Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'll take Therapist for 500

I saw my therapist again today. He said he can definitely see some action in my ankle/shin. There hasn't really been anything happening before now, so this is good. He also said there is noticeable improvement in my quad again. It looks like most of the muscle is activating. Now I just have to get some muscle back in there. Pretty much everything has atrophied. He did say he thought there would still be further nerve development, but I think with what I have right now I can get to where I can run and jump well enough to be somewhat active just by doing some weight training.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bowling for... well, pins of course

Wendy has been complaining that our dates are pretty boring now that I can't really do anything but eat and watch movies. I am not sure what she is talking about because even before the accident all I wanted to do was eat and watch movies. But for her sake, I decided the date-night after having restrictions lifted on my physical activity should be a fun one. It was supposed to be a family date, meaning that we were taking the kids with us. I suggested we go to the bowling alley at BYU and use my free game.

I guess the people at the bowling alley assume that people my size will use large bowling balls because all the six pound balls had really tiny finger holes. I tried to bowl twice. Let's just say that the height from which I was releasing the ball was less than desirable. I found myself looking around to see if people were giving me dirty looks for dropping the ball. Plus, I am sure I looked pretty ridiculous shuffling up to the lane to toss a little granny shot in the general direction of the pins.

The girls had a blast. Wendy and I only bowled a few times. After that, we let the girls take over. We got one of those ramps you can roll the ball down. The girls took turns hefting the six pound ball from the ball return over to the ramp (are you getting a good mental image of Claire carrying a six pound bowling ball, because it was pretty funny). I mastered the art of lining the ramp up enough to pull off a few spares. I would get things aimed right and then the girls would push the ball down. It made things easier on my back, but I still don't recommend it. Even if you line things up perfectly (which we did a couple of times), a six pound ball traveling at 1 mph is just not going to get you a strike any time soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


When the doctor switched my plastic shell to a corset just over two months ago, I got quite a kick out of it. I mean, how many guys are under doctor's orders to wear a corset? Add to that my one-sided girlish figure after having my two lower left ribs taken out and I can really draw some stares. In order to cope with the situation, I had to make fun of it. So I made up a spanglish word: "encorsetado" to describe my trapped, corseted situation.

The time has finally come to be desencorsetado, which being interpreted would mean (if either word actually existed) unencorseted. The doctor has removed all restrictions; I can do whatever I want and I don't have to wear my corset. He did suggest that if I got sore, I could put my corset back on, which would be disunencorseted. I am not really sure how I would turn that into a spanish word, so I just refuse to do it. My liberation from (female-like) oppression occured on Monday, January 12. The next day I went to the gym after going all day without my corset. I decided not to wear my corset to the gym either. I was sore when I was done, but it felt good to be free. Plus, I didn't have to come up with any more fake spanish words.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mr. West Goes to Washington

The Joint Meeting of the AMS, MAA, and SIAM was held in Washington, D.C. from Monday, January 5 to Thursday, January 8. Because of my stunning good looks (or maybe for some other reason, I'm really not sure) I was invited to attend, all expenses paid. I didn't even submit any work, I was just fortunate enough to be able to go with some other students that did. I was in the hospital during the submission period, and I think my advisor was unsure whether or not I would be able to survive a trip to D.C. It turns out I was only barely able to survive.

Getting through security was pretty fun... at least for the rest of the group. My advisor, Jeff, just sat and laughed. I hope he enjoyed the free show. After getting all my junk on the conveyor belt, I had to get my shoes off. That turned into the Crazy Cripple Dance pretty quickly. I managed to get them off just in time to go through the metal detector, and start the alarms blaring. I forgot about my corset, which has metal rods in the back for support. I told the attendant that I was willing to take off my corset and go through again, but she just tackled me and told me I was under arrest. Actually, that part didn't really happen. They did make me wait in the booth for someone to come give me a pat down. That took an extra fifteen minutes, and then it was time for the Crazy Cripple Dance (reprise) while I tried to get my shoes back on. I almost fell over in the process.

We stayed in the Washington Hilton, which was about a mile walk from the Marriott where the conference was being held. I thought I had done a lot of walking before this trip. I had no idea. Our plane landed in D.C. at about 10:30 pm Sunday night and then we had to take the Metro and walk to our hotel. With all the luggage I was dragging around, I almost decided to just sleep in an alley that night. Everyone else in my group was getting a little frustrated with me that night, and rightfully so. Most people don't really want to be walking down the street in D.C. at 11:00 pm carrying luggage. It's pretty obvious that you are an outsider. They were all trying to hurry to the hotel and I was falling behind. In my defense, we didn't really know how to get to the hotel and we ended up taking the long way around.

The rest of the week was great. The conference was good. The food was good (I ate at Chipotle for lunch all four days)! I even got to visit with Heidi, Andy, Noah, and Micah (my sister and her family) one evening. I didn't do any sight-seeing; the thought of walking around in the name of fun just didn't sit right with me. I took my cane with me to D.C. thinking it would help me get around, but it seems that I have permanently outgrown that because it was just an annoyance. I don't think it helped at all.

For the trip back home, I took off my corset when I went through security in D.C. Everybody in my group thought the metal in my back would still set off the metal detector and turn me into a life-long terrorist threat in airports. Fortunately for me, I cleared security without a problem. I was strapping on my corset on the other side of the metal detector when I was approached by one of the security agents. I was expecting more grief about my cane or my corset until I saw the awed look in his eyes. "Are you coming back from Iraq?" was his question. I had to suppress a smile. "No, just a paragliding accident." He seemed a little disappointed but tried to sound interested. "Oh, that must have hurt."