst Sarah hit a puzzle.  Here are the before and after pictures. 




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 17 - Teeth and Life

You know you have a good dentist when he returns your texts at 12am in the morning, something I was not expecting.  If you have never had tooth related nerve pain then I envy you big time.  If you have you know what I mean when I say you can think of nothing else other than - MAKE THE PAIN STOP.  Well that was my evening last night.

Let me back up a little, if you have been following my recovery you will know that I fell on my head and that once fitted with a collar I experienced a major TMJ flare up.  What you don't know is that two years ago I started on a journey to prevent a major TMJ flare up.  The treatment involved electroshock alignment, braces and a whole lot of memories I am it a hurry to forget.  The upshot was moving my jaw forward by a lot and included crowns on my teeth to create a whole new bite.  Prior to the accident I had ongoing appointments to work on the bite alignment because as you can imagine you just don't get it right the first time, second time, 5th time, need I go on. 

So during the collar days the bite was and jaw joint was enflamed by both collar pressure and bite pressure.  Post collar days the joint and nerves are enflamed by bite pressure points for which the solution so far is to sand down the high points without lowing them.  Lowing them would result is all the teeth needing to be realigned, so a bad thing.

Now forward to the beginning of the week, when I visited the dentist.  We worked on the bite and I left hopeful that we had it nailed.  It takes a least two days to figure out if the bite works so I entered into the teeth cycle.  What am I talking about, well let me share.  In the mornings the teeth feel ok until hit with hot or cold, you know the feeling right.  Then as the day goes on the jaw aches and then culminates in the evening with throbbing pain.  Take pain killers get a few hours sleep and the cycle begins.  As you might have gathered I am an optimist by nature and every morning this week I told myself they are calming down and indeed Thursday night was not that bad.

Back to last night, by 10pm I was bouncing metaphorically off of the walls and after another couple of hours bouncing gave up at 12:34am and texted my dentist, just coz I could.  What followed was a very unexpected text conversation that resulted in an emergency appointment this morning after I manage to get 5 hours sleep with the help of meds.  Today he did a little more grinding, you can imagine how my delicate teeth felt after that.  The good news is more meds and things have settled down, The teeth cycle clock has been reset for another 2 days. 

To take my mind off things and try to get a better nights sleep I picked up a new pillow.  Wow that sounds so mundane but I am sure I am not the only one in the world for whom buying a pillow is a big deal.  Over the years I have taken to even travelling with my pillows as other pillows are either too hard or too soft, yes I know I'm a delicate flower.   So trust me when I tell you it was a big deal and I have my fingers crossed.

Last week I did have some exciting news that I did not share with you as to be quite honest I could not wrap my head around it.  The problems with the engine for our new VW camper have been resolved and the Syncro build is going forward, I even have a schedule.  Today Sarah and I reviewed the 100+ line build sheet and all the choices we still need to make and questions we have.  It definitely took my mind off of things.  The exciting bit is that we might have it ready in December but I am not holding my breath lol.

Well that's it for today, as much as I don't feel like it I have exercises to do and a ride on the trainer to complete.  so I will leave you with the saying that is top of mind for me today - The past has gone, the future is unknown but the now is a gift, that is why it is called "The Present".  I don't recall who's quote this is but I love it - Enjoy the now

Friday, October 17, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 16 - Make the Headache Stop

Man I am tired of this headache, it has fluctuated from severe to low grade for the last 8 weeks and today it is a low grade constant throb, you know the type, the type you just want to bang your head against a wall until it stops.  No I am not complaining, well maybe a bit, can you blame me. 

It is interesting to me how you can see so many people and still the recovery process is like your own personal detective journey where you are the main character with the goal of figuring out what the hell is going on.  Wouldn't it be great if you could go to one person who would explain in simple terms all the things that are happening, how they are connected to each other and what you have to do to help your body recover.  What a revolutionary thought.  Between everyone I am seeing I thought I had a good bead on the problems but still the TMJ issue and the pain in my jaw and teeth is out there. 

Today another little piece of the mystery fell into place with a visit to a masseuse.  Working on my back she told me that my muscles responded well but once she started to work on my neck the news was not as good.  Interestingly she worked on the opposite side of my neck to everyone else.  She told me that my neck muscle was very tight the same side as my TMJ.  Her perspective was that the muscle tightness could be pulling on the jaw joint causing the inflammation.  Ah ha another clue to the mystery of the TMJ flare up.  Anyway after the massage I was warned that tomorrow and Sunday I am going to hurt, oh that is going to a new experience - not.   Lots of water and a little ice are in my immediate future.

Sucking it up I did my PT exercises, Foundation Training and rode 10 mins on the trainer but I have to say getting motivated today has been really tough especially after another crappy nights sleep.  I could have so easily wallowed in my own self pity today and done nothing. It takes effort some days to be in charge of your own recovery but on the flip side I know the dividends will be paid out for the effort - if not today.

My next challenge is going to be to motivate myself to pick up on projects and prepare for returning to work.  I think of it as thinking right as well as moving right. 

My closing thoughts return to how lucky I have been.  My friend shared an accident that happened in New Zealand where a cyclist fell into a sink hole only 75cm deep resulting in a broken neck and paralysis.  Stories like this put things into perspective and give me the strength to be thankful for that throbbing headache and thank the universe I am still here to feel it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 15 - 8 Weeks to the Day

It is strange to think that it is 8 weeks today that I crashed and hit the reset button on all my plans.  Reflecting on the last couple of days overall I am happy with my progress.  I have been able to significantly reduce my pain medication but there has been a hiccup.  That hiccup has been my teeth, the TMJ issue has continued to plague me and last night the pain in my teeth and the side of the face resulted in a tough nights sleep.  Today my teeth are not as enflamed but it is the night when things get interesting and as expected they are starting to throb.

Enough about the teeth.  Today I had acupuncture and Sarah counted 15 needles followed by a deep neck massage which if you are thinking that's cool, think again.  As for breakthroughs, I was able to add a  woodpecker, lung and a forward fold to my exercises this morning.  Not deep or long moves  but a definite improvement.  It is incredible how everything is connected and now that I am effectively starting again from scratch I am aware of all the sensations good and bad.  The most significant feeling this morning was feeling the pressure in my lower back release after a forward fold.  The forward fold worked onloosening my hamstrings that were putting strain on my back.  Best of all I got back on the bike.  It was only a 10 minute spin but it was on the bike and a start.

As I downloaded my workout I also downloaded the crash ride, it was surprisingly emotional to see the data.  It suggests that I might have been unconscious for 10 minutes but the data is far from conclusive. 

As much as I wanted to return to work next week I decided to submit and listen to both my body and the advice I have been given, and take the additional week to consolidate and build on the progress rather than risk taking a backward step.   I made the decision as my expectations and progress have been misaligned throughout the recovery, go figure I wanted it to be quicker than it has been, so to those that have told me to take my time, I am listening :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 14 - Its a full time Job

Recovery is a full time job and one where the improvements are not always obvious.  Yesterday was a busy day that started out with a visit to my primary care doctor to address the requirements of the insurance company.   He was a stand in for my normal doctor and a nice guy, the quote that stuck with me was "Just because you can go back to work does not mean your ready to go back to work".   Interesting, but anyway he did not sign me off for one week but two weeks although I told him my plan was to go back this coming Monday.  His advice was see how things go and we have specialists down the hall to help if you do not make progress.

Next stop was the dentist.  Over the weekend my jaw pain and teeth sensitivity increased significantly and a conversation with my dentist landed me an emergency appointment.  Turned out that my bite was still out of whack and had significantly changed.  He worked on me and by the end of the session my bite had changed again.  I don't know if you have ever had your bite changed but take it from me it is a strange sensation.  The good news is that the jaw joint pain has reduced and the sensitivity seems to be a little improved.  The next few days will tell for sure.

After the dentist it was over to the acupuncturist.  It never ceases to amaze me.   He closing words to me where ones I will hold him to as he said "I think your recovery will be quick".

Next up was the chiropractor.  No not the crack and pop version, it is founded on the QSM3 method (to find out more follow this link) and designed to put my body back in alignment.

After all that yesterday I was very happy to be able to control the pain with ibuprofen and not need oxycodone.  I even managed to sleep in 4 hour intervals a definite breakthrough.

Today I woke up and had the pleasure of an IBS attack, a sensation I have not had to suffer since we changed our diets a few years ago.  I can only imagine that the cocktail of drugs and/or the removal of the drugs did not play nice with my intestine.  Needless to say this is Toilet talk, oh come on that's funny...

Once over the IBS attack and I was able to start the day and get in a very basic Foundation Training session followed by a trip the Physical Therapist.  My head movement is improving but my neck muscles are very tight and engaged in protecting the injury in the neck at C4.  At this point we know there is good movement under the muscle as the movement immediately after the collars removal told us.  Since then the muscle has tightened and I have to give the brain time to disengage the muscle.   Go figure I have no control over my own body, well it is a battle I intend to win.

It is at this stage of the recovery when I know I have to be really careful.  Things are progressing and the pain levels are at the point where I could push myself to far very easily.  It is frustrating knowing that and then having to choose not to do things.  For example we have the training room ready for riding my trainer but at this point I am holding back to be safe.   Another example is typing.  Saturday I made the mistake of typing for too long.  Before I started I could move my neck slightly but afterwards I was all locked up.  Still I did get everything out of my system which really helped - thanks to all of you who replied on facebook.

I am excited to see my movement return and looking forward to the pain in my jaw and teeth subsiding.  I don't know who said it but my mantra at the moment is "This Too Will Pass"

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 13 - Angry at Neurologist

I am angry today and my anger is focused on the primary medical care I have received.  With all the experience I have had with medical practitioners I should not be surprised but then it happens again and it just makes me mad.  I get it, they study specific areas of the body but can they really be that blinkered to believe when the specific area they are looking at is fixed everything is ok - it seems so.  When did medicine forget that the body is an interconnected system and that when treating a condition or injury the whole body and the person needs to be treated and not just the specific bone that has broken.

Reflecting on the journey over the last few days I am angry and frustrated with the way I was treated by my neurologist and the simplistic and narrow minded approach to my health. 

After being released from hospital in Canada I travelled the 9 hours home on the condition that I go straight to ER for an MRI.    This part of the treatment went smoothly and is standard procedure.  MRI completed I was referred to a neurologist for treatment.  The great thing with insurance is the speed at which you can been seen.  The next day I saw the neurologist and the exam took no more that 30 minutes.  I was told I had ligamentitis and that I would need to wear a neck collar for 6 weeks after which I would be assessed for surgery, that was it, see ya, and come back is six weeks.   Sarah and I came away scared that if I even moved my neck my head could fall off and I would need immediate surgery, and that is how we played it for the next 6.5 weeks.

Now reflecting back that six weeks helped but also set me up for a bunch of other problems not least of all the feeling of helplessness as I waited for the time to tick by hoping that I would not need surgery. 

Looking back on that visit I can't help feeling like a piece of meat and hearing the ca-ching of the cash register and the sound of the check box being ticked as I walked out of the office.  There was no thought to my well being over the coming six weeks.  No mention of the challenges I would face or how I might face them and no support system.   Oh I know what your thinking, I could call them right and they would help out.  Well I did when a week into the collar I experienced a major flare up of TMJ in my jaw.  There answer was muscle relaxants that had little effect, no follow up to see if I was ok and no suggestion of who might help.  I guess I could have been more forceful but I got the message loud and clear everything else was not in there wheelhouse.  I visited my primary care doctor who looked at me then asked me "what do you want me to do for you?".  Now that was a statement I was not expecting since I went to her for advice.  I then took matters into my own hands and had both my ear and teeth checked.  I had my ear looked at to rule out an infection and then I had an adjustment to my bite which helped but did not cure the problem.  Even my Short Term Disability notification was not covered by the neurologist's office.  They told me that they would take over if I needed surgery and until then to work with my primary care doctor.

Fast forward 6.5 weeks, why 6.5 weeks and not 6 weeks, because they had no appointments available.  Sarah and I arrive at hospital nervous with anticipation and the hope that surgery will be avoided and the collar removed.  We were called into the office and the first thing the nurse said to us was "how can I help you today".  I know they see lots of people but isn't that why there are files that can be read before seeing a patient who has spent six weeks in a collar.  Next a doctor we have never seen before comes in and asks the same question and then proceeds to ask all about my health.  When Sarah asked why we were seeing him, he said "you will see both of us today, two for the price of one".  I still have no idea what that meant but it was no value to me.  He did the standard rubbing around for sensation and when I told him about my TMJ and having my bite adjusted he looked at me as though I was making up a story.  He then left and in came my neurologist.  He asked how I was doing and after I had finished he said "so you want me to tell you if you can take that off",  I said "yes", he said "you can".  He went on to explain that my fracture had healed and in a completely nonchalant way told me that I was all better and should come off of all my pain medication and resume work and life as normal.   Talk about surprised at the completely different manner compared to six weeks ago when he all but scared the living daylights out of us.  In our surprise we stumbled over our thoughts and questions.  Sarah asked if I could ride my bike, he said "Yes".  Sarah asked if I should use a trainer or could ride on the road.  He told us that I could ride on the road but did not advise going on a 10 mile ride straight away.  We discussed a return to work day of the following Monday and again he told me I was fine, that arguing in the office would help with the healing and his closing statement was "You will get better".

After leaving the office we looked at each other in puzzlement and compared notes at which point we discovered that neither of us really knew what had happened to my neck.  There was lots of talk but the words had slipped through our fingers like melted butter and we were left feeling unfulfilled by the visit.  Still the focus for me was the collar coming off and at that point it was the most exciting thing having suffered from TMJ and lack of sleep the whole time.  Sarah however was scared that I had come out of the collar to soon.  It was not until our first Physical Therapy session that we started to put pieces together and we have come to understand that the collar was on my neck to allow my fractured vertebra to heal and to allow the torn ligaments to heal and scare over at the same time.  Once the fracture had healed as far as the neurologist was concerned I was better - Job Done, Next Patient.

That brings me to today 5 days after seeing the neurologist and 5 days out of the collar, oh and the day before my initial return to work date.  So am I all better?  I would love to say yes and have life return to normal.  I am looking forward to returning to work and returning to riding but the last 5 days have been a challenge and a challenge I was not prepared for or warned about which again makes me angry at the treatment I received.

At my first Physical Therapy session my therapist told me I was being optimistic about my return to work date.  She told me that after wearing the collar for six weeks I might experience greater pain 2 or 3 days after the collar is removed as the deep tissue muscles start to work again.  We decided that I should take another week to focus on recovery.  From an administration standpoint I reached out to the neurologist's office to provide an extension to my short term disability insurance company.  There response was that I was cleared for work and they could not help me.  If I needed further help to contact my primary care doctor.  Again I was surprised at the level of support, the fracture had healed and there job was done and I was all better in there opinion.  I reached out to my primary care doctor to find out that she had left of a months vacation and that I would have to see the doctor covering her on Monday to assess an extension.  On top of all that is going on I really don't need to be made to feel as though I am trying to avoid returning to a job I love.

From where I am sitting today, I cannot believe the narrow mindedness and lack of thought or care I received from the neurologist.  The instruction to come off all pain medication after 6.5 weeks left me suffering until I could get the pain under control again resulting in lost sleep which delays healing, and the assertion that I could return to normal life was pure fantasy, don't get me wrong I wish it had been true.

The journey and experience is why I believe in an holistic approach and it frustrates me that I have to go through it but I have both experience and an amazing wife to support me.  Over time I have also built an understanding of my body and what it takes to recover and last week I set up sessions with my secondary care providers to help me through the journey.  My thoughts and frustration are for everyone who go's through the system and receives the same treatment but do not have the support I have.

Insurance aside I have decided to take next week to recover before returning to work as I am still working through a number of challenges.  I am in almost constant pain which is both wearing and tiring, my upper back muscles are not firing correctly and I have very limited head movement, my neck muscles are tight and painful.  The TMJ in my left jaw is active and my teeth on the left side have become painfully sensitive to both heat and cold making eating a challenge.   Other than that I am the picture of health and vitality.

To recover I am focused on daily exercises for my neck and back.  I have appointments set up with my Physical Therapist, Acupuncturist and Chiropractor next week as well as an emergency appointment with my Dentist to evaluate the TMJ.  It is going to be a long day on Monday what with a doctors appointment, acupuncture, adjustment and dentist - wish me luck.

As I write this I want you to know that "Positive Thinking" is critical to recovery and to put behind you anything that can get in the way of it.  To look for and acknowledge the little improvements no matter how small.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 12 - Getting the Needle

Yup, for sure it hurts more today than yesterday but on the upside I was able to sleep some last night and we managed to move back into the bedroom.  Until last night I had been sleeping on the Sofa as the side of the sofa added an element of support that I could not get in bed.  Sleep came in 1to 2 hour bursts at which point the pain woke me up and I had to move.  Getting up was the worst as everything hurt and it took a hot shower and a good hour to before everything was stable.  Sarah has been working hard at cleaning out our hot tub which we think will help out a lot in the mornings.

Having spoken to my PT, my friend Eric Goodman and my naturopath (doctor Geoff Lecovin) the job I have now is to get the deep muscles in the neck working and I am sighed up for whatever it takes to get there.

Geoff gave me acupuncture and a deep tissue massage and the result has been increased side to side movement.  Eric has given me the task of getting in touch with the muscles in my neck by using a light book balanced on my head to force the deep muscles to work and for me to listen to my body and understand what needs attention.  On the listening to my body front I have also started with very basic FT (Foundation Training) exercises along with the PT prescribed head movements.

Tomorrow I have another visit with the PT and next week I have follow up visits with both Geoff and PT, so lots of work to do.  I decided not to get on the bike today and will target either tomorrow or Saturday as my first ride on the trainer.

On another note a friend stopped by with a home made chicken curry that I am looking forward to tucking into.  With the change in our diet we have not had a good curry so we are very excited to try it out.

Here are some pictures of me under the needle today.  Man that is a scary hairy back.


Tomorrow session 2 at PT.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 11 - First day out of the Collar

Now I know what a bobble head feels like after almost 7 weeks is a collar.  I will be honest and say that last night I was a little nervous about going to bed given the amount I tend to move around at night.  Well it did not work out too badly, it was so much more comfortable to lie down without the collar and I was able to get a full nights sleep in about 1.5 / 2 hour intervals.  That seemed to be the amount of time I could lie in one position before the pain woke me up.  Talking about pain the other breakthrough was getting through the night without the use of Oxycodone.  So all in all I chalk that up to a successful first night.

Talking with Sarah today my spirits are high despite still being in quite a bit of pain.  The difference is that I now feel empowered to take my recovery into my own hands.  Whilst in the brace I did not know what I could or could not do and spent most of the time worrying that my head was about to fall off or something.   Good job it didn't, for me anyway.

What's it like without the collar? Well my neck is super stiff and the muscles are not firing properly after time spent being supported.  My upper body feels like I have done a round with Mike Tyson and pretty much all movement hurts to one degree or another. 

I visited my physical therapist and we are starting to work on movement and tomorrow I have an appointment for acupuncture and with luck a massage.  My PT did inform me that although reasonable discomfort or pain will not do any damage not to push myself and warned me that day 2 or 3 could be more painful than day 1 much like the effects of a hard workout do not show up until the day after the day you worked out.  Joy oh joy, something to look forward to then.

I mentioned getting back to work in my post yesterday.  When I let my manager know about the collar and my plan to return to work on Monday the first thing she said to me after expressing excitement for me, was take your time, I am truly grateful for the amazing support, not having to worry about work is great and allows me to focus on recovery.  This was echoed by my PT after examining me.  As much as I want to get back to work I know it is better to take a little more time rather than go back when I am not really ready - I get it, I do, but it does not mean it is not frustrating.  So the plan now is not this coming Monday but a week on Monday, it will give me time to get some therapy sessions in and figure out how my body is responding.

On the exercise front I managed a standing decompression and a basic founder along with PT work.  Tomorrow with Sarah's help I plan on getting my bike trainer setup so that I can start with 5 to 10 minute spin, it might take a little persuasion as Sarah is not that keen right now.  Everything at this point is about posture and movement.  Helping the body to recover and teaching the muscles that they have a job to do again and that they better get the S@!t together.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 10 - The Collar is Off

The exciting news is that today the collar came off, yup no surgery and I could not be happier about the news - wahoo.  If all goes well and I can control the pain and I can sleep at night for the rest of this week I plan on returning to work on Monday and getting life back to normal.

In the doctors office Sarah got the big question in before me, "When can I return to cycling" and the answer was "now".  Yes I know, nothing crazy but it is a start and very exciting.

With the collar off, things feel better already although stiff which is to be expected after the time immobilized, I wish I could say that was an end to it but no one is more surprised than me to still be hurting almost 7 weeks after the crash.  The pain in the shoulders is similar to the pain I have received in the past from a hard full after a couple of days.  It just goes to show how long some injuries take to heal.

My plan in the next couple of days is to see my Physical Therapist and start working actively on a mobility plan, oh and to email my cycling coach and start gentle riding on the indoor trainer.

I am so grateful and lucky, we take chances sometimes not knowing the consequences of our actions, well as I found out the hard way sometimes the consequences are high and can always be worse. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 9 - Weekend Summary

In the words of he famous Monty Python song "All Ways Look On The Bright Side of Life", so with those words in mind the weekend has been good.  I have been able to get some sleep and today after a walk with the dogs in the sun I was able to get a couple of hours sleep in the afternoon.  I know things are improving but it is slow and the constant pains and head aches are wearing.  The TMJ issue is a real pain in the ear "pun intended".  I am hopeful that it will clear when the collar is removed.

The last couple of hours have been a little stressful as Sarah picked up the post and found a letter from our insurance company stating my return to work as tomorrow despite Sarah having spoken to them twice and sent in a doctors letter.  Frustratingly we have to wait until tomorrow to sort it out and the most annoying thing is how the letter has hijacked us and made us feel.  I am so grateful that I have Sarah sorting out the doctors and insurance as it is a lot of work made harder by careless administrative mistakes by providers.

I love the fact that we received the letter in the post this weekend and it states that a weeks notice is required to extend the disability leave and if a week is not given I will not receive cover.  I am now wondering where our time machine is so that we can get back the week they never gave us.

Ok now that is out of my system, looking on the bright side the pain is less tonight than it was a week ago, we will be able to sort out the insurance mess tomorrow, I am getting more sleep than a few days ago, I have a wonderful wife supporting my recovery and both our dogs will bestow doggie loving on me tonight especially if there is a treat available.

I hope you had a great weekend and you are living on the "Bright Side of Life"

Friday, October 3, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 8 - Shave me Baby, Shave Me

First off, today has been a good day.  I was able to sleep in this morning after a better night sleep than the last few days, and I have been able to keep the pain managed.  The evenings are always worse than the day but I am staying positive about tonight.

As I said, today is a good day.  we got out for some fresh air.  Can you believe the wonderful weather we are having in October, I am sorry to have missed so much of it but grateful for a short trip out today.  We took the mountain bike and left it at the shop to be fully inspected and tuned after the accident,  then headed to the park where Candy (one of our dogs) had a serious workout chasing the RC car around the field.  Then just now as I was writing this one of my work colleagues stopped by with a card and gift from the team.  I asked him to thank everyone and let them know I am missing them.  It was great to see him and catch up, but if he sounds his air horn as he passes the house in the morning my threat stands (lol).

Ok what's the deal with shaving, well as you can imagine with my neck in a brace and instructions not to move, shaving is somewhat of an issue.  This issue is made all the more pleasurable by the fact that stubble rubbing against the collar is like someone sticking a thousand tiny needle's in my chin.  The shear pleasure of the experience combined with the fact that I start to look like a homeless person is just another one of the many benefits of a collar.  Now don't get me wrong the fact that today I am in a collar that can be removed vs the practice of putting the neck in plaster is an infinitely better thing.  That said this thing sucks on so many levels.

So when it comes to shaving Sarah is my savior.   Now letting someone else shave you is an interesting experience and not something I had ever experienced.  Nope, I have never been to the barbers for a shave and until now I have never needed help.  I would love to say that the experience was awesome out of the gate, but lets face it how many experiences are ever awesome the first time unless you are in the hands of a professional.  Ok if your mind went to other place's bring it back right NOW! I am talking shaving for goodness sake.

So let's clarify. Sarah is not a professional barber, I have never been to a barber, we do not have a barber's chair and the extent of Sarah's shaving experience is zero unless you count legs and under arms which she can shave at an alarming rate with seemingly no care or attention.  Shaving equipment is limited to a faithful combination of a Gillett razor and shaving gel.  So when Sarah said "I'll shave you" I was both grateful and somewhat nervous to let someone else, even someone I trust explicitly loose on my sensitive man face.

Was the "First Time Good For You"? - Those where not the exact words and as a dutiful and thankful husband my answer would have been yes, but the truth is you are never going to have a good shaving experience propped up on a bed 20ft from the bath room with someone who has never shaved someone else before and has never had to shave themselves.  Oh and when I say "Experience" until now I have only ever considered shaving a necessity, not an experience.

Now I know Sarah will read this and to be super clear, she did the very best she could in a caring and loving way and I do not want you to think I am ungrateful in anyway when I tell you the first shave sucked.  It sucked because neither of us had experience in what we where doing (Ok keep your mind on the subject).  The water was tepid, the foam and razor where cold and the bristles stiff which lead to every stroke of the razor feeling like my bristles were being dragged out of my face by angry bees. 

Based on the lessons from the first experience's we decided that more research was needed and decided on an investment in a real razor.  Not brave enough to embrace the cut throat we went for a safety razor and brush.  I would like to say that was the end of the learning but as you can guess, with news tools comes new learnings and the challenge was accepted. 

Today the shaving experience was night a day different from the first time and a testament to the support I receive everyday from Sarah.   I will continue to do my job of giving her a client upon whom she can hone her newfound skills and cannot thank her enough for taking the time and putting the effort in to learning the skills needed to give me a close and comfortable shave.

Here are the new tools of the trade.  I look forward to driving myself once the collar comes off, but not every time, skills have to be maintained after all.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Recovery Journey Part 7 - 6 Weeks Today

Six weeks ago today I was in the ICU after crashing around 12pm.  6 weeks seems so long ago and yet it seems like yesterday as well.   What is disappointing is the fact that it still hurts and I am still not sleeping well.  I do have good days and 2 days ago I even lowered my pain meds as an experiment.  I was a little premature.  The TMJ in my jaw brought on by the collar is driving me mad.  The bite adjustment at the dentist seems to have reduced the problem but has not solved the problem.  Last night I got to sleep at 5am and could not sleep past 10am this morning.

Counting the days now until I get assessed and with luck the collar will be removed and I can start Physical Therapy and exercise.

Now that I am fit enough to travel around a bit I plan on having Sarah take me to the bike shop to drop off my mountain bike and have them look at it to make sure there are no problems with it resulting from the crash.  It looks ok but with Carbon it is always best to have a expert look it over.

Here's to a better night sleep tonight and baby steps to full recovery.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

First Steampunk Gun

Inspired by images I saw online and needing something to occupy myself whilst recovering, I finally finished my first Steampunk gun.  It was fun to make and was something I could pick up and put down many, many times.

What the Gun Looked Like Before:

And After


For those of you interested here are the materials I used to create the gun

1 x Nerf Gun (your choice) this one was a Maveric Rev.6
Rub 'n' Buff for the aged paint and paint effect
Acrylic paints as needed, I used brown, blue metallic, silver and black
E6000 glue, it is the first time I have used it and it is a lot stronger than a glue gun.  I like the bits I put on to stay on, with a glue gun there is a tendency for things to get knocked off.
For the tubing I used copper wire and an assortment of odds and ends I had knocking around.
Bag of cogs that I picked up from Amazon.

I made the stand out of a odd bit of myrtle wood and hardware in my odds and ends box.