It may be true that "expressing ourselves," giving free reign to our "natural " impulses, gives us momentary relief from our inner tensions, but we remain trapped in the endless circle of our usual habits. Such a lax attitude doesn't solve any serous problems, since in being ordinarily oneself, one remains ordinary. As the French philosopher Alain has written, "you don't need to be a sorcerer to cast a spell over yourself by saying 'This is how I am. I can do nothing about it.'"Any thoughts on how this relates to self-expression and blogging (or just talking)?
We are very much like birds that have lived too long in a cage to which we return even when we get the chance to fly away. We have grown so accustomed to our faults that we can barely imagine what life would be like without them. The prospect of change makes us dizzy.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The tube on the left is connected to an elevated bag of fluid that keeps the eye inflated so it doesn't collapse like a squished grape when you make your other incisions. Those two metal things on either side of the cornea and short hollow tubes that go through the pars plana into the vitreous chamber. We use these two tubes to place instruments through. Usually one hand has a fiberoptic light so you can see what you're doing in there. The other hand has an instrument, like a cutter, or a pick or a laser, or whatever you need at the moment.
It used to be that you would make an incision and just push the instruments in and out of the eye through the cuts. With this new "hollow tube" technique, you just stab the tubes in, do the surgery and then take them out at the end. You don't even need to put any stitches in. It's very cool surgery.
The little lens suspended above the cornea is actually attached to a huge operating microscope. The microscope usually focuses light onto the cornea, but this lens allows you to focus it further back into the vitreous.
Oh, and the big metal thing is a lid speculum. When I operate, people often tell me they're afraid they'll close their eyes. Not to worry. We just pry them open with metal instruments.
One more subtle, but important detail. In the lower right corner of the photo, above the eyebrow, next to the blue drape, there is a purple arrow. That arrow says "operate on this eye." It's bad form to operate on the wrong eye. Especially if you're doing an enucleation. (Look that one up. It gives me the shivers just thinking about it.)
I do have to say that I love my job!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
By 9 PM I could not move my leg, and I stood with my head against a wall, tears streaming down my face from the pain. I'm reading a book right now by a Buddhist monk, and he says that even suffering has value if we use it to be more compassionate to others who are also suffering. It didn't take the edge off, but it was an interesting thought at the moment. I took some Tylenol with codeine and fell into a drug induced sleep.
I woke up yesterday morning, still with searing pain and drove to the ER to make sure nothing was broken. Nothing was broken. The doc told me to take anti-inflammatory pills every six hours no matter what, to try to quiet things down -- 800 mg of ibuprofen, for a total of 3200 mg a day. If this didn't work, the plan was to take oral steroids. I also got a prescription for some more Tylenol with codeine.
After 24 hours of the anti-inflammatory meds, I can walk with only a slight limp. It's really amazing, the power of modern pharmaceuticals. Someone who had sustained this injury 100 years ago would have been in pain for weeks. Heck, even now, someone who has no access to basic medicines suffer needlessly.
So it looks like this saga is coming to a close for me.
I ran into someone last night who said they heard about my injury and what a pity it was because the word was out that I had a good sense of the game and was a decent player. Now that was the most unexpected part of this whole thing for me, mostly because I disagree, but it was nice to receive the complement.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Today we had our first game, playing against the Saipan Thai Team. We lost 1-2, but no goals were scored while I was on the field. We played three 30 minute periods and I was on for about 20 minutes. Nothing spectacular and nothing disastrous. I just wish I were quicker.
We have practice tomorrow evening and again on Thursday and at that time Jason will make the cuts to form the team. As much as I'd like to make the team, the reality is that it's hugely taxing on my family. Mara keeps encouraging me, saying that if I make the team, it's only a six week season. But I see the strain on her and the four kids, so I have a decision to make this week.
I will say that I think Jason is a great coach. He's firm and lays down the law when needed (like today), but he does it in a way that is respectful. He also encourages good play and brings out the best in everyone.
Friday, September 21, 2007
The Good: I passed much better, with better form and technique. I scored a goal in our four member drills. I was able to execute the "thigh-thigh-foot-header" juggle drill twice. My stamina was decent.
The Bad: Dribbling. I still don't get those turns and fakes. I read something that if you didn't develop good dribbling skills by age 17, you're out of luck.
The Ugly: The sprints. Oh, it was ugly. I was a millimeter away from just sitting down and saying "thanks, but I'm done with this National Team thing." As I fell further behind, my stomach quesy and my heart pounding, there just wasn't enough air in the atmosphere to sustain me. I imagined laying face down on the ground sucking molecules of oxygen from the grass. One or two people were walking, and that inspired me to just keep going. I ran as fast as I could, which eventually slowed to just barely a jog, but I managed to keep going. I guess 3 mile runs in the morning now need to be supplemented with some sprints.
Tonight's another session, then exhibition game on Sunday at 4PM, and cuts after the game.
Monday, September 17, 2007
I had more stamina than I expected. Angelo and I have been running 3 miles every morning for the past week, so I chalk up my ability to make it through the practice to that little bit of training. We're off for our run again tomorrow morning at 6AM.
I'm a lousy dribbler, and the dribbling drills confused me. I need this stuff in slooooow motion.
Overall assessment: I made it through one practice! See you all on Thursday evening.
Editor's Note: I changed the title from the original one so as not to tempt the Fates. Happier now, Brad?
Sunday, September 16, 2007
My hope is to pick up some soccer skills over the one week tryouts to carry over into the rest of the season. It's taken quite a bit of arranging for me to get a pass for the Monday, Thursday and Friday evening practices. I would like to thank my lovely wife, Mara, for her never-ending support. (Though, if by some fluke I actually make the team, I'm sure the never-ending support will evaporate quicker than you can say, "But, Honey, I'm really enjoying it," at the prospect of having me away from home for three evenings a week.)
I have very little lung capacity, so I'm going to shave the two pounds of hair off of my legs to give me an aerodynamic edge.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
She'll be sharing the full recipe soon.
Skip over to her blog, "Seaweed, Sand and Sunsets," to see her celebrating in her cat costume.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Help me out. I've got two choices on the table for the title to the book I've completed. The book is a collection of my columns from the Saipan Tribune.
Here is what the book is about (from the back cover). Believe me, it took a long time to figure this out, but your comments helped formulate the description.
If you have other suggestions for titles, fire away. The purpose of a title is to accurately reflect what's inside, and to get someone to pick the dang book up. The shorter, the better, which is where my current choices are a bit weak, but the columns are so diverse that I haven't been able to come up with just one or two words.
Your opinion matters to me, so let me know your thoughts. And vote! The poll is there on the right.
One of the best thing things I've read on this subject is actually in today's Saipan Tribune, written by my friend Walt. Here's what he as to say:
Many people are frightened by the prospect of change because they fear losing control, but that's only because they've mistakenly bought into the illusion that they even have control. The truth, however, is that the only thing you have complete control over in this life is how you respond to the things you have no control over. You cannot control people, the situations they create, or anything else, but you can choose how you will respond to those people and situations.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
I didn't think of doing this until Friday afternoon, when Russ mentioned it to me. He's got a gimpy hip, so he's down a few notches from his winning triathlete days, and I have a gimpy everything, so we decided to do the run together. It's the first time I've done one of these races. We ran a leisurely 10 minute mile pace, and finished in just under 30 minutes. I got to grab a cup of cold water from one of the race supporters, drink it down while running and throw the cup on the ground, just like on TV!
I never thought I'd be able to run like this. Since my early twenties, I've had problems with my shins. When I'd run more than 5 minutes, or even walk briskly, my shins would cramp up, blood flow would decrease to my feet, and I couldn't lift my feet at the ankles. They'd just sort of flop. I talked to an orthopedic surgeon who told me that the fascia (the sheath) around the muscles had gotten tight, and that if I wanted to run again, I'd have to have a fasciotomy -- splay the fascia open, like a fish (see post below). Recovery time: six months. Apparently, the last eight weeks or so of playing soccer must have loosened up the fascia, because I can run a few miles without any pain or flopping feet. Hooray for soccer. Soccer has given my life back to me. Now, I'm going to give my life to Soccer.
After the race, I came home to find that there was another power outage -- no shower available. So I got my cleats on and headed down for the "mix-up" co-ed soccer tournament. I opted to play forward, and got a few shots off on goal, but didn't manage to score. Our game finished around noon, and I ran out to pick up one of our kids who was in a class.
As I got home and drank some water, I realized that I felt kinda weird -- sort of in a daze. My vision was a bit blurred, sounds were a little distant. It couldn't have been the run, which wasn't too bad. And the soccer game wasn't unusual in any way. And then I realized: I forgot to eat breakfast this morning. This is the buzz of a hypoglycemic brain. I ate a bunch, but was out of sorts for most of the afternoon, even after eating two fistfuls of really good chocolate from Expressions. I hadn't eaten chocolate in about 3 years.
Oh, one very cool thing. Before the race, there were about a dozen dolphins swimming off of Banzai Cliff. They were entertaining the cheering racers, doing flips and everything. I ran over too late to see the flips, but it was a nice sight just seeing them bobbing in the water. It's the first time I'd seen dolphins in Saipan waters.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Monday, September 3, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I've been away from blogs for the past week or two, and so it was serendipitous that as I was getting my self-doubts dissolved by praise from people, Boni suggested a kindler gentler blog community and suggested that we write good things about one another. I peeked at a couple of the lists of kind words that some of you had put together, and I could tell it must have been painful to switch from the edginess and witty sarcasm in which we all engage, to the open-hearted praise. Well-done to everyone, and kudos to Boni for calling us to a higher standard of love -- that's what it is -- at least for one blog entry!.
Now, if you want, take the bold and vulnerable step of posting a "Say some nice things about me" entry.
For some reason this reminds me of a quote I first heard in the movie, Akeela and the Bee:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? . . . We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us."
Marianne Williamson's from A Return to Love