The Casual Blog

Tag: Geert Audiens

A photo contest, getting shoulder therapy, trying fasting, and not debating climate change

Rob Tiller -- Passionate Embrace -- 2015 (1 of 1)
Sally spotted a notice in the local paper of a nature photography contest at Raulston Arboretum. The theme was gardens and plants, which you may have noticed I have an interest in, and so I decided I might as well have a go.

Competition is a good way to make yourself try a little harder. With the thought of critical judging, I took a careful look through some of my favorite images, and found little disqualifying problems on most of them. Of those still left, some just didn’t touch me. That exercise alone was worthwhile, good for my eye and mind, win or lose. Ultimately, I settled on the two bees shown here, worked on them for a bit with Lightroom software, and got them printed on metallic paper nearby at JW Image. Still to do: getting them framed, submitted, back, and hung in the apartment.

Speaking of self-improvement, I finally decided this week to get physical therapy help for my left shoulder. I’d tried letting the thing heal itself with several weeks of relative rest (no heavy weight lifting), but that didn’t work. I got in to see Geert Audiens at Results Physiotherapy, who’d helped me with back and shoulder issues before. Geert quickly diagnosed a torn rotator cuff, which, he said, would get worse if not attended to. He predicted it would take several weeks of specialized exercises, but it would likely get better. It’s good to have well-functioning arms and shoulders. And so we began, with simple little exercises, antiinflammatories, and icing four times a day. It’s a substantial commitment, which I hope will be worth it.

I’ve also been experimenting for a few weeks with a modification of my food consumption. I’d somehow picked up 5 pounds that would not come off, even with hard cardio work outs and careful healthy eating. I saw a story on alternate day fasting for the weight control, which basically means eating very lightly (500 calories) every other day. I decided to have a go for two days a week, a variation which, I just learned by googling, has been promoted elsewhere by others.

My method was my normal greens-and-fruit smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch, and nothing for dinner. The no eating intervals were challenging, especially at dinner time with Sally eating. But it helped clear the mind, and made me more conscious of eating well on the normal eating days. And I did get rid of those 5 pounds in about 3 weeks.

The debate of the Republican presidential contenders this week promised to be rich with irony and ridiculousness, with the numerous conventional candidates facing off with the loutish Donald Trump. As a Democrat, I’d never looked forward to a Republican debate so much. There were, as it happened, no meltdowns. In fact, I was surprised at how articulate and intelligent most of the field seemed (with the Donald as usual the big exception).

Yet collectively they have such enormous blind spots. It’s difficult to see how you could propose to govern or even talk seriously about social policy without quickly getting to the issue of what to do about CO2-caused global warming and the many related problems, like rising oceans, mass extinctions, famine, resource-related wars, mass population dislocations, destructive storms, drought, etc. These related disasters are front page news now. Yet this issue doesn’t appear on the Republican agenda, except for opposing whatever action the President proposes. This is wildly irresponsible. The situation is dire, and getting worse.

Rolling Stone published a good piece featuring new climate change research by James Hansen and others, which I recommend. It isn’t easy to think about this problem, which makes us uncomfortable and unhappy, but we’ve got to do it. I was glad to see that Hansen thinks a carbon tax could potentially pull us out of our present suicidal course. Anyhow, we all need to get more educated on this, and to keep pressing our politicians for action.

Take care of your body

I used to regard the taking care of my body as sort of a bother — something much less important and interesting than, say, reading a good book. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come round to thinking of it as a fundamental — the thing that has to be done before anything else can get done. Being happy depends in large part on being healthy. And just as some people look forward to taking care of their pets or their cars, I’ve come to value the opportunity to care of my body with healthy food and exercise.

Getting healthier has made me happier, and happy about getting healthier — a virtuous cycle. It’s hard to believe — ten years ago I wouldn’t have believed it myself — but I actually look forward to getting up at 5:15 and going to the gym.

Lately I’ve particularly enjoyed my once-a-week early morning workout with Larissa at Studio Revolution. She’s sparky and cheery, and always innovative. This past week she had me doing a lot of new movements that required balance and coordination, and thus concentration. It isn’t always clear why we’re doing these things, but over all they seem to be producing good results. My rule of decision is, when in doubt, just trust her, and do the exercise. This is, I think, a good general rule: if you want to accomplish something, find a good guru, and then do what she says.

I applied this rule recently to a nagging shoulder injury. Most of my joints were working just fine, but my right shoulder did not feel good. What caused it I do not know. I could do most of the activities of daily life, but certain movements, like reaching behind my back to wash it, or taking off a tee-shirt, were painful.

After trying to ignore it, I tried healing it myself through strengthening it, which didn’t work, and then tried resting it, which didn’t work I tried massage, which helped a bit, but then the problem returned. I finally decided to return to the same physical therapist who resolved my lower back problems some years ago, Geert Audiens at Avante Physical Therapy. And two weeks later I’m feeling much better.

Geert (prouncounded Heert) diagnosed a small rotator cuff injury. To fully explain the situation, he had to use a lot of vocabulary I didn’t know. But the bottom line was clear: I had an imbalance of muscles that was causing pressure on nerves. He treated it with various stretches, exercises, and icing, and prescribed a somewhat involved set of these measures as homework. The exercises mostly involved 3-pound weights, which are so small I found it hard to believe they could do anything. But, they do! It’s amazing! If you have this problem, I recommend seeing Geert, and do what he tells you to do.