Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The struggle.

This is the struggle.

I can work out for 2 1/2 hours (like I did today), and eat right all day, fighting cravings at home tooth and nail, with only my careful planning to rely upon...

Only to come to work, to this.
It's like saying to a crackhead, "I'm just going to put these rocks here on the counter... you don't have to smoke them. In fact, feel free to ignore them." It's like buying an alcoholic a shot and expecting them to pour it on the floor themselves and order themselves a Coke or water with a lemon wedge.
Had enough analogies?

Apparently that was brought in by some well-meaning family member of a patient we took care of.
Funny, I was extremely pissed off when I thought my co-workers (especially Dan, who knows first-hand of the fight I fight every day) bought this stuff. There was already junk lying around from the blizzard the other day, when Dan went out and cleared store shelves of seemingly every bit of chips and salsa
and bananas and oranges in the South Hills, for the crews who were working and didn't have any restaurants open from which to choose.

Cinnamon rolls, though... really? I've only been craving those fucking things for what.. 2 weeks now? I would like to thank my partner, who related to me that they were dry, and to my beloved, who reacted to my tirade as I walked into work ("Why don't you just paste that fucking crap directly onto my gut and ass?" - delivered with a scowl) by moving them to an undisclosed location - hopefully not our home.

So, faced with all of that, this is what I took with me on an extended standby we had to do.
So glad I come to work prepared. We had no idea how long we'd be standing by, as the state police methodically suited up, then took pictures, and finally disassembled and bagged up a meth lab.

Of all of that, I ate 1 string cheese and the banana and the orange.

I can't stress this enough: Those flaky, new-agey, whatever you want to call them - positive things I've been telling myself when I'm sweating it out at the gym - THEY did this for me.

I could not have done this on my own.

Monday, February 8, 2010



When we have days and days advance notice, do you, the public, insist upon getting into your vehicles and venturing out into a blizzard? I know you have food in your houses, because I saw you ALL at the grocery store Thursday night. Every damn one of you.

I will give you a pass on being out until evening rush hour Friday; the weather had not yet started when you left for work in the morning, and there have been countless times we've had significant snow forecast and have gotten an inch. Or none. Or rain.

However. Friday night. about a foot of snow on the ground already, and the road crews can't keep up, it's falling so fast.

There is absolutely NO excuse for those of you who felt the need to get in your cars and occupy roadways that were already becoming impassable. You got stuck. You blocked roads. You slowed down emergency vehicles, who had to dodge your vehicles stranded all cattywompus. As if that wasn't bad enough, once you beach your car, you decide it's a good idea to get out, in the middle of a road, and stand out there waving people by, or - even better - try and push your car uphill on a slippery road. So you couldn't control your car on this snowy, slippery road... but you're going to go stand in the road and trust that everyone else can. I don't give a shit about your four wheel drive or all wheel drive or how big your goddamned Hummer is. Stay home.

You are on notice now. There is snow coming tomorrow. Stay home, or face my wrath.

Catch us next week for: "You're 50 and out of shape and wouldn't do 15 minutes of cardio if I signed my paycheck over to you. Why the hell are you shoveling snow??!"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Who IS this person?

I had a late night last night, as, like the rest of the mid-atlantic, northeast, and east coast, I had to go grocery shopping. Seems I always let the fridge get completely empty the day before a snowstorm is forecast. So, while my fellow 'Burghers were loading their carts with milk, bread, and the all-important TP, I was shopping for the basics - while hungry. I escaped unscathed, with only the necessities (ice cream being a necessity), but once I got home, unpacked and put away everything, it was late. By the time I steered my walking-into-walls self to bed, it was almost midnight.

The alarm went off at 4:15, as it does every weekday when I'm on daylights. I hit snooze 3 times today, twice more than the norm. The third time the alarm went off, I reasoned with myself: You were up late. You've gotten 14 hours sleep in the past 3 days. That's not enough. Your work clothes are out in the living room on your gym bag, not out in the car like they usually are. You could sleep for a whole 2 hours more, shower, and go to work. Today is going to be a rough day. Rest up.

I reset my alarm for 6:30. I sighed with relief and lay my head back down.

A minute later, I hugged Dan, swung my feet over to the cold floor, and trudged toward the bathroom to change into my gym clothes.

Why? I had it all rationalized, guilt-free. Sleep is not something I do without willingly or cheerfully. All I can attribute it to is habit... And the thought of a commute which is 100% more annoying from home than the quick jump off the highway from the gym.

Whatever it was, it was enough.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Where's Billy Mays when I need him?

I've got a very important and life-saving invention and I need a good pitchman. And it needs to be a pitchMAN for this one.

See, I've noticed that men seem to be totally clueless about their words and actions and... that... breathing too loud thing they do -  around women, during what I will delicately refer to as Rage Week.

My invention, an Estrogen-Sensing-Pod (or ESP for short), senses the subtle changes in a woman's hormonal status and sets off an alarm that then reaches out and slaps a guy across the forehead because - let's face it - that's what it takes sometimes to get them to pay attention.  There are those oh-so-subtle signals that they're about to die a horrible death by my hand/they should back the fuck OFF/ that men tend to miss, and they would benefit from this early-alerting system.

Example 1:
Old man in a yellow pickup. Driving 25mph in a 40mph zone. It's 5am. Nobody on the road but us. I give him his space, despite my desire to get a running start and ram the back of his stupid little yellow truck as hard as I can. He keeps looking in his rearview at me, causing him to swerve all over the road. This makes him drive even more slowly and erratically than he was before. It's hard to give someone their space when they can't seem to pick a speed and stick with it. Finally we get to a stop light and he takes his life into his hands opens the door of his truck, steps out, and yells, "TURN OFF YOUR BRIGHTS!!"
My brights weren't on. But he got a good look at them when I then flipped them on and lit him up in all his cranky, crochety glory. You want brights, fucker? There's your brights. He got back into his stupid yellow truck without a word.

Example 2:
Half an hour later, at the gym. I put my music on to drown out the Brokeback Grunts and do my bench work. I do a few sets of good-mornings, then check the area where the iso-lateral back machine is. Empty. I head to it, adjust the weight, and do a set. Immediately a thick-necked meathead with better highlights than mine appears at my side: "Can I get on here? I was in the middle of something."

What I wanted to say: "What you were 'in the middle of',  Mr. girly-man, was leaning on the machine across the gym from here, bsing with the other girly-man over there, until you saw me on 'your' machine. At which time, you decided that you'd be the gym big-shot and claim it to be yours. Why don't you just lift your leg and take a piss on it? Or, how about do what I'd do: go find another machine for the minute and a half it's going to take me to finish 2 more sets. Because I don't have time to do a set, walk around looking tough, spot someone on their bench presses, get a drink, spit, scratch my balls, and shoot the shit with someone between sets like you do. I get in, I get 3 sets done, I'm out. But, by all means, you're wayyy more important than me, I can tell by your backward baseball cap, the uniform of self-important gym tools the world over. Oh, and, do you mind telling me where you get your highlights done?"

What I did say: I said nothing, but the "Really??" look I gave this tool would have set his ESP sensor into hyper-drive, had he seen my informercial and purchased one. He was so crunched for time that when I hustled out the door at 7:30 on my way to work, he was leaning on another machine, talking so some other girly-man. Yes, I can see where I disrupted your entire workout, you tool.

Thank goodness MY guy seems to have already bought and installed the ESP sensor. If not for his understanding, support, and sweetness, these guys might have met a different fate this morning. He's a credit to his gender.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What a pain in the ass.

No. Really.

So I kicked up the cardio a couple of weeks ago. I noticed that I felt allover more stiff the rest of the day for the first few days, then I seemed to acclimate to it. Little bit of heating pad lovin' or whirlpool time after the gym and it would be gone. Mostly. (Side note: ThermaCare patches 1) DO NOT get hot enough and 2) do NOT stick! Don't think just because it's on your butt that your underwear are holding it on. You'll discover, at some point during your 12-hour work day that it has snuck off like a thief in the night, down and out of your pant leg.  I am sure that was amusing to whomever caught a glimpse of the paramedic with the ThermaCare patch sticking out of her pant leg, then to her boot for a few futile steps, finally coming to rest on the floor of some nursing home where, perhaps, it can be recycled - I know my partner and I got a kick out of it when I told her it had just up and disappeared).

But, I digress.

I kick it old school when I lift. Dumbbells. Chest presses. Skull crushers (dontcha love that name? I do them just so I can write Skull Crushers in my workout book. Badass!) Weighted squats and lunges 3 days per week. Decided that said squats and lunges seemed to be getting too easy, so I upped the workout one set and upped the weight by 10lbs. Still not bad. I can knock out 125 weighted squats and 50 weighted lunges while holding 40lbs of dumbbells on my shoulders, and still get an hour of cardio in, take a shower and arrive at work looking mostly human, and on time to boot.

Still doing ok.

However, the other day, after finishing up and walking from the upstairs cardio area, I felt like I was being stabbed in my hip and glute each time I bore weight on my right leg with my knee bent. Going up and down steps was particularly torturous. It went from my glute all the way down to my mid thigh, and the first time I felt it, I was so surprised and weakened by it that I almost fell over. That would have been embarrassing, as I was at the top of a flight of steps at peak time in the gym. I spent the next 4 days going up and down steps like a toddler, keeping the right leg straight and only descending steps on the left leg. It made for interesting times at work, having to actually think before I stepped into and out of my waist-high-entrance ambulance. I had the stabbing pain to remind me if I didn't do it exactly right.

Lots of heating pad, lots of stretching, lots of hot baths, lots of rest, LOTS of ibuprofen. Couple brownies. Little bit better.

What was it? The repetitive motion of my preferred cardio machine? The increased weight? The fact that I switched things up and did stationary bike so I could hang out with my sweetie for the last 20 minutes of my workout? Or was it the fact that I completely disregarded what I'd learned in my month of physical therapy?

Durrrr. I was skipping the warm-up/dynamic stretch part at the beginning, and since I've added it back in, it's made all the difference in the world. I'm still a little stiff, but I can walk up and down steps like a grown up now and after taking Monday off, I'm back into my routine.

I was in such a hurry to start my trip to where I was going that I forgot to warm up the ol' beater and I popped a belt. That'll learn me. Sucks to get old.