Life as an expatriot living and running in the beautiful town of Zwolle, the Netherlands.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One pain and then another. My leg is healed but my jaw... whooooo boy.

The procedure begins with massive shots from a very industrial looking soviet type needle. Totally cringe-worthy. See, the thing about Holland is that it's like half Liberal Utopia and half Communist Russia. Liberal examples: legal pot smoking, co-ed naked spas, gay marriage. Communist Russian examples: industrial engineering and decor that is all about sterility, hard edges, and function. Bathrooms, kitchens, medical rooms, even snack shops are mostly cold white tiles and no frills. And did I mention... those big ass needles?

Anyway, the surgery begins. There is no actual pain but the pressure is intense and the sound of the drill going into my jaw bone is ridiculously loud. I have the feeling it is blowing apart my eardrums. Now normally, I am pretty relaxed at the doctor's. But during this visit I just lay there stiff as concrete. I have not done enough yoga in my lifetime to deal with this circumstance. About halfway through the procedure, the doctor tells me that in America, when doing a jaw operation, oral surgeons will put the patient completely under general anesthesia. He thought I was being very brave. And I'm like... "Being brave?!? ...Dude, you are telling me I had a choice?!?"

So he finishes, gives me my stitches, and some prescriptions for pain medication and disinfecting mouth wash. And this being Holland I do as the Dutch do - I leave the hospital on my bike. Let me repeat this: I have surgery and then I'm riding my bike to the pharmacy and then home. The Dutch... what's normal to them is bad-ass to me.

Now my jaw is completely swollen. I'm talking and looking like Marlon Brando in The Godfather. I have to wait to run again... hopefully on Monday. Tonight, I'm going to the gym for non-impact, non-jaw thumping bike training.

PS. I want to wish all the best for a speedy recovery to my good friend and fellow RailRunner, Marc.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Interesting news. I think I found the root cause of my on again/off again left Achilles problem. This week I visited a physical therapist to diagnose and treat a lower back spasm. This I also deal with 1 to 3 times a year, and this spasm also always begins on my left side. After feeling around my hips and butt bones, she declared that the problem was in the way my left butt bone fits over my left hip bone. It connects a little looser on the left than the right. To compensate, my left muscles have to work harder. Over time and over miles, that extra work can cause strain in my lower back and also down the leg into my calf. So it's not really a problem of literal overtraining... my body can handle the miles... but a problem in my joints that can be corrected. We start deep tissue massage on Tuesday and I am to do some specific exercises that should correct the problem over time.
My leg is almost completely better. I am considering trying a small run on Monday to test her out. Then, of course, on Tuesday - after physical therapy - I have my jaw surgery... and I have no clue if I'll just be down for the day or down for a week.