Monday, June 26, 2006

My First Rose

(Originally posted on Sunday, June 25, 2006 by Tim)

As I mentioned in Saturday?s post, I managed to contract a fairly nasty case of poison ivy earlier this Summer. This resulted in a truly surreal experience working out a couple of weeks ago. I?ve told this story to a number of people and none of them seem to appreciate it as much as I do. Not one to be discouraged, I?m going to subject you to the gory details in some hope of satisfaction. The story is a little long so you?ll have to bear with me. Moohahahaha!

Roughly a month ago, I managed to get a swath of poison ivy on my face while moving a wood pile. I?ve never been good at recognizing the stuff. It was growing on top of the wood pile and I stuck my head right in it. The result was about four days of agony from Monday until Friday when I started taking steroids to suppress my immune system. Note that all steroids do not help you build big muscles. This steroid tells your immune system to chill out so you can sleep at night. Things quickly got better from the poison ivy point of view after that. The rashes stopped itching and faded to a shadow of their former selves.

The remaining problem was the side effects of the steroids. I?d been experiencing some difficulty sleeping and some nervousness over the week of steroid treatment as well as a little bit of difficulty with my vision. I?d also noticed about four pounds in weight gain (half of which I have now managed to lose). The vision part was concerning me and I decided to finally read the full package insert.

The package insert describes things such as irritability, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, weight gain, muscle loss, negative nitrogen balance, vomiting?wait a second?MUSCLE LOSS!?!?!?! Once I read about the possibility of muscle loss, that settled it. I stopped taking the things immediately.

So I still haven?t gotten to the surreal part. Between the poison ivy and the various things I?ve tried to treat it, I?d been really off my game for about a week and a half. With that, I hadn?t managed to work out. The night after I had stopped taking the steroids, I planned to work out, but I got a migraine right before we left the house. I decided that it had been too long and I wasn?t going to let the migraine stop me. I took my normal 800 mg of ibuprofen and we headed out to the gym.

Now when I work out, I usually start with the bench press. The first set of repetitions are usually agony. I have an old swimming injury in the shoulder of my right arm and it literally screams through the entire first set. Seriously, you can hear dogs barking in a half mile radius around gym when I start lifting. After the first set, I assume some endorphins kick in because the rest of my sets are far less painful.

So the surreal thing about my workout a couple of weeks ago was there was no pain. I sat down to do my first set and felt nothing. My muscles still fatigued at the same point, there just wasn?t any pain. I kept looking at the bar to make sure there were weights on it. No one else seems to fully appreciate the story but it was a really weird experience. My sister in law (Jes) is a physical therapist and she thinks that it was a combination of the anti-inflammatory steroids and the ibuprofen. I?ve been considering taking some ibuprofen before workouts, but I probably need the pain to keep me from pulling something by trying to lift too much.

So that?s my story. I don?t have a cool picture to go with it so I?ve posted a picture of my first rose. I?ve never planted a rose bush before and I decided to try two in the front yard. I get good sun out there and I?m hoping I dug a big enough hole to make up for the orange clay that masquerades as soil in this part of Virginia. I was worried for a while as the rose bushes didn?t seem to be doing that well. Jes even commented, ?Well, at least you got one.? This is the flower in the picture. It?s a little sickly and I really thought it was all I was going to get for a while. I think the bushes were getting beat down by a spat of rainy and overcast days. We?ve recently had a long streak of hot, humid, and clear. They seem to be doing much better and I counted eight buds last time I looked. With a little luck, we?ll have blooming roses for Dalton?s birth.

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