Indoors, Sick, & Injured for the Holidays


That’s a title that sounds like it could be sung to “There’s no place like home for the Holidays,” and pretty much describes much of my life since around Thanksgiving.  That’s the day I consumed at least 3000 calories at one sitting and at the same time acquired a gut ailment that required medical treatment.  Not long after that cleared up, I did get to ride a couple of times.  The first time, I was the only one who showed up for a club ride (but stupidly forgot to bring a water bottle so had to abbreviate the ride), and then went on a club ride touring some of  Stepford’s more elaborate Christmas light tableaux – two of which were synced to Christmas music.


Then, on the afternoon of the Wednesday one week before Christmas Eve, while playing lightsaber tag (I was “It”) wielding the blue good-guy lightsaber my young son gave me for my birthday earlier this month, I ran between the shed and the oak tree stumbling in a depression in the grass, there re-injuring the same ankle that was severely injured in September of 2013.  I dropped and I remember as I lay on the cold, damp ground, that I was awed by the fact that the dirt, the grass, the thought of bugs, leaf-mold, and other lawn detrita provided much in the way of soothing comfort over against the screaming pain that began in my lower extremity and exploded through my central nervous system.

When I could again open my eyes and regard the world about me, I saw that my boy had obtained the safe harbor of his home-base and was pretending not to notice that I’d fallen and appeared to be in distress.  That’s probably one of a constellation of normal responses an early elementary-school boy has in response to witnessing his father’s injury, but I was at the time a little put out by his seeming total lack of empathy.

I called Stepford’s premiere podiatrist, a Cornell-educated genius with years of active duty Army experience who agreed to fit me into his schedule if I could get to the office immediately.  I then called my barber, an equally brilliant fellow in his own line, and rescheduled our haircuts for later in the afternoon.  Currently, I have five more weeks in the air-cast boot and at least two before the next podiatric appointment at which time the medico will determine whether further diagnosis demands magnetic resonance imagery.


Prior to all this, however, in response to the gut ailment precipitated by the Thanksgiving Day meal, I’d radically altered my dietary regime.  Initially, I entirely abstained from coffee; formerly, I’d consumed at least one full pot of coffee a day.  I quit eating cheese.  I laid off the leftover Halloween and early Christmas candy.  I started drinking herbal tea as my Internet researches indicated licorice might soothe the gut:  Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea.  When my symptoms became less tolerable, I also consumed generic Thera Flu as well as Airborne.  So, about that Celestial Seasonings tea – I’m guessing the box’s graphic is code for something…


We took our annual Christmas trip to the farm where visited with my wife’s family.  Our little boy was sick much of the week, but still enjoyed playing with his cousins.  He and I both suffered from some renewed bout of viral infection and both our appetites waned.  I spent most of the week watching Magnum P.I. reruns from the show’s fourth season and playing Angry Birds on my wife’s Ipad.  I talked theology with my father-in-law and his best friend, dropped my data-plan and went back to a flip-phone, tried to eat carefully, and, by the time we returned home Saturday after Christmas, had lost three pounds.

The prospect of five more weeks in the air-cast, and possibly even longer before I can ride or walk for exercise is irritating.


A Lingering Cold Reduces Motivation

The Christmas When Everyone Got Sick

Christmas Painting

My creative wife painted this seasonal wall hanging celebrating the birth of the Christ child

I remember having been sick with colds or flu more than once during my elementary school years.  And I remember also feeling miserable around the holidays due to unbridled overeating and natural tendency to run to fat, anyway.  This year, I got to revisit these early experiences, with, however, some significant improvements.  This year, my wife, son, and I drove to her family’s home in a distant, Midwestern state to our north, where we spent about a week with her parents, her sister (with husband and young child), and her brother (with wife and three children).  Pretty much everyone in the house was sick (or had just recently been sick) with a cold or flu symptoms the entire time we were there.  Heck, just about 20 minutes before we were scheduled to leave our Stepford home for our drive north on the Saturday before Christmas, my son while playing in the backyard with a neighbor’s granddaughter, tripped over a tree root and struck the tree’s trunk with his right forehead.  The ER doctor said he was neurologically intact and the X-rays indicated no damage to the boy’s noggin, but we had a long drive and arrived late at our hotel.  At the farm, my wife had a cold, my son had a cold and cough predating the blow to the head and ran a fever every day we were there.  I didn’t run a fever, but had a miserable cough and cold.

My creative son, with a little help, made this Christmas decoration.  I hung it on the hall-tree because I couldn't figure out how to get it to stay on the Christmas tree.

My creative son, with a little help, made this Christmas decoration. I hung it on the hall-tree because I couldn’t figure out how to get it to stay on the Christmas tree.

The other thing that tripped me out about Christmas is that I got almost every extravagant thing on my Christmas list and felt deeply ashamed for having asked for and received so many gifts.  Although physically and mentally I felt like crap, as described above, I was struck by the sure knowledge that I am no longer nine years-old, and when there’s something I need or want/need, I can buy it.  That’s what I did with the new car I got and the GPS unit I bought, as well.  Next year, I don’t think I will ask for anything, or not nearly as much.

Frozen North & Merry Christmas

We drove up to the land of frozen, flat farmland yesterday.  Seventy-Six traveled well, as did his mother the Cautious One.  Stopped twice to refuel Thursday, and once to eat lunch.  Made it to our destination before nightfall.

This morning we’ve got to drive another 90 or so miles north and west to the home of the Cautious One’s maternal uncle and aunt.  We’ll take Thursday so that when it’s time to go, we can leave without waiting for anyone else.

12 degrees above zero

12 degrees above zero

It’s cold here.  12 degrees Fahrenheit (have I spelled it right?), and windy.  Temperature’s expected to drop to around 4 degrees this evening.

I’d thought about bringing my drysuit and checking with an outfitter about 20 miles away to see if I could rent a canoe for a 10 or so mile paddle/float down a nearby river.  I kind of wish now that I’d found room for the gear, but that river might be kind of iced-up along the edges.

My left shoulder’s still bothering me, and I think I will get the name of that specialist at Franklin and schedule an office visit.  The fact that I’ve skipped days paddling and gone easy on the strength-training hasn’t done a thing to reduce the pain.


If I don’t have the chance to update this page before the 25th, Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate this holiday; best wishes to those of you who don’t.