Things I haven’t blogged about: My shoulder injury

A year and a month ago (The day after New Years. My birthday), I drove to Falls Church to pick up some new suits. On my way back to my car, I took… a shortcut? over a curb. This curb was painted (thus slick) and it had recently rained. I slipped. I was holding my new suits with my right hand, and so put out my left to catch myself.

That decision (more like instinct)– I won’t say it was necessarily bad. Someone more experienced in falling down probably knows how to fall safely. I’ve successfully avoided the kind of situations where one learns how to fall safely (sports?) and extending my arm to catch my fall seemed like a reasonable idea at the time. I got up, but was in a lot of pain. Something was wrong with my arm– I assumed it was broken.

I called Patty, and she drove me to the emergency room. My experience of the INOVA emergency room was anticlimactic, and even almost.. pleasant. We waited in line a few minutes (during which I pulled out my phone, and let Matt and Travis know I was going to be “at least” late the next day, and called Mom), sat down for about 5 minutes, and was talking to a nurse and succession of doctors.

Someone quickly noticed that my shoulder looked “squared off”, a symptom of dislocation. After some discussion, I consented to having them try to “just” pop my shoulder back in place– which was a pretty freaky experience. One person held me down as the doctor pulled my arm into a position that felt wrong wrong wrong, and then: pop!

I don’t know if I actually heard a “pop”, or if I’ve embellished that memory with sound effects. It felt like a pop. If there wasn’t a popping noise, there should of been.

Either way, I instantly felt 1000% better.  I was smiling, laughing, and back on my phone providing my coworkers and family with an updated diagnosis. I let Patty take a picture.

IMG 0068

I left the hospital with a snazzy new sling and a recommendation that I see an orthopedic surgeon ASAP.

Leaving the hospital, we were faced with a Car Situation. I drive a stick shift, and Patty doesn’t. I was in no position to drive, and we had two cars we needed to get home. Thankfully, a call to Dana and Brian produced a solution (it usually does. My family is pretty great)– They helped us get home, and we traded cars for a few weeks.

I wore the sling for about a month,  and then graduated to physical therapy. After a few months of PT, the doctor decided I had gotten all of the benefit out of it that I would, and I was done. Fixed, or something like it.

In August, while doing something not particularly strenuous, I had (what I later found out was called) a partial dislocation– it was over in a second, and there was no pain. It was weird, but not too troubling.

And then it happened a second time a few days later.

The doctor decided that I need an MRI. The MRI indicated that I had a torn labrum– the piece of cartilage that keeps your shoulder in it’s socket. The surgery to repair the labrum basically involves anchoring it back to the bone.

The surgery went well. Being anesthetized was not at all like I expected– I had always imagined it being like a deep sleep, or being awake but cut off from your senses. It was a surprise to close my eyes, and then suddenly be several hours in the future, groggy and nauseous.

After that, it was much like the first time: About a month of wearing a sling (and borrowing Dana’s car), and a few months of PT, which I finished about a week ago.

Back up in the second paragraph, I said I wasn’t sure that the decision to stick my arm out was bad. This is because I’ve had time to imagine what could have happened: What if I broke my arm, instead of simply dislocating it? What if it was my right (dominant) arm? What if it was my face, or forehead that hit cement? There are a dozen or more ways this whole thing could have been worse.

I have developed some skittishness about falling, though: If the ground I’m walking on is the least bit slippery, I’m much more mindful and careful of my steps. I think about wearing a sling, and I think about all the time I spent in PT. It’s a fear of doing this whole routine over again. I really hope I’m done with it.

And, I don’t walk on curbs.

Introduction to the Culinary Arts at the Workhouse: Week 2

I’m enrolled in a 6-week cooking class at the Lorton Workhouse. Our second class was Monday, 1/6.

Class began with a discussion of the five mother sauces, and throughout the night we made two of them (hollandaise and a vinaigrette. We made a béchamel last week.), and some veggie chopping and other prep-work.

The night’s menu was:

  • Warm Bacon and Spinach Salad
  • Caramelized Onion Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes
  • Savory French Brussels Sprouts
  • Baked Salmon with Tarragon Hollandaise
  • A “cake” made of layers of crêpe and an amaretto crème anglaise, topped with a chocolate ganache (with more amaretto)

I may not have actually spent two hours stirring risotto, but it sure felt like it. Someone had to do it, and I was in the right (or wrong) place at the right time. Despite the arm-exertion, it was useful to see how a risotto builds up, and get a basic sense for when to add more liquid to the dish.

Making a crêpe was a good confidence-builder: I’ve tried it at home and failed miserably, ending up with something I’ll call “scrambled crêpes”. I tried it a home the next night, and promptly… scrambled some more. After about three or four failures, some tweaking of temperature levels and amounts of butter, and one pan switch, I made about a half dozen acceptable-looking crêpes. Score!

Fox DC on Comics

The Fox 5 story on comic books is now online– it’s more nuanced than I expected, but still pretty silly.

The biggest problem (and I hinted at this in my earlier post) is that stories like this treat comics as a genre and not a media. Criticizing comics on the DC relaunch is like judging the film industry on Deuce Bigalow 2.

There’s at least one extremely fair point in there, though: The advertisements in many “mature” comics do seem to target kids. That seems like a tacit admission that the publishers intend (or at least expect) them to end up in kids hands.

But why, after establishing that these comics aren’t for children, does Sherri Ly take them to a middle school “to see what kids think”? For the same reason she shows us comparisons between the older/more innocent and new darker/adult versions of Batman, Catwoman, and Starfire: it’s a forced attempt to manufacture outrage.


Relaunched Comics Using Sex and Violence To Sell:


What the app?

If you’re on a phone, and click a link to something on the Mac App Store, this is the screen you get:


This seems like a missed opportunity. At the very minimum, you should get information about the app– the same kind of web page you get when you (on a PC) click a link to an iOS app and don’t have iTunes installed.