Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Of Brides, Drunks, And Dry Needles

Technically, this weekend started at 6:30 pm Friday.  But as I reflect back on it from the vantage point of Tuesday morning, the weekend also started last Monday night, or the Friday afternoon before that, or could even claim to have have started last December, just before Christmas.  Invites, appointments, and circumstances originating on those days all remixed into one utterly whirlwind weekend.

Last Monday I was invited to be a wedding crasher.  No, really.  Brian, an acquaintance from college with whom I serve on the local alumni club's board, was getting married and a guest changed their RSVP at the last minute.  Brian's invitation was dear and sincere, and I was honored he would think of me, but my interpretation of the between-the-lines involved my usual sarcasm.  "Kelzie, you're single, conveniently located in Austin, and a plus over someone off the street, you know the groom.  Please come fill a seat."   In fact, Brian was the only person at the wedding I had ever met, not the bride, not a single guest.  Though first, I needed a hair-cut, stat.

Friday I crammed in training before my weekly massage and then attended the rehearsal dinner.  The younger guests gathered to eat all-you-can-eat BBQ at The County Line On The Lake, and I do believe that that meal is what sustained me through midnight on Monday.  Because it certainly wasn't sleep.

Saturday was training, writing schedules, and putting another layer of seasoning on the wedding gift.  Every wedding I attend I gift the couple with a hand-seasoned cast iron skillet, which involves oiling, baking, and cooling the skillet as many times as possible before wrapping.

The wedding was Saturday, late afternoon, and although relatively small and not opulent (thank goodness), it involved a lot of small meaningful gestures that said "we are soul-mates."  And if not, she now has a cast iron skillet with which to brain him.

I wore a new emerald green gown I bought over the winter, when all I had to go on was faith that I would one day be able to zip it up all the way, and I was at the wedding for such a short amount of time that I don't even have a picture to share.  See I was double-booked on Saturday night: wedding and pub trivia.

I play pub trivia quite seriously, meaning with a team, several night a week.  And we don't suck.  Occasionally we compete in pay-to-play events, featuring prizes in the thousands of dollars and open bars.  We didn't win anything on Saturday, except maybe Best Dressed Team and Most Empties Accumulated.

Which explains how I ended up kicked out of the event venue and standing on a downtown sidewalk at 12:45 A.M., wearing my formal wear from EIGHT HOURS EARLIER, with a teammate draped over my shoulders in an effort to keep him from alternatively running out into traffic and crumpling to the pavement, while other teammates brought a car around.  How did I survive four years of that?

Bed at 2 A.M., up at 8 A.M. Sunday to bake a skillet and pack for the military-precision-like operation to come.  We haven't even gotten to the sport-oriented portion of this weekend and I'm already tired!

Sunday was - with only the shortest breaks between that I could manage for food guzzling and traffic - wedding brunch, long ride, long swim, and long drive.  I was emailing back and forth with an athlete of mine throughout the day, referencing where I was with each response, and I think I kind of freaked her out because there was no discernible pattern.

And for my next trick I will teleport across the state of Texas.  Sadly, no.  I had to drive, during which I drank the majority of a gallon of water and stopped to pee only once in 4+ hours.  Dehydrated much?

Where I did finally surface at 11 P.M. Sunday night?

More specifically, the next morning I was scheduled to see The Guru again.

Last December, just before Christmas, I made the first pilgrimage and we set late April as the return trip.  What a pair John and I made: he jet-lagged from recently returning from the Philippines and I sleep-deprived from playing "college" and glassy-eyed from driving.

John and I finished much earlier than I expected, and I was faced with a decision.

Two Fridays ago I developed a stubborn knot in a hamstring.  I attacked it vigorously, as did two massage therapists, but it would hide deep down during each siege only to resurface later.  I could feel it, lurking, during my entire drive to Tyler, and knew, had known since much earlier in the week, that the true final solution was dry needling.  Except while Austin may have a lot of things, but a dry needler is not among them.  When I woke up Monday morning I texted a friend in Austin for a reference to her dry needler in Dallas.  With a name and number in hand, I started hatching a plan.

By 2 p.m. Monday, the plan had grown into a decision to make: did I drive back to Austin and hope continuing the therapies I had already tried would eventually ease the stubborn tissue?  Or did I head towards a massive metropolis that I did not know, timing to arrive there at the brink of rush hour (a rush hour that I have heard requires snacks be kept in the car at all times because the traffic jams can last for hours), and hoping that I could make the last appointment so I wouldn't have to lay out even more money to stay over night?

Well, I hear Dallas is lovely in the spring.  Off I go on a 100+ detour before heading home.  You know you are in Texas when...

President George Bush Turnpike

I got caught in a not one single slow-down (you know, those dreaded precursors to full-on parking lot) and made it to Frisco with time to spare!  The next time I am in Dallas I am guaranteed eighth-circle-of-hell-level traffic.

Athletes Performance in Frisco showed me the love by beating me up a little bit.

I've written about my previous needle experiences here (which a friend told me is NSFW, so I offer the warning: THIS POST IS NSFW).  Dry needling is somewhat different, and for knots, in my experience, infinitely more helpful.  Essentially, a dry needle is inserted into the knot and its origins (not always at or near the knot itself).  The goal, to adopt a computer analogy, is to reset the muscle/tendon: the hour-glass is spinning and spinning and the blue screen of death is imminent, so you push Ctrl-Alt-Del.  [Dry needling is also potent after the blue screen of death has appeared - post-strain or -tear - and I've had success with that therapy as well.]  The needl-ee receives either a sudden "thwump" of tighten/release, a shock "kzzztt" of electricity-like nerve sensation, or both.

Some places in the body get knots (or trigger-points if you have heard of those) again and again, because they originate or transfer a great deal of our power and movement, and others develop knots "randomly," although a good PT can usually explain exactly why tension had chosen that spot to gather.

My hamstring is a random spot.  Which I guess why it deserves extra needles.  See that one needle, lined up top-to-bottom, at the very bottom of the picture?  The lightening that accompanied that needle so surprised me it nearly sent me off the table.

My calves are pretty regular customers.  I bet they could be released nearly every day of my life, although I don't know if I could deal with the unique pain of a needle being inserted into my Achilles tendon every day of my life.

But the real fun had not yet begun.  This here is Sheri.  She looks nice and all that - and is - but, when working with her needles, can give Nurse Ratched some good competition.  Sheri will now take each needle and "piston and twist."  Yes, move the needle in and out and twist it around.  It really is (almost) as bad as it sounds.  

"Normally" a dry needler would be satisfied with a release, or apply some current (yup, current, as in battery) to encourage a release.  But after experiencing the "piston and twist" method, I am a convert.  It felt like the reset is so much more "for good," if only because some of my needle-holes bled and subsequently bruised.

There is nothing like seeing a PT to make me feel like a slacker.  It's not their fault; they want you to be your best self - or body.  So I drove away resolved to once again up my body-maintenance game. 

I was in Austin 4.5+ hours later, 11:45 p.m. on Monday.  I had driven 11+ hours in 31, with only every Top 40 and Classic Country radio station in North-East Texas for company.  

There really isn't a moral to the weekend, but what comes to mind is: you do what you can.  99% of the time I interpret that as "my choices are limited so I will choose as best I can and make do."  This weekend was the 1% of the time: "my choices are vastly inclusive and broadly divergent so I will take an unlikely opportunity and do whatever necessary to make the best use of it."  Even it means missing a little sleep and listening to Justin Bieber and Willie Nelson on repeat.


Beth Green said...

Hi Kelzie,

This is Beth Green from forever ago. Triathlons came up in conversation recently and I thought I'd check to see how you're doing! Looking forward to your next blog post. Though, yeah, those needle photos aren't for wimps!


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