Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You: Takin' It Back to the Old School

Another day, another message on Dr. ___'s answering machine and I am beginning to feel like a stalker. If Dr. ___ had a facebook page, I would totally be creeping on him. (I just checked to see if Dr. ___ really does have a facebook page, but unless he dresses up as a 20-year-old goth kid with high cheekbones from Michigan on his days off, I suspect that he does not. Oh well. There goes my chance to beat him at Bejeweled Blitz or send him a fix-my-fucking-hip-themed snowglobe). So, yes, SurgeonWatch2009 continues with a vengance.

In the meantime, I decided to get out my frustration the old-fashioned way: by pumping some iron. I used to really like weight-lifting. There's just something about lifting hundreds of pounds of solid metal above your head that makes you go fuck yeah. In fact, back in the day my max bench press was 245 pounds. I was kind of a beast.

For about two years before the surgery, I couldn't weight train because a) I had some mono-related heart problems and for a good year the only exercise I was allowed to do was watch "Bulging Brides" or "Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp" on TV and b) when I was finally cleared to weight train, I almost immediately developed the "hip not staying in its little socket home" problem, which weight-training aggravated. Want to know what's not fun? Having your hip come out of its socket while you have over a hundred pounds of metal suspended over your head. True story.

Since it's been 2 years since I've done any serious weight training, I decided to go back to the basics so I didn't get injured, because Lord knows that the last thing I need is a torn rotator cuff to match my torn gluteus medius. If I'd had my way, I would have gone back to the modified Jillian-Michaels cardio-plus-mild-weight-training workout I was doing before the surgery, (which was fun in a "my face is so purple I suspect my head might explode" kind of way), but none of it was post-hip-replacement friendly. Luckily, I remembered that way back in 2001, when I was starting to get serious about weight training, a friend of mine sent me the program he used to do when he was a national-team wheelchair racer in the 1980's, which he had named the Lifting Heavy Things workout. Even more luckily, I am an email packrat and never throw anything out, and I had even saved the workouts in a handy folder.

I figured that since my life is beginning to resemble the summer of 2001 more and more (no job, living with my parents, etc. etc.) I might as well embrace the deja vu by taking my weight training plan back to where it started. You know, like the circle of life, but with lat-pulldowns instead of the whole birth/death/ashes to ashes business. The fact that the weight-training program was created in around 1986 didn't deter me in the slightest, since the '80s gave us all sorts of awesomeness, like Pavement and Felt and The Pogues and Jesus and Mary Chain and, of course, me. (Speaking of me being born, International Arley Appreciation Day is Nov. 15th. Mark your calendars and prepare your sacrifices to the Arley shrine that I know you have in your house. I will also accept mixed tapes/CDs and cake).

Anyhow, weight-training ended up being a rather ambivalent experience. Yeah, it felt good to feel the familiar lactic-acid burn, but on the other hand I was depressingly weak and kitten-like and nearly everyone was stronger than me. To those of you who say "stop comparing yourself to other people! It's the journey, not the destination!" I say, "What's the point of weight training if you can't out-bench-press teenage boys, causing them to crowd around your lifting station with ego-deflation and reverence, whispering amongst themselves that, dude, she can totally bench press more than you and she's, like, a woman?" Another downside: I was so unused to weight-training that my arms began to shake, which made using my cane a little wobbly.

It is, however, good to mix up the workout program. I've been relying too much on the elliptical machine, which is making my anti-ass swollen. This is not entirely bad, since it would be very easy for people to mistake the swelling for my having a real ass. Nothing like a little inflammation to even things out down there. It does, however, make sitting down particularly unpleasant.

Anyhow, yes, bottom line: despite the fact that my workout should be renamed Lifting Fairly Light Things To Prevent Injuries, it was a tiny, little victory. Considering my obsessive nature as of late, though, I will have to work hard to not over-do it. I don't want to have to report in a month's time that either a) I have become a quadriplegic from dropping a bench-press bar on my throat or b) my arms have gone all Popeye-on-steroids. Moderation: not one of my strong suits.

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