Tag Archives: Health

How 2 Wheels Changed Everything…

BikeDad

Dec. 21, 2007 is my sobriety date. I haven’t found the need to ingest any alcohol or other mind altering chemicals since that date. I’d love to claim that this occurred because of a personal epiphany or that I was suddenly struck with an urge to get healthy, but that would not be the truth. The truth was, as I was sitting handcuffed in the back of a CHP car, I decided to change my life…enough was enough. I had somehow contracted the disease of alcoholism (funny how that happens…I thought everybody blacked out and drank as much and as long as I did), and as a result of my actions while drinking…I had picked up my second DUI the night I was fortunate enough to be in that CHP car (as opposed to the Coroners van).

The State of California decided I needed to be without a driver’s license for 365 days. Damn. That was inconvenient. I had a life then. How the hell am I going to get to work, pick up my kids…do life?

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The answer took the form of 2 wheels. For the next year, I did life on 2 wheels. Entertaining my kids, work, grocery shopping…life was done on 2 wheels.

In a million years, if you would have told me I’d be a cyclist now, at age 55…I would have genuinely laughed. And I did at the spandex laden freaks I saw on the side of the road. Until I became one…

As I spent that year on 2 wheels, something clicked inside me. Every single time I set forth…those first few pedal strokes invoked a sense of freedom and youth in me I hadn’t felt since I was a kid on my Schwinn. And that feeling remains today.

Last year, I rode over 3500 miles. On the bike pictured above, I’ve ridden 12,602 miles. And I’ve become a cycling addict. Every climb calls to me like another challenge awakened…every long ride instills in me a sense of accomplishment and…well…life.

I’ve lost 30 lbs cycling and for the first time in my life, all my lab work at my annual physical was normal…hypertension: gone…high blood sugar: gone…routine labs: normal.

So it was with this justification that I decided to spend some money on my health and my future. I bought a “real” road bike. A carbon fiber dream that I’d been coveting for a few years.

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I haven’t even taken it out on the road yet. It just didn’t seem right until I eulogized my 2007 Gary Fisher Mendota…

07d7161f1977

The two wheels that got me to the market, got me to work, to my meetings, to my kids…the two wheels that helped keep me sober and helped me quit smoking–the two wheels that profoundly changed my life and my health. I didn’t see it coming. Sometimes the best things in life work that way.

I hate to part with you my friend. And although you’ll be my campus bike when I get into UCLA in 2017…you’ll no longer be my daily rider. My daily meditation. My daily savior on two wheels…

 

 


Hip Check…

BirminghamHip

Happy Birthday hip…you’re one year old today.

In fact, exactly 365 days ago, you were inserted into my left hip.  On August 5, 2012, I had a procedure called a Birmingham Hip Resurfacing performed by Dr. Iqbal Anwar at Kaiser West Los Angeles.

I mention him by name because I will be the first to complain about substandard health care and as a result, feel compelled to give praise where praise is due.

Let’s back up a moment…okay, maybe a little more than a moment…I’m 3 or 4 years old and I remember I suddenly can’t walk.  I remember my mom carrying me everywhere, I remember a hospital, I remember talcum powder, I remember a cool red Tonka truck I got when I was released from the hospital.

What happened then? I didn’t know…

Fast forward…

I’m in a job in 2010 where I’m sitting at a desk and I notice if I sit for too long, my left hip keeps hurting and literally locking up.  This goes on for awhile and I decide to see my doctor, who refers me to an orthopedic doc…

This clown summarily dismisses me and my x-ray by telling me I’ll need my hip replaced sometime in the next ten years…end of story.

So this doesn’t sound real high on my list of priorities, so I ignore the hip…

But my hip chooses not to ignore me.  The pain continues and I realize I can’t stall. I ask my primary care physician for another orthopod referral at a larger hospital.  This new doc takes one look and me and says “shazam” I’ve got just the guy for you…

He tells me that there is a new procedure for folks under 55 called a Birmingham Hip Resurfacing that is less invasive and destructive to the joint…and the killer news is that very few have to be redone, compared to the 10 year warranty on the traditional hip replacement.

So sign me up…I see Dr. Anwar, one of an elite number of surgeons performing this surgery and I’m scheduled to go under the knife. And what’s more, he finally tells me what the hell happened to me as a child (based on my description).  It was an acute synovitis:  an inflammation of my hip socket caused by a virus.  Apparently the fluid was withdrawn as a child and I was good to go until that episode ultimately led to end stage osteoarthritis in my hip.

Why am I boring you with this? Because today, one year later, I’m riding over 100 miles a week on my bike and played tennis yesterday for the first time in well over a year. And because Dr. Anwar and this procedure deserve the kudos. Having been a paramedic and seen the nightmare scenario played out in lots of people after hip surgery, it’s safe to say I was apprehensive.

But today, I feel like a youngster and have no intention of slowing down. In fact, I think I’ll kick it up a notch…

Thank you Dr. Anwar…


Not a big issue…just life and death.

Socialized medicine.  Universal healthcare.  Somehow these phrases have become polarizing in our society.  I don’t get it.  I really don’t.  Let me explain why.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m in favor of socialized medicine. It is my understanding that the core purpose of government, be you Republican, Democrat or “other”, is to take care of the citizenry.  Our country maintains a military and our local governments provide police and fire protection (although the latter is becoming outsourced to inferior privatization in some areas).  We generally agree that these services are necessary to protect the “lives” of our citizens.  You know, it’s a matter of life and death.

Throughout history people have banded together to provide for the common welfare of their “tribe”, we continue to do so.  I am no social scientist, but I am sure there is ample evidence to support my theory.

Why the ultimate “issue” of life or death is ignored in our country is beyond me.  While we maintain military and police protection, we allow thousands of our citizens to die each year as the result of inferior or no healthcare.  Human being become homeless as the result of the inability to afford the economically absurd cost of healthcare.  Is there a more important “life or death” issue than healthcare?  I am much more likely to be threatened by the dysfunctional healthcare system in our country with fatal results than I am to be vaporized by a nuclear missile from Iran.  Yet it’s still an “issue”.

Arizona Hospital Charges Woman $83,000 To Treat Scorpion Sting « CBS Las Vegas.

Those who decry socialized medicine as yet another example of socialism or government interference in our capitalist system do so hypocritically when the military/police argument is examined.  I submit that for the majority of our citizenry, we are threatened more by the broken healthcare system then we are from any sort of invasion from a foreign entity.

Finally, the argument that we can’t afford it is disingenuous at best.  If you have had any cause to receive an itemized bill for medical services recently, it is no surprise that the actual costs of healthcare in our capitalist system are so far out of the norm, that an attempt to control and regulate them through standardization would likely allow us to redistribute the funds to other more important issues like education.  But that’s a post for another day.


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