Tag: health

The sink and tub hack

Hotel sink hack

After many many hours on aircraft, we had to skip landing at Montevideo because of fog at 1 AM.

So on to Buenos Aires, where we sat on the tarmac until 5:30 AM or so. Hours of chaos later we settled into an airline-paid hotel room, with a bathtub! (Exclamation because I hadn’t had a bath in at least 10 years, and it seemed like a splendid idea.)

Of course the hotel does not want to encourage baths, and provides no stoppers. But surprise surprise, the complimentary shampoo bottles fit perfectly!

I did not document the tub, but here’s my bathroom sink water filtering operation. Worked like a charm!


The medicine that mocks me

Several days ago I got inspired by bench dips, and decided to add a few to my daily strength routine.

Great exercise! But then, after 24 hours, my right wrist — apparently not as flexible as the left — hurt enough that I didn’t do them again. The day after that, the pain was gone, so I did a few more. No pain, just a new stress on shoulder and upper pectoral muscles. Great exercise! But again, 24 hours later, more pain. And this time crazy swelling. Tendons not happy. Visit to doctor. X-ray. Wrist splint, ice, topical anti-inflammatory/analgesic. And anti-inflammatory medicine —


— which seems to be reminding me, if somewhat in the manner of a seventh-grader, that someone in his 60s might be better off not launching into exercises demonstrated by 20-somethings as if he himself were 20-something.

On the plus side, in a couple days I’ve gotten pretty damn good at typing with my left hand, and using a mouse lefty as well. Keypad usage is a bit problematic, but left-handed mousing could be a useful skill combined with right-handed keypadding.

Meanwhile, can’t wait ‘til this heals enough to try bench dips again.

Picard face palm

Custom shoe inserts

At some point, recovering from a stupidly self-inflected shoulder injury, experiencing rare back pain, and having heel pain — all on the right side — I decided to go to an osteopath recommended by several people.

I didn’t particularly like her. On the third visit, she was inflicting more pain than usual, and I asked what she was working on. The psoas, she replied. Oh, I said, there are two of them, aren‘t there? — Yes, she said, one on the left and one on the right. Red flag! I remembered something from 15-20 years ago.

psoas majo

Not a good sign, I thought, when I, with no training, know more about anything anatomical than a practicing osteopath. Strike one.

But it got better (or worse). Her “office” is a tiny anteroom in an old Uruguayan house, with the “customer” seat a very slouchy thing under a bookshelf. So I was sitting upright on the edge of it instead of slouching underneath the bookshelf, for which she sort of ridiculed me, saying something about a straight back. There are people with straight backs? I asked. Yes, she said, you have a straight back. She went on to explain that it‘s more difficult to put a curve in a straight back than straighten a curved back. Well, sorry to bring you into the 21st century, but there’s something about a J-shaped spine being healthier than an S-shaped spine. Strike two.

There was a strike three, though I don’t recall now what it was. It’s been almost six months. Anyway, I never went back.

Update 14 June: the third strike was in fact the first: with my first step out of her office after the first session, I had pain in my back. I am still aware of sciatica issues now. Every day.

But I hung on to her prescription for orthopedic shoe inserts, and finally ventured into Montevideo last week to get them. I really don’t like driving into Montevideo, but there was a schawarma place nearby I wanted to try. Good enough excuse!

In the store, Bergantiños, after spending an inordinate amount of time facing a distinctly unremarkable oversize sepia photo of the store’s opening in 1973, I was ushered to a little cubical where, one foot at a time, I stood on an “imprinter” that recorded each foot. Wow, I thought, the same technology they used when they opened the store!

The prescription letter specified “sports use”

Am I finished? I asked. Oh no, have to wait for what sounded to me like the “foot studio.” And after another ten minutes, she led me into the back room, had me stand facing a mirror marked with tape to help me stand straight, walk back and forth a few times on a little platform the length of a bed, and stand on a scanner.

Then the technician came in, looked at the initial impressions, made some marks on them (see above), then got on the computer and starting matching colorful pressure images to the scan of my feet, spinning around the resultant shoe inserts in three dimensions in the program‘s CAD window. When I left, they gave me a folder with all my data neatly arranged.


This from when I stood facing the mirror, including the percentage of weight on the front and back of each foot.


This is the computer’s assessment of my stride, apparently averaging the several passes.

I told the tecnico that this was impressive technology, and he indicated that it was new within the last year. Whether that meant the technology itself or their acquisition was not clear, though I suspect the latter. Nonetheless, all pretty cool.

The inserts arrived yesterday. I like them! Total cost 100 bucks and change. Seems like a bargain when you consider this, from 2006: Do You Really Need an $800 Custom Insole?

In which I become an herbalist

Ten days ago I posted a short video about comfrey.

Five days ago, my son stumbled steps in the centro (at 5 AM, ahem), creating what turned out to be a nasty fracture of the tibia that required surgery and several screws.

x-ray of broken ankle
Did I mention nasty?

He spent three nights in the hospital, during which he spent some money for outside food and TV rental in his double room. Retrieving him, I paid 719 pesos (USD 38.45) for at-home anti-coagulent, antibiotic, and pain meds, and 1,410 pesos (USD 75.40) for 15 daily in-home visits to administer the anti-coagulent shot. That was it.

What would this cost in the USA, $25-30,000?

Today I made a poultice for the first time, using comfrey I transplanted from a friend’s place over a year ago. He said it felt good!

Also interesting: we’ve been here over three and a half years; he’s only had medical insurance in the last six months or so.