Janky Bachi Nail

I’ve spent the last couple months since my bachi strike with a bloody nail. Yesterday, I realized a new warped nail was growing in under the old nail with a layer of dried blood between the two. So basically the old top nail is at some point going to fall off, and it’s looking like this will happen before the new nail underneath reaches the tip of my finger. So after months of bloody nail, I’m going to have weeks of partial warped nail. Lovely.

This has not prevented me from don donning my heart out at class.

Speaking of class, after this week’s class, a few of the veteran students stayed behind to rehearse for an upcoming performance. When they put performance focus and energy into a song, it looks and sounds really good! Lots of energy and flair. So-re!

Upright

Time for a taiko update!

Some of my classmates take video during class, and upon studying last week’s clips I noticed I was leaning forward while playing.

The desired body position is to keep your upper body upright, so I worked on this Tuesday. I felt tall and strong! Sensei seemed pleased, and a couple classmates commented on the improvement.

The problem with tweaking little things when you’re a beginner is you use up all your bandwidth on the thing you’re tweaking. I spent the class thinking about upper body and moving my arms from the shoulder. As I tired, bachi placement got sloppy, and toward the end of class I struck the end of my left ring finger, hard.

I’ve struck my hands and fingers before. It’s not fun.

This strike was REALLY not fun. It throbbed, and blood started oozing from the cuticle.

Swinging your arms when your finger is bleeding only leads to more bleeding, so I stopped playing for the night. In a way, it was good, because I got to hang out in the back and really focus on the patterns we were learning.

That night, I woke up to a throbbing swollen fingertip. In my sleepy state, I wondered if my finger would explode.

It’s a lot better today, just internally bloody looking. The top of the finger where I struck it is tender, but I’m able to grasp things with it now without too much discomfort.

I have a correction to make regarding the stance being like “shooting a puck” from my post a couple weeks back. Yes, there’s a weight shift, but it’s not nearly as pronounced as when shooting a puck. And, of course, you don’t lean your body into it.

Kinda Like Freckles

That scar I had to consciously own three years ago… I barely notice it anymore.

Every once in a while someone will ask me about it. In the beginning, I expected them to ask. A couple years after that, I’d be surprised by the question, as if I’d forgotten the scar existed. Now I answer naturally, without a second thought, in the same way I answer questions about my freckles.

I don’t need to own it anymore. I’m simply comfortable.

Grape Finger

I’ve been climbing on and off since… before this blog came into being. Since before I have records in Google Calendar. Since 2000 or 2001. Since before hockey.

I’ve climbed a handful of times this year. Not enough to be in climbing shape. And that’s where I got into trouble yesterday.

Sent myself up the tallest climb in the gym, then sent myself up another. I’d just watched a bunch of technique videos the night before, and I was having fun trying new things.

Got off the rope after my second climb and looked at my finger. It was purple, swollen, and swelling more by the minute.

I had some how managed to blow up a vein in my left ring finger.

Nothing an icepack, some tape, and elevation couldn’t take care of. I just found it funny, because my body is not where my brain wants it to be.

I also found it funny because it’s the climbing equivalent of bruising my hand on my stick when I first started playing hockey.

Toughen up, fingers. You’re gonna get real good at this climbing thing.

– – –

Update 2017-08-10 @ 8:26 AM

I wanted to read up on taping my fingers for climbing (why and how) this morning, and it took me straight to pulley injuries. Based on the finger and bruise pattern, I think I actually suffered a pulley injury. Like a real climber. ;)

Note to self: Don’t forget to warm up next time.

Purpose-Built

Went to the gym today. The new concussion recovery protocol says it’s good to get moving for more blood flow to the brain.

I got a decent workout in, but I felt… purposeless. I used to train for hockey. I’d do squats for more power, adductors to stave off groin pulls. Every rep was driven by a desire to become a better hockey player, a more formidable opponent.

What am I training for now?

I’ve always objectively understood why it’s hard for professional athletes to retire, but today I understand it a bit more intimately.

This wasn’t even my day job.

On a related note, I recently went through some of my hockey posts from over a decade ago. I suffered so many injuries back then. Some of them were outright comical: My hand bruised because it wasn’t used to pushing on a stick.

Today, my body is built for hockey. I could play most days of a week without issue. Tournaments are a cinch. I’m stronger, more efficient. Skating and stick work are like walking and typing. Better, even: I can’t walk and type at the same time.

I have more trouble accepting that the hockey fitness I’ve built will go away than I do with the fact that I won’t be playing anymore.

I suspect this won’t be a problem once I find a new passion to rebuild myself for, but this is where I am today.

What an interesting journey this is.

Game Over

Three years ago, at CAHA, I was checked in the head. It resulted in one of the worst concussions I’d ever had.

My doctor asked me to think of my health, my future, and consider not playing hockey again. She didn’t say I couldn’t, she just asked that I think about it. She didn’t try to scare me into it, and she fully conceded that giving up such a large part of my life and my identity would not be easy.

I give a lot of credit to my doctor, because she actually got me to consider it. And it was not easy. And I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t walk away from all that hockey was to me with no notice.

I made a compromise. I stopped playing at higher levels of tournament hockey. I learned to protect myself more on the ice. And I told myself that if I ever got another concussion, I’d have to stop playing.

Last Friday, I got another concussion.

There is no second guessing this concussion. I repeated myself for hours. I remember none of what happened that night. I don’t remember ever setting foot on the ice. Aside from two people I waved at in the parking lot on my way in and my goalie, whom I had a conversation with before the game, I have no idea who was at the rink that day.

There is no, “Oh, but I would handle this play differently in the future.” I don’t know what the play was.

This was my last ever hockey game. I remember none of it. It’s probably better that way, because it makes leaving easier.

I’ve known for three years that this day was coming, and I have enjoyed the heck out of every moment on the ice since.

I am at peace with my decision.

That doesn’t mean I don’t cry every time I think about it. I’ll probably cry if you ask me about it, but don’t let that stop you. Grief is normal and necessary. Healthy, even.

I get to reinvent myself now.

Hockey Hiatus Time

And so ends my summer season… with a concussion I can’t remember. I remember telling Ashley the goalie (who we played against in Vacaville) before the game that if my Vacaville team moves up next season I can’t play with them because of my concussion history, and then… here I am at home. I don’t remember any of the game. What happened?

I canceled all my hockey this weekend, then officially called it a season. Taking 6 weeks off, then revisiting what to do.

– – –

Update: 2017-07-27 @ 9:12 PM

I asked a few people who were there what happened. I’m told I was trying to keep a puck in while my opponent was trying to clear it. We were both going straight at each other, collided, and I hit the back of my head on the ice.

I have no idea what the angles were. Did I see him and miscalculate? Or did I never look to see if he was there? I’ll never know.

The Perils of Yoga

4:30 PM – Yoga at work, yay! First yoga in almost half a year.
5:30 PM – Whee, I feel all relaxed and floaty.
6:30 PM – OMG I’m so TIRED.
7:30 PM – Toe pick my face into the boards at pickup because I can’t lift my feet.

Yoga is dangerous.
Neck is gonna be sore.
Brain is okay.

I think that’s a net win.

– – –

Update 2015-07-03 @ 10:53 AM

My body is sore from yoga, but my neck feels fine. Maybe it was still limber from all the yoga-ing?

I forgot to note that when I faceplanted I could feel my neck crack all the way up. After I righted myself, I pulled my head back and cracked everything on the other side all the way down. It was kind of like getting a chiropractic adjustment.

Sick of Rest

I have more good news and bad news.

Good news: I’m playing hockey again. Mostly because I can’t not play hockey.

Bad news: I’m playing hockey with the help of various wrist wraps and a hinged knee brace.

Good news: I went back to the gym today for squats. Endurance is down but strength feels normal.

Bad news: The left patellar tendon pain is back, which meant fewer and lighter squats. I dislike not being able to push hard.

Good news: More momentum, less inertia.

Bad news: This handstand thing is stalling again due to injury. 30×25 is on hold until my wrists feel better.

The funny thing about 30×25 is, I thought about this very scenario when I started. I know my propensity for injury all too well.

These just arrived. Hopefully they’ll give my wrists enough rest and healing time so I can resume beating them up again with hockey, weights, and handstands.

Six

I have now completed six full days of rest, which I consider a euphemism for being a couch potato. I had intended to return to the gym today, but it seems my exercise momentum has turned into lazy ass inertia, and I never even got around to thinking about what I might wear if I were to head gym-ward.

Tomorrow I will continue my couch potato ways until practice, at which point I will have completed seven full days of rest.

Good news: Injuries are healing.
Could be better news: One week is not enough to heal everything.