Much Ado about an Anniversary

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…

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

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.

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?

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…