health

Blinding Pain


Indulge me for a moment as I reflect on PAIN. The electric word, pain, it means forever and that’s a mighty long time, but… wait, no. Wrong lyrics. It’s more like I have stood here before inside the pouring rain. But it’s my destiny to be the king of pain.

(TANGENT: Over the years I have come to the conclusion that there is a song for every occasion. And my life is a never-ending jukebox of extended play soundtracks, product jingles and sitcom theme music. But I digress…)

Pain comes in various levels of intensity that I personally believe can be classified by the initial or ongoing reaction of the body. For instance, there is the OUCH variety. As a parent you become intimately acquainted with this type of pain, since it is usually the result of being caught in the crossfire of flying toys, or stepping on a Lego brick for the 2 millionth time. Then you have the NAG variety. This is pain attributed to something like a paper cut, or in my case, the silent and invisible slice of the skin that occurs when you’ve lost your patience while trying to open the 124 jumbo pack of size 4 diapers. After the initial intake of breath from the sudden sharp cut, this pain follows you around for a day or so as it reopens repeatedly because you’ve forgotten about it, and failed to take it easy on the tickle attacks. Of course, there is the THROB level of pain. Most of us are probably familiar with these dull waves of soreness that gather in your arms, feet and legs when you finally sit down after a long day of errands, decorating and playing host to a couple dozen tyrant gradeschoolers for a birthday party.

Why am I saying all of this? Because on Tuesday of this week I was finally at the point of no return with one of the more devastating levels of pain… which is BLINDING. Blinding pain is when the pain is so intensely excruciating that you squeeze your eyes shut uncontrollably. It’s the kind of pain that wakes you up from a dead sleep and laughs at your feeble attempts to ignore it for the sake of rest. It’s the kind of pain where panic sets in because you are quite certain it will never go away and you seriously consider the horrific thought of what it would mean to endure this kind of torture for the rest of your life. Yep. That was me. It was a toothache. And you can chuckle all you want, but when your head feels like someone is shooting bolts of electricity through the roof of your mouth and directly into your brain, no amount of head-holding, temple-massaging, hot packs, or acetaminophen is going to provide you any relief. It was the kind of pain that you can’t run from though you desperately wish it were possible.

(TANGENT: This is second only to MIND-NUMBING pain in which the pain is to the point where the body shuts off all sensory perception and you knock out. This happened when I was 12 and was hit by a car. You can read that story here.)

Fortunately for me, I have a wife that likes having me around and wants to keep me around for a bit longer. So she set up an emergency appointment for me with the dentist that afternoon.

A little background on my relationship with dentists… I’ve developed a bit of apprehension about visiting them. Why? Well, not because I’m the kind of person who’s afraid of going to the dentist’s office. But it’s more about how the dentist treats me. As a kid, if I had a cavity the dentist would say something along the lines of, “If you don’t lay off the sweets, all of your teeth will fall out.” Now I know that this approach works for some people, but for me it just felt eye-roll worthy. As I got older, the dentists I visited seemed to only get worse. Instead of a jovial “Lay off the sweets,” I’d get a more accusatory “You’re too young to have this going on in your mouth!” or something equally degrading. Their comments were the antithesis of encouragement. “Hey Doc, I’m fully aware of the crummy condition of my incisors. That’s why I’m here! Can we skip the personal insults and just cut to the part where you fix my teeth and take away the pain? Thanks.”

I was happy to find that my wife (you know, that crazy-beautiful lady that tolerates my imperfections) had let the dentist and office staff know of my previous experiences. Because of this, they were extremely gracious. The dentist who took care of me that day was not only compassionate, but genuinely concerned about my overall comfort level. God bless her. After an initial examination I was told that my wisdom tooth in the upper right was broken and infected. I was given antibiotics, pain medication, and scheduled for an extraction appointment in 3 days. The next few days brought my pain level down from BLINDING to NAGGING with the occasional BLURRY thrown in for good measure. In any case, I made it to today.

My appointment was at 7am, which allowed me to get up this morning a whole half hour later than usual. I pressed through the rain, into the car, down the street, and into the familiar strip mall that contains our dental office, along with a smoke shop, a juice bar, and a much-frequented 99 Cents Only Store. As before, the office staff received me with knowing kindness and before I knew it, I was in and out with a mouth full a gauze and one less wisdom tooth!

The cause of my blinding pain, now mercifully extricated.

The cause of my blinding pain, now mercifully extricated.

I’m still taking the antibiotics and the occasional pain pill. But the blinding pain is thankfully in my past.

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Ditching The Fanny Pack


Because of the chaos of life, my abs which were once a clearly recognizable 6-pack, had more recently come to resemble a fanny pack. So I knew something No More Fanny Packhad to be done.

What I’ve found is that best way to get where I need to be (and appreciate where I am), is to recognize how far I’ve already come. With the encouragement of my wife, I’ve restarted my workouts, and my personally designed Jonathan Diet. Today is only day 3, but it’s 3 days further than I was before.

 

Categories: fitness, health, nutrition, personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

What’s In Store for Two-Zero-One-Four


Hello I’ve been meaning to write a New Year’s post for the last (checks calendar) 23 days. And while I totally missed New Year’s Day, I wholeheartedly subscribe to the “better late than never” philosophy. 😉

This is my official “Welcome to 2014!” post. Albeit somewhat further into 2014 than I first anticipated. But you’ve still got a good, what… 11? 11 1/2 months to go? I think we can work with those numbers.

Okay, so this year I plan to blog more! I mean, I know that weeks have gone by since my LAST post, but we’ll just pretend that didn’t happen. M’kay?

One of the things I’d really like to do this year is establish more communication with my readers. You know, connect “on a deeper level” so to speak. Like, we start off as acquaintances who share an occasional laugh over some ridiculously juvenile meme about rainbows and coffee, and by the time this year is over, we’ll be BFF’s sharing inside jokes about that one time when I did something and you said that thing and was laughing for 20 minutes straight! Ha!

But…

First things first.

I figured one way to do cultivate our new found togetherness is to come up with a term of endearment for you all (all 11… 12… 13 of you ;-)). You know, like “Beliebers” for Justin Bieber (I am not) or “Marshmallows” for fans of Veronica Mars (I am indeed). Anyway, these are a few of the ideas I came up with:

  • Dove Bars
  • Dream Dovers
  • Doverboys & Doverbabes
  • Dove Tappers

Okay, okay… I know those are super lame. So please, if you would, help me out with some suggestions! I would be your BFAY (best friend all year)! Or at least until my WP premium expires. Which it won’t! I assure you.

So, back to 2014 stuff…

I’m working out again. 1003214_10151777577201773_1716813791_n

My wife and I will be celebrating out 10 year anniversary this August and I want to look even less frumpy than I did then. (Hows’ that for setting a high goal? 😛) Not that I was totally frumpy. But I want to look like I just graduated from the Super Hero Training Academy! 😀

Far fetched?

Maybe. Maybe not.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m starting off at around 200lbs. My trainer will get me down to about 185lbs, then I’ll build muscle mass back up to 200 (or as close to that without looking like some weird balloon animal).

Wish me luck! 😀

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New Eyes


I just completed 10 weeks of my fitness regimen and here’s my obligatory BEFORE/AFTER photo. 😉

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After dropping 10 pounds in the first few weeks, I’m now at the place in my training where I’m working on gaining muscle mass. This almost seems backwards in a world that spends so much time, energy and money on LOSING weight. So I’ve had to change my perspective of what it means to train, my overall definition of healthy living and recognize that my success, failure or whether or not I should feel satisfied, is not found in the constantly changing numbers on a glowing digital scale.

Take a look at my photo again real quick.

Understand that I didn’t put up this photo hoping people will say something like, “Hey, great job, Riis!” or “Wow, you look fantastic!”. No.  This photo is up because I want to point out a few of the obstacles that sometimes prevent us from celebrating every success… big and small. See, I wouldn’t look at this photo and see success. While others may see the result of commitment and determination, what I see is all the work (at least in my head) that still needs to be done. I feel the weight of where I want to be and the hard reality that I’m still not there. I want  you to understand that even after considering my progress, I’m still struggling with feelings of dissatisfaction. I wrestle with feeling like I messed up somewhere or that I’ve fallen behind or that I should have hit some ridiculous milestone…  and that I’m failing.

But I’ve got new eyes.

And these eyes show me that every morning I wake up is a victory. Whether I complete 2 push-ups or 200… it’s a victory. Spartacus workouts, 5k hikes, 45  minutes of hardcore cardio on a spinning bike… the fact that I’ve done any thing at all, is a victory. So when I’m tempted for some bizarre reason to pick up those old, negatively-tainted eyes, I look at a picture like this and remind myself that I’m one step closer than I was the day before. 🙂

Categories: fitness, health, personal, photos, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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