Saturday, February 7, 2015

...And Painfully So

That's me on the gurney being wheeled
 into the Emergency Room.
After enjoying a killer mountain bike ride last Sunday I was energized and looking forward to my next two-wheeled adventure. Even though the ride beat the tar out of me, I was confident that I would come one step closer to my goal with each ride. All I needed to do was get back out there and try, try, try.

Then Tuesday came a wrecking ball, sans Miley.

Everything was pretty much normal. I left the house for work in the morning, ran around town getting information for the nightly broadcast, and everything was going according to plan. Around lunch time, I stopped home to fix something to eat before heading back out to the streets.

Out of nowhere, my back decided I wouldn't return to the streets with the same vim and vigor from the morning. I sat down on our comfy couch, and then sitting turned into a full-on laying down on the couch.

My lower back was extremely unhappy with me. I popped a few ibuprofen and figured I'd be fine once I left the house and got back to work. The pills kind of helped, but I wasn't exactly a happy panda the rest of the day.

Enter Wednesday morning, when I experienced moderate difficulty getting out of bed. I was sore and my back sounded every alarm possible by activating every nerve in my lower back. Oh man, that was not fun.

I managed to get the kids to school, but I was really quite sore. I waited until 10am before I decided I wasn't going to make my 10:30am interview. I cancelled that one and called the station to inform them I wasn't going to make it in. I popped some pain killers and hoped for the best.

The best did not happen.

After laying down for some rest, I arose at noon in search of a bite to eat. Getting out of bed was extremely difficult this time. It was similar to playing a video game on the easy setting the night before and changing the setting to the hardest level.

My back would not let me stand up without a fight. Eventually, I managed to get on my feet with the support of the dresser, but man, was that ever challenging. I returned to the bed for a couple of hours when I arose to Nature's call at 2:30. This time I could not stand up at all. 

Try as I might, every attempt to stand was met with excruciating pain; the kind that makes you want to curl up in a little ball and cry for mommy. Yeah, that's what I said. It was awful, and awfully frustrating.

By the end of the struggle, I ended up on the floor, where I remained for the next eight hours until I finally caved and called for an ambulance to transport me to the hospital. It was embarrassing, for sure. I was carried out of my house on a stretcher, placed on a gurney, loaded into the back of the ambulance and carted off to the Commonwealth Healthcare Center.

Two shots, a pill, and nine hours later, I was back in my car with my wife en route to Casa de Ruszala. Standing upright was akin to a Jenga tower missing an awful lot of blocks. Every step was strategically placed so as not to shift my body weight too quickly from one foot to the other.

For the next couple of days, life was rough. I stayed home Wednesday and Thursday, but I needed to get back to work on Friday because I was getting tired of laying around all day. It wasn't easy working while numbed by pain killers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory pills. It wasn't easy walking around the office, getting in and out of my chair, getting in and out of cars, and between the pain and the pills, it wasn't easy maintaining focus.

Now I'm working a combination of modern and traditional medicine to get better. It's kind of an East meets West approach to recovery. While I'm resting and popping pills, I'm also receiving acupuncture treatments. We're talking needles, suction cups, electric muscle stimulation; the works.

I'm still feeling the pain and it's still pretty intense at times, but I'm learning to deal with it. I think I've almost got the step-by-step body positioning to get me in and out of bed with only mild to moderate pain.

That's a start.

I've missed a couple of great days for running and biking because of this, but I think it's what I needed. It's kind of along the lines of, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." In the meantime, I'm eating healthy to help keep the weight down, but I have snuck in a couple of treats along the way (ice cream, baby!).

My appetite has been much smaller than usual. I'm sure that the pain is part of the equation, but the pills I'm popping have to be the main source of my hunger games.

I won't be in the weight room anytime soon, but the acupuncture doc said I should be feeling better in about a week. In the meantime, I'll head to the gym on Monday for a step on my nemesis, the ol'  scale, to see how negatively the lack of activity has affected my progress.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Totally Smoked

Yeah, that's how I felt after my two-hour ride this morning with a bunch of mountain biking badasses. At one time I could have done this ride without a sweat; today was not that day. Bouncing back into the world of fitness won't be easy. At least I know that going in. While I don't at all enjoy the way I felt this morning, I had enough fun to go back out there and do it all again.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jumpin' Geminid, Batman!

Last night we camped at one of Saipan's southern beaches and enjoyed the best of what island living as to offer.

While drinking Coronas and listening to the waves break on the beach, we were treated to an amazing display of extraterrestrial entertainment.

Meteors streaked across the sky in massive numbers, some burning quite bright.

It was an eventful camping trip with our family and friends; one which we look forward to doing again in the near future.

Geminid meteor shower peaks this weekend

Thursday, December 11, 2014


The information contained in this article is mind-blowing. I have no intention of renouncing my citizenship, but I don't feel those who do should be taxed into oblivion.

It's a desperate move by a nation afraid of losing its populace and I think it stinks.

We should change this, immediately.

Giving up your U.S. passport? It's going to cost you

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Speaking of Passed Out

Here's a shot of me enjoying this patch of grass after completing my portion of the Hell of the Marianas 100km bike race. I rode two legs of the four-leg course and this photo speaks volumes about the way I felt about it afterwards.

It was tough. The distance would not be such an obstacle were it not for the amount of elevation throughout the course. Without question, the race is aptly named.

The short story is that my shoes broke during the race, I used duct tape to keep it together until I finished (see the foot attached to the pedal in the photo), it was hot, hot, hot, and I left the course knowing it's much harder to complete the Hell when you're out of shape.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Justice Was Served

Nobody is innocent because they're white. 
Nobody is guilty because they're black.
Anyone who attacks a police officer will probably to regret it.

I can't understand why people would rally around the death of a thief who attacked a policeman.

I consider myself lucky to have lived in places where the Michael Browns of the world do not exist. There's no coincidence for this. I choose to live in communities with residents who respect the law and their fellow neighbors.

Should a 300lbs. man of any color walk into one of our neighborhood convenience stores, grab a number of items, brush aside the clerk and brazenly walk out without paying...

Should that same mountain of a man stroll down the middle of the street in the middle of the day  supremely confident that no law applies to him...

Should that same man physically challenge and assault a police officer serving my community in the line of duty...

I would endorse whatever actions deemed necessary to be taken by the people sworn to protect and serve my community that would result in his removal.

I am not a resident of Ferguson, but their town is better off without a gargantuan scofflaw walking their streets and terrorizing shop owners. People who rally around his death have chosen the wrong symbol for their cause.


You can't believe everything you see, everything you read or everyone you know.
Sometimes the wonder in their eyes is just for show.

-Brad Ruszala