Posts Tagged ‘health’

Nerdiest. Injury. Ever.

March 18, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
March 18, 2015

This is the story of how, on an otherwise unremarkable Friday night, I sustained what may well be the nerdiest injury in the history of our species.

A friend of mine organizes many of the Scrabble tournaments and get-togethers in the Triangle area. He’s also the director and host of the North Carolina youth Scrabble championship, the winner of which gets to compete in the national youth Scrabble tournament. This year’s state youth tournament was held Saturday at the Chapel Hill school where my pal (let’s call him D.) works.

After meandering through some coffee shops, where I polished my recent post about my favorite books, I headed home for the remainder of what I expected would be a quiet Friday evening. That night, I sent D. a text message confirming that I’d be at the school at 10 and asking if there was anything he wanted me to bring.

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Arms, wrist, elbow, knee: Notes on my healing process

September 27, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 27, 2014

About six weeks ago, I fell off my bicycle. I visited some doctors and applied many bandages.

Marks from the fall linger on my arms; although they may continue fading, I expect that some of the blemishes will be permanent.

There are also two spots on my arms that haven’t quite healed. One is on my right wrist; I accidentally banged this against a chair and reopened it at the beginning of September. There’s currently a little scab there.

The other is near my right elbow. At the start of the week, this site broke out in blistering, as if the skin had brushed against poison ivy. I wasn’t sure why this happened, but I thought it might have something to do with my frequently resting on my right elbow.

I made a conscious effort to stop leaning on that arm while reading in bed. The blister collapsed, and it seems to be healing.

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Knee, arms, wrists, hands — meet pavement (or, the tale of my minor bicycling catastrophe)

August 20, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Aug. 20, 2014

Ouch, I did it again.

Just as I’d started to forget all about my swollen ankle, I got myself into another mess.

On Sunday afternoon, I was bicycling around my childhood home. For the past four days or so, I had been riding about a mile to the end of the road that runs by my old elementary school and then turning around.

But in the interests of stretching my wings, I’d decided to change up things. Instead of turning to pass the school, I zipped along a road that carried me over a local highway. I started moving by side streets and extended driveways that I’d barely seen despite having frequented this road for decades of my life.

But my poor underutilized legs and lungs were feeling stressed, so I decided to turn around without exploring any of these obscure byways. There was little traffic, so I executed a lazy turn at an intersection and tried to begin building up speed for the uphill ride back home.

I ran into trouble at a T-intersection that I’m very familiar with from years of driving. My memory is a bit hazy, but I recall there being two cars at the spot: One waiting to make a right turn to go down the hill, and another waiting to move onto the road I was traveling. (Which direction? To the driver’s right, perhaps, but I’m not sure.)

I was moving at a pretty fast clip, so I decided for safety’s sake to slow down slightly. I also recall spotting a divot in the road ahead of me, which I tried to steer around. This, I think, was my big mistake.

Suddenly, the tires slipped. My two-wheeler tilted toward the road, and my body started dropping onto the asphalt. The exact sequence is lost to me, but in short order, my left knee absorbed no small part of the impact; the back of my left hand and wrist ever so briefly touched the ground; the right side of my right knee touched down even more briefly; and the outside part of my right hand and arm brushed the earth. I remember that at some point, the left side of my helmet hit the ground and glided for a few inches — possibly farther than that.

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Bodily functions and bodily fluids: The earwax post

February 11, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Feb. 11, 2014

Cerumen, old friend. We meet again.

I didn’t actually say that to myself last month when my doctor looked into my ears, but I may as well have. I certainly cringed internally.

Here’s a quick recap. I got sick in late January, and after trying to tough it out for a few days, I made an appointment to see my physician. After checking both ears with that funny pointed scope that doctors use, she told me that there was some wax buildup in both my ear canals, especially the left one, which needed a cleaning.

I’ve been told this kind of thing many times over the years. The human body naturally produces wax, technically known as cerumen; it traps dirt and protects the eardrums, in part by slowing the growth of bacteria in the ear canals. If everything is working smoothly, older wax will migrate to the outer ear, dry up, harden and fall out.

Unfortunately, sometimes wax builds up without coming out. Earwax accumulation can cause discomfort and occlude hearing.

I didn’t immediately follow up on my doctor’s suggestion to clean my ear. After a few days, though, I was feeling better — more energetic and ready to tackle challenges, and also better prepared to handle disappointments.

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