Saturday: the Farmers’ Market, the gym, physical therapy, and SparkCon
by Rob Tiller
It was a particularly intense week at work, and I was glad we hadn’t planned any major travel adventures for the weekend. The weather turned cooler on Friday night, and Saturday morning was sunny when I went over the N.C. farmers’ market. It was colorful, with gorgeous squash, peppers, beans, tomatoes, and apples. I bought some kale and collard greens for smoothies and a basket of peaches.
After that I went to O2 Fitness, where I did a work out inspired by my session earlier in the week with Larissa. Along with a variety of lunges, bends, squats, hops, balances, twists, pulls, and pushes, I worked in some high intensity rowing (two-minute intervals) and jump roping. I rigged my TRX cord device to a chin up bar, put my feet in the grips, and did some side planks, level planks, and a complex core series including pikes. Then 10 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the escalator-style stairs. The stairs device looks ridiculously retro but gets the heart to seriously pumping. Then stretching, and finally some foam rolling. All this took a little over two hours, during which I listened to most of The Marriage of Figaro. I felt really good afterwards.
Good health is a fundamental element of happiness, and you can’t take it for granted. It’s a moving target, and it can get away from you quickly. My right arm has been feeling not so good in recent months, and my various attempted home remedies (rest, ice, stretching) were not successful. Twisting and lateral movements were particular problems. As it got worse, I began to have some trouble turning the steering wheel when driving and lifting a fork from plate to mouth. This caused an intimation of mortality, and reflections on how life would be much more difficult without the ability to use arms for, say, eating, dressing, driving, typing, golfing, piano playing, hugging, etc.
Larissa, probably tired of hearing that she had to take it easy on my arm, referred me to Jeff Vajay at Impact Orthopaedics, a physical therapist with a specialty in arms. I’ve had good luck with physical therapy, which I mention because I suspect there are many people who have no idea it can be so effective. There is a species of physical problem that MDs have no idea what to do with, and well-trained, experienced physical therapists do. I’ve had complete long-term cures to lower back and rotator cuff injuries. It took an investment of time in each case, and a continuing commitment to special exercises, but it was a small price to pay.
Anyhow, Jeff ultimately diagnosed my problem as muscle related, and he worked on it with some intense massage and dry needling. The needing involves using small needles to penetrate muscles and release tension. In places it hurt a bit. But the results were positive. Now, after three weekly visits, I feel 90 percent cured and optimistic about the last 10 percent.
In the afternoon I practiced the piano with a view to getting ready for a lesson on Sunday with Olga. I considered playing a few holes of golf, but didn’t leave quite enough time, so intead I walked over to Fayetteville Street to see the SparkCon street fair. There were several musical groups performing, the loudest of which were, wouldn’t you know, the worst. There was a circus group and various craft and food stalls. My favorite part was the chalk sidewalk art. It’s not so much about artistic profundity as energy and life. Most of the artists were done by the time I got there, but a couple were still at work.