Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I've been unicycling quite a bit lately--seven to ten miles a week--and I was getting back into decent shape. I've always struggled with my achilles tendons, though, and about three weeks ago, I had another flare-up.

The chain of decay:
--running (only a couple of layers of cartilage left on my knee, so had to stop)
--swimming (screwed up my shoulder, had to stop)
--unicycling (achilles tendonitis, had to stop)

I could put about five other sports/workouts in there. I hit a certain age, and my body just stopped healing, really. Stuff that would resolve itself in a week took a month, and injuries that used to take a month to heal just stopped healing at all.

Unicyling is a terrific exercise, and I was up to 15+ miles a week three years ago, and then wound up with achilles problems. I've always had achilles problems, to a degree, but this time, they never really went away.

So when I had a problem three weeks ago, I thought it was achilles tendinitis again. The pain was more intense, though, and seemed to go up to far toward the knee.

I dropped down to kicking laps in the pool. Got worse. Tried walking on the treadmill. Got worse. Tried yoga. Got worse.

Off to the orthopedist.

"I think you partially tore your plantaris," she asid.

That's when I got pissed off.

The plantaris muscle is a vestigial piece of crud that does nothing useful. It's sort of the muscle version of me. So I have been in terrific pain for several weeks and feel completely deconditioned because of a muscle that serves no purpose.

Good grief.

Side note: one of the things she prescribed was a prepared DMSO cream. This was a blast from the past, as DMSO (originally used by vets to treat inflammation in horses, altthough it's classically an industrial solvent) had its first big heyday around 1981, and I tried it then.

DMSO, particularly when mixed with an anti-inflammatory, has relatively amazing healing properties. Using it for inflammation back then was definitely an "off label" use--actually, there was no label, because it was mostly used by vets--but hey, Alberto Salazar was using it!

DMSO had two unique qualities. One, anything on your skin, or anything touching your skin, would immediately get absorbed into your skin via the DMSO. So if you put it on your  lower leg, for example, then put on jeans, the dye from the jeans could get absorbed in to your skin. That's how powerful it was.

The second property was that within seconds of rubbing it in, you could taste it in your mouth. It was a combination of garlic and oysters (yes, pretty nasty), and it was so strange to rub some cream on your leg and taste it almost immediately.

I'm skeptical that this (and a cortisone dose pack she put me on) will work, but hell, I'm desperate at this point. Last week I actually ordered Lurong, which is deer velvet anter.

Yeah. That's desperate.

I ordered it because Adam Greenberg (faced one pitch in the major leagues, it hit him in the head, and he had years of problems because of it) said it helped him, and now he set up a site to sell it, and I thought that if I was buying a bottle of placebo--but he made some money from it--then I was okay with that.

"How do they get that?" Gloria asked. "Do they kill the deer?"

"No," I said. "No deer are being killed. I have a neutral deer footprint." We sat there for a few seconds. "Now if they did kill the deer, but it really helped my achilles, I'd face a difficult decision. Maybe I could plant enough deer to make me deer neutral again."

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