Book: Todd Hargrove’s ‘A Guide to Better Movement: : The Science and Practice of Moving With More Skill And Less Pain’’ – “I am turning thirty next week, and I just want to go home, and grow oranges.”

I am still trying to finish Todd Hargrove’s book on moving better, it is a good book and I think it will be useful – but I am having to concentrate to take it all in and then work out how to apply it to my knee.

Buying the book was a side effect of my ex-yoga teacher pointing out the Better Movement website to me, I liked the website – although I am still trying to read it all and the one that really struck home was the article on Fatigue is an emotion

It mentions an article by Tim Noakes where the basic idea “is that human exercise capacity is not limited by a failure of the body, but is instead regulated by the brain to ensure that such a failure does not occur.”

So when you get tired and feel like stopping it is your brain telling you to because it doesn’t want you to hurt yourself, this same brain trigger can make your brain scream “PAIN” without there actually being pain – at least not pain pain.

I have a strong feeling that this is me, my brain knows how trashed my knee was (is) and how much it hurt when it was bad, so it shouts immediately that I start doing something. And on things which I know have resulted in my being really hurt (aka running, leg press machines) I listen to my brain and stop.

One things that the website comments on this article mentioned Charles A. Garfield’s 1984 book ‘Peak Performance: Mental Training Techniques of the World’s Greatest Athletes’ which looks at the Soviet and East German sports training programs and the mental conditioning tactics – specifically the visualization stuff.

I am unsure if I am open minded to weird stuff, I find it interesting but I don’t really believe. So I wasn’t too hopeful when I tried the visualization of running a kilometre whilst staying (relatively) relaxed and without my knee screaming. I focused on the distance increasing by 0.1 until I got to 1K and it was ok – not great but ok.

The next challenge is to try running a little further with visualization and to find the book!

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Food: Savse Super Green Smoothie – Super scary green smoothie

Both my yoga and Pilates teachers have raved about green smoothies so I decided to try one – admittedly a commercial one but it was very green!

Savse Super Green was on offer and the only one that my supermarket stocked – it was also fantastically green and lumpy looking…
savse smoothie

Apparently it contains the following, is cold pressed and is completely unpasteurised:

150ml Pear (juice)
80ml Broccoli (purée)
5ml Kiwi (pulp)
5ml Lemon (juice)
5ml Banana (purée)
4ml Kale (pulp)
1ml Spinach (juice)

The colour and texture did really put me off – the broccoli is surprisingly lumpy, but once I got over both of those factors it was ok. It is never going to be mistaken for a treat but there are worse ways to eat your greens!

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2014 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Knee: Helpful muscles that I should know – “the knee bone connects to the wrist bone”?!

Off the back of the throwaway comment from the NHS ‘Specialist’ I decided to look up how my leg muscles actually work. However I don’t like gross pictures of the inside of legs and have a short attention span when it comes to medical names for stuff.

Which means that even before my knee failure, back when I could still run, I wasn’t overly into the mechanics of it, I wasn’t overly fussed what muscle connected to which other thingies, I just wanted them to work and for my IT band (aka Iliotibial band) to not get so darn tight!

However the internet tells me that the IT band is not simply one big muscle that happens to get tight and get annoying all by itself. It transpires to be made up for several muscles which join the party at various different points along the leg.

peanuts dinosaur

(Picture from collectpeanuts.com/)

For the purposes of my limited attention span there are two key leg muscles towards the top of the IT band: the Gluteus Maximus (GM), aka the Butt, and Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL).

There is also one somewhere around/below the knee, the Tibialis Anterior (TA).

The Tensor Fascia Latae is the front (anterior) muscle on the thigh part of the leg and it joins the IT band from the hip along with the Butt – except the Butt joins from behind (weird that).

I then got very confused by the internet and concluded that basically the TFL and the Butt need to work against each other (but in a collaborative way) in order for the hip to be stable and reliable.

funny bones

Then the Tibialis Anterior (TA) links into the IT band from the front and is a big muscle near the shin and is apparently used by pretty much every leg movement ever.

My yoga teacher, the ‘Funny Bones’ books by Janet & Allan Ahlberg and the ‘Dem Bones’ song, tell me that everything is interconnected, therefore a stable hip must be good for the knee. A stable TA feeding into the IT band, which has also got the hip muscles linking in from the TFL and the Butt, must have some positive influence on what happens around the knee.

I did finally look up what the difference between hip adduction and hip abduction. Adduction is squeezing together motions, abduction is away. Abducting seems to tighten the IT band so is not my friend.

Really not sure how much of that actually went into my brain and I didn’t really find any exercises which is a shame as I probably need to search the internet some more now… plus there was that other throwaway comment about the correlation between core strength and knees.

Maybe another day.

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When the NHS re-enact Abu Ghraib to avoid fixing my knee

I was rather excited to see the hospital specialist physiotherapist, I also had rather high hopes – these were dashed by the time I was escorted through a sticky looking door marked “men’s changing”.

Being led into a dimly lit low-roofed room that seemed to be a smaller version of an indoor sports hall on a severe austerity budget didn’t boost my hopes. It then became apparent that this was an assessment session for me and six other people of various genders.

There were no privacy screens or any attempt to pretend the ‘patients’ had any dignity as the NHS ‘specialists’ ordered various garments to be removed and actions performed.

Fortunately I was wearing clothing that let my knee be examined without the need to shed clothing – I did feel sorry for the woman who was told to run on the spot in just her underwear and the rotund boxer-clad chap told to stand on one leg with his eyes closed for 5 minutes whilst the NHS staff sniggered.

egyptian pyramids

(Photo from Wiki)

I had a nagging feeling that the whole thing was either candid camera or sadistic NHS staff having decided that the abuse in Abu Ghraib sounded a bit of a laugh

The woman that I saw made me recant the entire history of my knee pain and made it clear that she hadn’t bothered looked at my notes or my scan. She was also a master of stating the obvious, she agrees that my knee cap is high – this is an IS and can’t be changed. She also said that my muscle strength is ok, although the inside quad on left leg is slightly weaker.

She commented that the outside of my left leg was tight and this is pulling the knee cap out of alignment and that the swelling under the knee (which is presumably the fat pad) is pushing out the front of the knee cap at an angle – the top of the kneecap is the further point out.

The only  new thing was she declared that I need to build up my core strength as this would help stablise the leg – although this was a throw away comment.

So for 45 minutes I was poked and prodded, with no treatment or advice given. This wasn’t what I expected and I also wasn’t expecting there to be a three week wait for the next possible appointment slot. However I’ve taken the slot and am hoping that the next session will bear less resemblance to the abuses committed by a few bored and stupid member of global Superpower and might actually be a bit more useful.

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Patella femoral Joint VS the NHS via my doctor’s attic

After 11 weeks since my doctor filled in a form to refer me for NHS physiotherapy on my stupid runner’s knee (aka tracking problems of the patella femoral joint) and 11 week of me hearing nothing I thought I would ring my doctor to get a bit more information about what is happening.

The phone number was engaged to the point where even their holding queue system wasn’t answering! After ringing back five times I finally got through to a holding queue, they don’t have holding music as that would require a licence so it is silence punctuated every few minutes by a computerised woman’s voice saying “you are still queuing”.

 

medical files

(Photo from HowStuffWorks)

It might be my imagination but she sounds rather put out that I am still on the line after 20 minutes.

After a few more minutes of silence I get through to a real person, she is helpful and explains to me that the referral forms are still in the practise!

The process is the practise puts all the referral forms in a room in date order and once a month the NHS Trust tells the Practise how many referrals they can send. At which point the Practise goes to the pile and takes the oldest forms off the pile and refers those.

So technically I have not yet been referred, the nice lady explains that it is at least three months until you get to the top of the pile!

attic

(Photo from The Sunday Times)

She couldn’t tell me where I was in the pile – because at my doctor’s they put the forms in the attic which only the Practise Manager has a key to and the Practise Manager is on holiday for a couple of weeks.

So if I am very lucky I might be in October’s referrals allowance, or November’s or the attic may have eaten the forms. It might be that I’ve seen too many horror movies but nothing good is ever hiding in the attic…

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The NHS *does* have death panels, the A&E department

Sometimes being in a certain predicament unexpectedly is annoying and inconvenient enough in its own right to make anyone grumpy. When the so-called –professionals have no answers and no compassion it is even worse.

For example, if you were feeling very off for a few days and then had terrible pain – enough to go to Accident and Emergency at 2am in total panic. You’d hope and expect that Accident and Emergency (henceforth A&E) would treat you like a person and talk to you. You would be wrong.

Ambulances

(Photo from The Guardian)

These are some tips that I discovered first hand:

  • It isn’t helpful if the initial desk staff are dismissive.
  • It isn’t helpful to leave the person for 30 minutes scared and in pain in the initial waiting area along with a couple of rowdy drunks.
  • It is helpful for the triage nurse to be kind – but being competent too would be nice.
  • It isn’t helpful to be left for another hour sitting in a second waiting area after being told that the next trolley in room B is for you – with no trolley appearing for a very long time.
  • You think of your cave and penguins – just like in ‘Fight Club’, you smile at the thought and get glared at by the staff.

Fight Club Slide

  • It really isn’t helpful for the trolley to finally appear and someone else to get it.
  •  You do feel sorry for that someone when their intimate infection is discussed at very loud volume and in great details.
  •  You then get taken back to be triage nurse and told they’ve detected X condition, the triage nurse then looks blank as you ask “so how does that explain what I am experiencing?” They say that you need to talk to the doctor.

nhs death panel

(Photo from an NHS death panel trust)

  • You think of the self-help meetings in ‘Fight Club’ and gain greater understanding of why these people cling to each other – dealing with the doctors leave you so bruised and fragile that you want someone who understands, who listens and who has empathy.
  • You watch the nursing staff write out the wrong prescription – making it worse by writing in her own name, you wonder how many overdoses these people have given patients.
  • You wait another 30 minutes and decide you are leaving – you find someone to tell as the staff have been bitching when people have got up and just left (or possibly wandered away to die).
  • They then find a doctor, the doctor is apparently 12 and is a prat who doesn’t relate the situation to condition X and ignores perfectly reasonable questions.
  • The prat says to go home, take some of your own painkillers and go see your normal doctor in the morning.

paul phillips

(Photo from Paul Phillips)

It is now 4am, you are still in pain and you feel like you’ve wasted two hours of your life. You are tired, concerned, grumpy and have no ***king answers at all – in fact you possibly have less answers than before you went in.

On the bright side you know now that A&E is useless and staffed by a-holes.

You also know that they could have very easily killed you through incompetence. You celebrate your escape by visiting your normal doctor at a civilised time.

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My cat drools and he likes it

My household has two cats – G and F.

F is called F because of his very large and obvious (censored!), his (censored!) has been apparent since he was a kitten. Also since he was a kitten he has drooled when stroked.

It is more of a steady drip of drool than a stream of dribble, but it is certainly very soggy if he sits in one place for long enough.

kitten drool
At first the drooling was a cause for concern as there are a few possible medical causes:

  • For example mouth problems such tooth damage, gum disease, ulcers or similar.
  • An adverse reaction to plants, household cleaners or medication.
  • Potentially nerve damage, internal organ damage and rabies all deserve a mention.

So there are a fair few medical reasons which need ruling out!

A vet can and should be engaged to check out drooling and to give the cat a clean bill of health. One question which they may ask is if the drooling has developed suddenly or recently. In F’s case the answer is no, he has always been a gusher.

So with no sign of a medical reason and a healthy mouth this opens up the possibility that the drooling is due to being happy. Apparently some cats drool when relax and content, they get so happy that they go floppy, their mouth opens and they dribble!
Some research and a lot of experimentation seems to suggest that F likes being stroked behind the ears to the extent that he dribbles – but only when my other-half strokes him!

Some people on the internet suggest that you should avoid stroking any trigger spots, but I am unsure why avoiding making F happy just because of a bit of sogginess would be a reasoned or fair response.

So F will continue to be adored and stroked where he likes and I will be grateful that he prefers to sit on my other-half!

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2013 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.