Monday, December 18, 2006

In a few hours I am going to wake up and go to the hospital to have a second ACL reconstructed. I don't really find myself nervous about the surgery itself, and I already know that I can handle the physical and mental challenges associated with all of the physical therapy. At this point I am just really just so unexcited at the prospect of having to do the whole damn thing over again. After my first surgery and subsequent recovery I was so convinved that I would never have to go through all of that again. I just felt like something that I would only ever have to deal with once and now that I have to face it again I don't feel the same anger and passion I felt the first time, I just feel like it is another obstacle that I am going to deal with.

On Thursday morning I ventured out to Waltham to meet my cooperating teacher for next semester. She was very cool and I think I am really going to enjoy learning from and working with her. She teachers three different levels of algebra (remedial, college prep, and honors) as well as a pre calc course. I will most likely end up teaching all three of the algebra courses and maybe a few lessons in the pre calc course as well. Since one of the classes has 30 kids in it I will be taking 15 of them into another classroom and teaching them while she teachers the other 15 in her classroom. This is a huge opportunity for me and while I am really excited about it I am also terrified. I have never had such a large amount of responsibility before, especially for a bunch of other people. I am also worried about how effective I can be with a huge knee brace on and a limp.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I met with Dr. Foster this morning to talk about my surgery. He was very happy with the condition of my knee and was able to answer my questions easily. A few nights ago I had a nightmare relating to this surgery. I haven't had a nightmare in something like 15 years, but for some reason this upcoming date with modern medicine has upset my subconcious. I can't say that I'm excited to go through six monthes of intense rehab while student teaching, but I'm also not prepared to say that I am scared of it. I have already been through it and while I know it is going to be difficult I am aware that it is more than doable. Stupid nightmares.

These past two weeks have been very trying for me academicly. Last week I had a Modern Algebra exam and a Research exam. Today I had a Chaos exam and tomorrow I have a Stat exam. I did pretty well on the two last week, I don't think the Chaos exam went as badly as I had envisioned it, and I am pretty confident in my ability to deal with the Stat exam. However, all of this fun testing has left me with little time to complete any other assignments, including the 15 page paper that I have due on Monday. I also have at least two other assignments due on Monday, which means that this weekend is going to be jam packed with projects.

Spoony and I decided that we're going to start playing Warhammer again. I asked my dad to mail me up all of my old Space Marines and rule books. I also asked for the new rule books for Christmas so I can learn the rules the way they're supposed to be. My plan is to play a bit with the Marines, figure out the game again, and then start a Tau army. I already have a few ideas, and my freelance work at Orientation this week (around 15 hours at 15.00 an hour) will hopefully pay for the bulk of the miniatures, since I am a bit short on cash right now.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I have been doing a lot of bouldering lately. I told myself I wouldn't climb hard until my knee was fixed but for personal sanity reasons I have not been doing that. I was very confidently climbing V2's at Metro tonight and I was able to send some V3's and work V4's. It is weird that I am doing some of my best climbing without a fully functioning left knee. I think I would be climbing a lot harder right now if I wasn't constantly terrified of falling and ruining my knee.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and that means that this semester is nearly over. Right now I'm staring down the barrel of a 15 page paper but after that I am mostly home free (excluding finals). I think I am ready for this semester to be done with, although I'm not looking forward to the surgery that comes after it. There is also my student teaching next semester, which provides a whole host of terrifying possibilities even before I factor in the joys of knee rehab.

Due to a collection of reasons I have scrapped the koi fish tattoo idea for the time being. There were too many things not happening the way I wanted them to and I just didn't feel comfortable doing it right now. I may come back to it at some point after surgery, but that is something I'll think about later.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My knee surgery was confirmed for December 18th at 8:30 in the morning. That is balls early, but, as someone pointed out, it makes the not eating or drinking part really easy. This means that I should be 100% good to go sometime between May and June, provided that no complications arise.

Sadly, I am pretty sure that my tattoo idea is not going to work out. The second artist I e-mailed has yet to e-mail me back and at this point, I don't know that there is enough time for me to find another artist and get the tattoo done before my surgery. This is somewhat upsetting because I had been getting more and more excited about this as the process progressed.

I have been doing a lot of low level climbing but I think I am hurting my knee. I am very reluctant to stop however because I think I would go insane if I didn't have something to do with my energy. I can already feel that I'm weaker and it is very obvious to me that I am climbing several levels below my peak.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Chris O'Donnell e-mailed me back today saying that he was unable to do my tattoo because he is booked until late next year. He did suggest that I contact another artist in the shop, so I went ahead and sent Mike Rubendall essentially the same e-mail I sent to Chris. I feel a bit silly, but when I got the negative e-mail I suddently felt a bit uneasy about the whole idea. I think I had built up the scenario to include Chris so that when I found out it wouldn't the whole thing suddenly felt a bit off. I looked at a lot of Mark's work and he seems very capable so hopefully my aprehension will pass.

Laura and I went to see High Fidelity the musical tonight. I really didn't like it. High Fidelity (the movie) holds a very special place in my heart and since the musical was not like the movie I really couldn't get into it. The whole thing was bright and exciting, even when the topics were love lost and death. I also couldn't stand it when simple dialouge had to be turned into a song. I realize that these are exactly what musicals are, but I had a really difficult time trying to not think of the movie every three seconds.

I spent no time this weekend, and really no time last week either, doing work. My literature review is non-existant and I have two large midterms coming up, in addition to the general load of problem sets and reading that I have. I know that all of the math (even the stat) work will get done in a timely manner, and I know that I will spend ample time studying for my chaos exam. I am a lot less confident in the quality of work and the time spent on anything that is due for my research methods class. My complete lack of interest in that class coupled with my diminished personal drive for a high GPA add up to me aiming for a gentleman C and a big fuck you to SED for making me was several thousand dollars in student loans for something that will never be of any use to me.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I went to see my doctor (Dr. Foster) yesterday morning. He confirmed everything that I already knew, namely that my ACL was totally ruptured and that I would need reconstructive surgery. He did have some good news for me though. My meniscus was intact and my range of motion and strength were good. He asked me to try and do some strengthening work before surgery and to make sure that my range of motion stayed full so that I maintain my good state right up until surgery. CJ and I have agreeded to try and have me do some rehab about three times a week for now and see where that takes me.

The day that I want to have surgery is Monday, December 18th. However, I found out yesterday that I have one final on Monday and two finals on Wednesday of that week. I spoke with two of the professors and they were more than willing to move their finals for me, and I hope to speak to the third one today. Failing that, Dr. Foster has agreeded to do the surgery that Friday (the 22nd), but I would rather the extra few days of rehab.

I have been doing a lot of research regarding my tattoo idea. I spent a lot of time looking at other tattoos of koi trying to get an idea of what I wanted. I have some general concepts that I want to be sure are there (and some that I want to make sure aren't). I want the koi to look like it is swimming up my leg, as opposed to just existing there. I also want to make sure that the koi doesn't look like a cartoon. Many of the images I looked at had a cartoonish feel to them and I am really not interested in having a cartoon fish on my leg. While I do like the look of the water that many tattoos have, I don't think that I want a lot of it. I want the focus of the tattoo to be the fish, not the copious amounts of cool looking water around it. I also want some maple leaves to be incorporated into the picture. I have yet to decide if I want color or black and gray, but I am leaning towards color.

As for the structure of the tattoo, I have two different ideas. One is to have one large koi on my calf swimming up my leg. I like this idea because the single koi clearly represents me, but I am not sure about this because one koi would be huge and would dominate at least one full side of my leg. My other idea is to have three smaller koi swimming together up my leg. I feel that since the koi are smaller there will be less space on my leg taken up by the tattoo and it won't look so dominating. I am currently leaning towards the second idea.

I am having some difficulty locating an artist in Boston who speicalizes in Japanese work. Most likely I will have to go somewhere else to get it done, probably New York. This doesn't really bother me except that I don't know how I would communicate my ideas to the artist ahead of time so that he has time to make the sketch. I will probably have to e-mail some people and see what they say they can do for me.

Yesterday a freshman girl at BU was struck by a car and died. She was crossing Memorial Drive (she was living in the Hyatt) at night when the car hit her; she died yesterday morning. It feels really weird to think about people my age dying. I hope her family and friends are doing alright.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

On Sept. 10th, I tore my left ACL playing ultimate. This is the second ACL I've torn (the right one went during the summer of 2004) and it means another 2 monthes of non-activity followed by 5 to 8 monthes of intensive physical therapy and rehab. Initially I was very angry, both at myself and at ultimate, because I thought I was done with this nonsense. But after a day of being pissed off and depressed I decided to focus on getting myself back into shape as quickly as possible. I've been working with CJ and Jen at PT trying to maintain my range of motion, and I meet with Dr. Foster on Wednesday to talk about when surgery will be. I've also been trying to stay busy to keep my mind off of it.

The last time I tore my ACL and before I had the reconstruction, I got a tattoo to help me through the ordeal. It was the numbers 4:59 and it represents a mile run in under 5 minutes. This was significant to me because as a runner, I use that as a benchmark to know when I am in shape. It also reminded me that during my long monthes of rehab that I was working for a larger goal (partially that of running again, but mostly just the ability to be active again). The tattoo was a huge motivator for me every day when I saw it, and it worked. I rehabed myself back into shape (despite a second surgery postponing my time table) and eventually ran a 4:53 mile on the indoor track at BU.

While this tattoo still has quite a bit of significance to me every day, I feel as though it is strongly associated with my first ACL surgery. The message it conveys to me still applies, but for whatever reason I don't feel that it connects to this new surgery. To that end, I have started planning a second tattoo for this second foray into knee reconstruction. I have been thinking about getting a koi fish on my right calf. The following was taken from a blog about a koi tattoo and describes the symbolism that surrounds koi:

"The Japanese consider it the most spirited of fish, so full of energy and power that it can fight its way up swift-running streams and cascades. Because of its strength and determination to overcome all obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals. The carp is an appropriate symbol to encourage the overcoming of life's difficulties leading to consequent success."

I feel as though the koi is a perfect representation of me; I will be fighting my way through intense and painful physical therapy to eventually reach my goal of being active again. I hope that having a koi tattooed on my body will remind me to have the strength and determination to go to physical therapy every day and work hard to bring my knee back to being functional.

Just like I did last time, I plan to surround myself with images of the tattoo (or at least images of my idea for the tattoo) before I get it done. I realize that I like tattoos quite a bit and I don't want to make the mistake of getting something that I would regret. I also need to start researching artists to make sure I don't get a shitty tattoo.