Posts Tagged ‘Injury’

Much Ado about an Anniversary

Posted: January 8, 2010 in Personal, Theatre
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It was a year ago this week that I underwent the surgery for my ruptured Achilles tendon. Not unexpectedly, it had a profound affect on the way things unfolded this past year. I spent almost half of 2009 in rehab of one kind or another trying to get back to where I was before the accident. I would have to say that I’m at about 85-90% which is just about what they told me to expect.

I can still ride my bike, for which I am very grateful. In June I had a great time on the Ride to Conquer Cancer with the rest of Team Kortight and I am looking forward to participating in the 2010 Ride later this year with an even larger team; but more on that in another post.

What I wanted to write about today is that this week, one year after the fact, I finally returned to the scene of the crime. The other night I attending a production meeting for “Much Ado About Nothing“, the Shakespearean comedy being presented by Guelph Little Theatre in April.

There was every much a sense of déjà vu as I crossed the parking lot and entered the front doors. It was, after all, a winter night the last time I was there. Just like that night a year ago there was a slight breeze, stars were twinkling in the clear winter sky, the soft glow of the florescent lights emanated from the lobby, and smoke rose lazily from the cluster of smokers near the front door – (heavy sigh)  it was almost as if no time had passed at all.

However, time has indeed passed and that became abundantly clear shortly after walking in the door.  I spent some time catching up with friends, hearing about the projects they had been working on, telling them what was happening with me.  Each conversation was punctuated by the same expression, “Man, has it really been a year?”

The time lag continued to make itself obvious during the discussion about the play. It took a while to get back in the groove, feeling my way into the conversation almost like a newcomer. Adding to the feeling was the fact there are only two familiar faces on the production staff:  Gerry Butts is directing, and Beth Freeth is stage managing.

I’ve worked with Beth as SM before, on ‘Kitchen Witches’ for the Elora Community Theatre. She’s an energetic type,  knows her stuff, understands the dynamics of what I need to fulfill my role as Sound scape Designer, and has a self professed affinity for Star Trek.  I’m going to enjoy working with her again.

Gerry is a gentle giant of a man who I first got to know when he played Willie Loman in GLT’s production of “Death of a Salesman.” I’ve never worked with him as a director though and I’ve seen other director/actor types in action, some ofwhich can be a regular Jekyll and Hyde. I am looking forward to discovering both his directorial style and how he functions at the helm of a team.

Poster for Much Ado about Nothing at GLT

Romance & Comedy in 16th Century Italy

There’s is one other familiar face. I’m beginning to believe there is ethereal conspiracy afoot in the heavenly realms designed to keep me in the company of this person. But I don’t mind because he is one of the more congenial and dare I say brilliant people it has been my pleasure to meet. Once more Ken Cameron is involved in the same production as I, this time he brings his thespian skills to bear in the role of Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon. Ken is a gifted actor who has worked with me on every project I’ve been on save one (‘Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean’ – on which I was brought in only a week and a half before opening) and I have come to value his friendship.

Adding to the mix this time however, is the addition of Ken’s son Andrew to the cast in the role of ‘Boy’, in Act II. It’s Andrew’s second excursion under the lights and I’m looking forward to getting to know this remarkable young man better. I call him remarkable because, quite frankly, the shoe fits. In March of 2009 Andrew and Ken made the trip to Queen’s Park to see Andrew receive his Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Award.  There’s a pic of Andrew and the other winners HERE (he’s the one in the chair beside Lieutenant Governor Onley); the write-up can be found HERE. Having two Camerons around is really going to keep me on my toes.

So that’s where we are in the opening days of 2010, one year after My Great Fall. I’m back in the theatre and working a Shakespear piece for the first time since high school. It’s going to be an interesting spring.

Now there is a lot more going on than just my return to the tech booth at GLT. But we’ll talk about that another day.

Happy New Year!

My Left Foot – the Saga Continues…

Posted: February 20, 2009 in Cycling

For those of you who are interested, the progress on my left foot is going well. I am now walking freely in the AirCast® (Das Boot), only using the cane for uneven or slippery terrain (winter is not a great season for crutches).

I have also been given permission to start putting a little weight on the foot when I’m not wearing Das Boot. This means I need to use my crutches so that the bulk of my weight is shifted off my left foot. We are still working on range of motion development – strength building will come later.

The best part about this is that I can now start thinking about the bicycle again. I’ve been doing 20 minute, resistance free sessions on the exercise bike during my physio sessions (wearing Das Boot). Today, Laurie (my physio-therapist) asked me if I have an exercise bike at home I could use.

I don’t, but rather than getting one I have decided to pick up a trainer to use with my Trek 7100. For those who don’t know, a trainer lifts the back wheel a few inches off the ground so that you can ‘train’ on the bike indoors during the winter. With variable resistance settings it should do the job quite nicely. I’m thinking of a magnetic trainer, tire drive, with or without the remote cable; probably a Blackburn® or a Cycleops®. (Blackburn pictured at right)

Here’s the pitch, always looking to save a dollar or two, and being a firm believer in reuse/recycle, I’m wondering if there’s anyone out there (in the Guelph, Ontario area) that has a trainer in the garage or the basement that you’d be willing to sell for a fair price?

Yes, I know all about Craiglist and eBay, but not everyone posts to sites such as these, and it would be nice to see if I can deal with someone I know. So I’m putting out the feelers to see what comes back. So if you have such a beast kicking around (or know someone who does) and you or they are more likely to go cycling with Barack Obama than use the trainer any time soon, please give me a shout in the comments section and we’ll talk.

Until next time…. Keep on pedalin’

At last… Some freedom

Posted: January 30, 2009 in Personal

Good news from my physiotherapist today. I can start to put weight on my left foot!

Now of course this doesn’t mean I can go around running marathons or anything, but I can move from one room to the next with only the one crutch or my cane. Which makes me much more mobile. Struggling to keep my balance on one foot and the like while I was on the ‘no weight at all’ restriction was a real challenge some times. Now I can use the left foot (still in the storm trooper boot of course) to balance myself out, so I can stand for a while and do things. And as long as the single crutch or the cane is taking most of the weight (75%) I can walk a few steps. For long distances I need both crutches.

Of course with this also comes a new set of exercises. I’m starting on the stretching exercises now to keep the scar tissue on my tendon from hardening and restricting my range of motion. There is some discomfort after the exercises which is why I have to stay off my feet for a while after I’ve done them, but it will, as they say, be worth it. I’m beginning to feel more optimistic about being able to participate in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in June.

It also means I’ll be able to get out a bit more, though for the most part I’m still looking at taking cabs most places. Problem is… it’s winter. If it was anytime in late spring to early fall, I’d just hobble my way on crutches to the bus stop and off I’d go. But snow, ice and crutches aren’t a terrific mix. I’m concerned about making it to the bus stop safely. So until the snow clears, or they allow full weight bearing on the foot I need to pick my rides carefully.

Speaking of which, I really want to thank those of you who have been helping me through this. The rides, the visits etc. have all been just great. I have a new appreciation for the simple joy of just being able to talk with someone over coffee for a while. Thank you so much.

Well, I guess that’s it for now. I’m off to Guelph Little Theatre tonight to watch “The Curious Savage.” Apparently it’s a pretty good show. Nice sound effects.

Until next time… Shalom.


Progress is Being Made.

Posted: January 21, 2009 in Cycling, Personal
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For those of you who may be interested, I had my first physiotherapy session today. My therapist. Laurie, says things are looking pretty good. She’s pleased with my range of motion and says I have a little more strength in my ankle than most people who go through what I’ve been through. Not a lot, but more than average by her experience. This I credit to the good Lord and all of you who have been praying for me out there.

We talked about my goal of participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in June and I would have to describe her response as ‘cautiously optimistic.’ She definitely feels that cycling will once again be a part of my life, it’s just a matter of how soon. I have a regimen of range of motion exercises to do and I see her again on Monday. More time with my foot out of the boot – this is a good thing.

One of the more difficult exercises involves tracing out the letters of the alphabet in the air with my big toe. I was surprised at how much difficulty I have doing this. It’s like I can remember how to form simple letters. I found myself having to really concentrate to get the shapes right. I’m wondering if being right-handed translated to writing with my feet as well. So I tried the same exercise with my right foot and found it a dozen times easier. Still trying to decide if it’s a left-brain/right-brain thing, or is it all in my head. lol

Speaking of the Ride, word is out that registration for the 2009 Ride to Conquer cancer is closed. last year 2850 cyclist participated in The Ride, and I’m sure it will be even larger this year. That 2850 qualified for the largest cycling fundraiser in Canadian history. I’m really looking forward to riding with Team Kortright this year. It will be a great weekend for all of us.

So please continue to pray for me and all the members of the team; Brian Watson, Graham Watson, Noah Bartozzi and David Rippon, that all of our physical and fund raising challenges will be met. Thanks Everyone

Until next time…

Where’s the rest of my Armour?

Posted: January 15, 2009 in Personal
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Went in for my first clinic visit since the surgery today. Doc says he’s pleased with my progress, gave me a physio-therapy requisition to process and then outfitted me with an Imperial Stormtrooper boot.

At least that’s what I think it looks like. Definitely has a Star Wars/Robocop hi-tech geeky vibe to it; which I find much more acceptable than the fiberglass splint and elastic bandage assembly I hobbled out with on the day of my surgery. A front line Stormtrooper rig is white, and Darth Vader’s armour is black, so I figure this gray model must fit in between in the command structure somewhere, perhaps admiral. Rugged construction, foam lining, inflatable air bladders for a form fit, and a stylish shade of gray (most apropos); coolness factor has increased substantially.

However; as with most things, there is a price to pay. Conservatively, I estimate this puppy weighs about three times what the original ‘half-cast’ did. It’s also somewhat warmer and harder to maneuver in. Definitely not looking forward to sleeping in this thing but, I will adapt.

Back on the plus side, it does come off for showers and changing clothes etc. so it isn’t all bad. One thing that does get me is the price – $170 CDN. Not that I don’t think it’s worth it, but I’ve always been mystified about the lack of recycling in the health care field.

Some things are obvious, don’t want people re-using needles etc. That’s a complete no-brainer. But why do I have to take full possession of this boot. Now I realize the foam lining will absorb a fair amount of sweat, so by all means ditch it. But could we not return the boot when done with it, replace the lining, subject the boot to some form of sterilization and give it to the next person in need?

Then instead of charging me the full $170, charge me for liner, add $25 to rent the boot proper for the duration of my therapy, and then return and process it for the next patient. We reduce the number of boots sitting in closets somewhere, with the rental fee create an additional income stream for the hospital for as long as the boot is serviceable, and when multiplied by the number of people who likely need these things province wide, substantially assist our burgeoning health care costs.

As I stated earlier, there are some things in a hospital that should never be reused under any circumstances. But it seems to me that there are a number of areas where proper reuse management could substantially improve the cash flow in our health care system. Frankly, I don’t care if my crutches have been used by twenty other people before me, as long as they are still structurally stable and clean. Why does it appear that these options aren’t being considered?

Or at the very least give me a chance to buy the rest of the armour.

Till next time…


On a Leg and a Chair.

Posted: January 11, 2009 in Personal
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Well, it’s been two days and I think I’m starting to adapt. Most of yesterday I struggled to get from the chair to the bathroom to the dining room table where my computer is set up on crutches. I hated it!

Oh it was tolerable enough with Roberta around to get things for me, but she will be gone 12 hours a day starting Monday, so I needed to think of something else. So I tried using a roling office chair my friend Rachel gave me, and it seems to be doing the job. I get around for the most part and my bad foot never gets any weight put on it as per doctors orders. It is still a drag though.

Fortunately, a pleasant distraction arrived to help take my mind off things – my good friend David. David lives in Goderich and had a day or so off work and knowing of my situation decided to come down and pay me a visit. He stopped in just before supper last night and we had a great time eating, talking and watching on old sci-fi movie on DVD.

I suppose that’s one advantage of what’s going on right now. If things were the way they normally are I wouldn’t have been home to visit with David; instead I likely would have been out and about doing something somewhere. This situation has certainly caused me to slow down. As I mentioned earlier, I had been looking for a way to do just that, to find more time to write, to read, and to get a few other things done. It makes me wonder if I was so busy, so obsessed with all the tasks I needed to perform that this was the only way God could get my attention. That seems rather extreme, but then Israel wasn’t far different.

Time and again in the Bible we find Israel ignoring God to the point where the only way He can bring them up short enough to listen for a while is to have some other nation drop in and conquer them. Then of course, they spend more time wailing and complaining then listening, but eventually they clue in, get their act together, and pay attention. Then God puts the other nation in its place and Israel is fine for another generation until they decide they know better than God and follow the same destructive pattern of behaviour.

There’s no denying that I do have a hard time slowing down and focusing, even though prayer and meditation are part of my routine. But is it reasonable to imagine that God would allow such an injury to take place just to get my attention, or am I just reading something into the situation trying to find some meaning that will make it less agonizing?

I mean, if this accident is entirely the result of my own stupidity, then I have nobody to blame but myself. But, if it is the maneuverings of divine providence, then it’s not entirely my fault. God did this to get my attention, in fact, in some bizarre way it is an answer to prayer and I am completely off the hook for not looking where I was going and falling down that stupid hole. Wouldn’t that make this a good thing?

Truth is, I’ve had a few people tell me that is exactly what is happening and I should regard this situation as a gift from God, sent by Him in answer to my needs. Frankly, I don’t buy it.

You see, while it’s true that God is all about forgiveness, the scripture makes it clear he’ also about taking responsibility for our own actions. He didn’t let Moses off the hook; his rebellion kept Him from entering the promised land. He didn’t cut David any slack; his disobedience cost him a son and kept him from fulfilling His dream to build the temple. Moses, David and many others all eventually learned from their experiences and were blessed by God in what they did; but forgiveness was never a blank cheque. They all had to live with the consequences of their actions.

That’s why some non-Chrsitians have a hard time with the idea of forgiveness. They see it as some kind of cosmic ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card and to them it’s just wrong that people who do bad things don’t have to pay the price. Unfortunately some Christians look at it that way too and that does a disservice to God and His message.

Forgiveness does not mean you don’t have to face the consequences of your actions, it means you want have to pay the price for what you did beyond those consequences. There is a commoon feeling among people in general that if what you have done is bad enough you should have to pay for it over and over and over again. That there is no amount of suffering that will balance the books for what you have done. They want the sinner to suffer not just once, but always, and for the rest of their lives, because that’s the only way they can see justice being done. Because to them justice means balancing the books, and eye for an eye.

But God’s Justice is a little different. God’s justice recognizes that in the sum of all things it is impossible to balance the books. We will never, no matter how hard we try, manage to achieve justice because even an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth doesn’t make things right. It just makes us feel better because revenge is sweet and since it’s sweet it is the most incidous form of comfort food. Because revenge makes us think we have justice because the books appear to have been balanced, but in reality we’ve just been given a candy that makes us feel better because we got someting out of it.

That’s why God’s justice is different, because it’s about paying the immediete unavoidable consequences of what we do, without making us the victims of revenge. Forgiveness wipes the slate clean, so that instead of falling prey to revenge, we can like Daivd, learn from our mistakes and go on to be a blessing to others.

Because we also need to realize that the victims of revenge are not just those who commit the sin, but those who seek revenge are also it’s victims. Because like comfort food revenge does not deal with the problem, it just make us feel better and distracts us from the problem, so it never gets dealt with properly. You see, forgiveness is the remedy not just for the sinner, but for those who have been sinned against as well. It purges us of the pain we feel that causes us to never be satisfied. That pain is why justice never seems enoough and revenge appears as the only answer. For both sides forgiveness is the only solution.

By now I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Dennis, how did we get from you falling down a hole having more time to write, to pondering the varities of justice and revenge? Man isn’t that a bit of a stretch?”

Well, yes, I suppose it is. But that’s what happens when you give a guy time to think and to ponder. And yet it’s not that big a stretch either because the nature of justice and forgiveness is at the root of how God works. It would not be just for God to inflict pain solely for the purpose of teaching me a few things. Israel’s perils were a direct result of their choosing to violate a covenant that they made with God at Mount Sinaih, the attacks by other nations were never random.

So my current situation is not God’s doing. I don’t believe that for a second. However, just as with Israel, God is not above using my stupidity to His advantage. I didn’t see the hole, now I’m here; and so is God, and while He forgices my stupidity he’s not above taking advantage of the situation. I’m sureHe has a few things he wants to draw to my attention while He has it. The question is will I quit complaining about the inconveniences of my current situation long enough to listen to what He has to say?

I pray that I do. Until next time…


Well, after a few hours sleep in Day Surgery I’m back home once more. The disconcerting thing is I went in feeling fairly well, pain free and able to move around under my own power. Not after the surgery designed to repair my torn Achilles heel. I am feeling less than chipper, experiencing significant discomfort, some pain, and I’m about as mobile as a three-legged Galapagos tortoise. Ah well, what’s the old saying, “Short term pain for long term gain.”

I want to thank all of you who took a moment to think of me and pray for me today. As I lay on the gurney in the hallway waiting to go into the operating room, I could feel the anxiety building. Then I reminded myself that there were people in the world who were deliberately and purposefully thinking of me right at that moment. I will admit that the comfort to be found in that thought surprised me.

There’s a quote that I have used many time over the years to try to help me keep my ego in check.

“Most people would worry less about what people think of them if they could just realize how seldom they do.”

I don’t know who said it but this sentence has kept me from obsessing on people’s opinions more than a few times. As a teenager I spent a lot of time worrying what my peers thought of me and tried to “fit in” by doing things that would improve those opinions. For a time my insecurity was largely fueled by the idea that people didn’t like me at all and spent a lot of time telling other people how much I sucked. The turn around came when I finally came to grips with the reality that people didn’t think about me as much as I feared.

Then the opposing obsession took hold, “What do you mean people DON’T THINK ABOUT ME? Am I that insignificant that I’m not WORTH thinking about?” This quickly led to a new personal philosophy that stayed with me through-out most of my twenties..”I don’t care what people think about me as long as they do!” My self-esteem now centered around a fear of indifference – to me. It’s amazing how many different ways peer pressure can manifest itself – real or imagined.

With maturity I like to think I’ve struck a balance between the two. My self -esteem is now founded more in my identity in Christ than anything else. Well, most of the time anyway.There are a few individuals whose opinions I use as kind of a benchmark. Other than that I am content to simply be who I am and let the world try and cope with my opinion of it. What people think and whether they are thinking of me at all are of significantly less importance than they once were.

What happened today however, was something all together different. For a few hours it mattered to me a great deal that people were, in fact, thinking of me – and deliberately so. After they wheeled me away from Roberta’s company into the inner labyrinth of the surgery area, I felt suddenly very alone. They took me to the hallway outside the assigned operating room and left me there to gaze out the window. The anxiety rose, and fear started to set in.

Then I remembered what my good friend Brian Watson had said, “We’ll take time at 1 o’clock to stop and pray for you.” In that moment I also remembered the dozen or so others who had committed to do the same thing. I did some quick tallying and estimated that while I was lying there at least 34 people were out there, somewhere, thinking about me and my situation and lifting my name up to God in prayer.

Suddenly, the fear subsided. The anxiety, while still there, no longer took my breath away; the shaking in my hands was reduced to a barely noticeable tremor. I was comforted and encouraged by the knowledge that there were people out there who cared enough about me, who loved me enough to stop what they were doing and lift me up in prayer. I found myself praying for each one of them.

I know, it’s what prayer is all about. It’s why we are commanded in the scriptures to pray for one another. But I, like you gentle reader, are human, and the challenges we face can often overwhelm us and we find ourselves in need of a palpable reminder. Today the Spirit reminded me of that fact in just such a tangible way.

So thank you Brian, et al. Your prayers were heard, and I was greatly blessed.

May God bless each of you for your faithfulness.