Thursday, August 02, 2007

Friend and the bad luck day

I answered the phone around noon, still figuring out what I wanted to wear to work and playing with Photoshop, finishing up a figure for the paper I’m trying to write.

“Again? I’m so sorry.” I replied to poor Friend when she reported her car – after 3 trips to the garage and upwards of $1000 – refused to start this morning. She glumly asked if I would take her to work after she had the stubborn vehicle towed to its second home - Midas.

I agreed and finished my figure while she dealt with AAA. She called back to let me know that her car had started and she was going to drop it off herself. So I was to meet her at the garage as soon as I put clothes on. I threw stuff together and grabbed the pink shirt and flowery skirt off the top of the pile and headed toward town.

I haven’t seen Friend in many days – the last time was nearly a week ago when Chienne needed a shot and we went to visit Friend and scared her pretty cats. So it was nice to see her this morning, though I apologized again for her nasty luck of late (I was informed that her air conditioner has broken 6 times. Not 4.). I dropped her off at work, then made my way to get my monthly massage. My favorite therapist left when they restructured and I have yet to find a suitable replacement. (My problems are perhaps a touch more minor than Friend's.)

My habit gets expensive though, so becoming a member and paying a mere $50/massage rather than the $70 it would otherwise cost seemed wise. So I continue to try new people in the hopes that someone will be able to push the tension from my back and shoulder muscles.

I sighed upon meeting a petite blonde today, certain that she wouldn’t be able to solve my sore muscle problems. I was blissfully mistaken, though I did feel moderately sick an hour later as the toxins that were forced from my muscles caused some general malaise. The pressure felt useful at times – even when my fingers went briefly numb as she worked on my upper arms – and absolutely wonderful at others. I’m thrilled at my discovery of a good therapist at my reasonably priced massage place and look forward to seeing her again.

“I’m doing a lot of writing lately.” I confessed as her joints popped from the pressure she exerted on the muscles that connect my neck to my head. “So I sit at my laptop for work, then I’m working on this novel for fun. It’s kind of constant with the typing and looking and slouching.”

Friend had exited my car with a warning not to abandon her on campus. Fearful of being infected with some of her atrocious luck, I patiently did some work while I waited for Friend to wrap things up in the lab. I did some writing on the actual paper, which was good as it often gets neglected in favor of the precious novel. I have one more set of analysis to do, but putting the results in order and getting the discussion outlined did clarify a couple of questions.

I sat through a meeting, planning new ways to analyze the same data and finally asking for a different patient’s information. I’m tired of staring at the same stuff.

I, of course, would rather stare at my book.

“The plan,” I told Friend over steak for dinner, “is to finish part 1. I know where I want the breaking point and I think I need another few days – maybe a week – to get there. When I get that done - and it's all written, but needs organization and editing - I’ll move the scattered chapters to a different document and put the book away again for a while.”

She nodded but didn’t comment.

“When I get part 1 done, I’m going to let someone read it. Maybe my mom. I haven’t fully decided yet. I don’t think you’d like it or be all that impressed with it, so I feel a bit self-conscious about having you look at it.”

She paused while I happily pounced on the yeast rolls the waitress brought.

“I told you I wouldn’t ask to read it. And I won’t. But you know I would if you want me to do so.” She offered.

“I do know.” I paused in my quest for bread to glance up at her. “If I asked you to read it, you’d read it.”

“It is outside my genre.” She admitted. “Unless you’ve recently added an alien.”

“Not so much, no.” I said, smiling. “I don’t think I could write dialogue for an alien. What would I say? ‘Hello, I’m an alien. Do you like my pointy ears?’ It just doesn’t fit.”

As for what does fit, I have ideas. And after I finish this batch of editing, I’m going to take another break from it. Perhaps then the blog posts will improve ever so slightly in quality.

Oh, and since Friend continues to work all the time instead of writing text for her blog (something about a paper she's writing and experiments to be done. I don't know.), I will say that they think it's her battery. And the air in her apartment was cool when we stopped to feed the cats on the way to my house. So hopefully tomorrow will be better for her. Though Chienne tends to sleep draped over Friend when she stays here. That's probably not so comfortable. So maybe Saturday will be better for Friend.


Cee said...

Volunteering as a complete stranger here! I don't think that's the sort of reader you want at this stage, if at all, but if you do suddenly want to get a random Australian's opinion, do email me. I would love to read it, and can attempt to make insightful comments ;-)

StyleyGeek said...

Finally someone who can maybe answer a question that has been bugging me for a while (since, I think, Bardiac posted on it).

From a biological point of view, what toxins are there stored in muscles that a massage can remove? Is it lactic acid? Massage therapists always say there is something, and that you should drink water afterwards etc, but they can't tell you what, specifically, these "toxins" are, or how massage removes them.

So since biology is your speciality, AND you do the massage thing, please explain! :)

post-doc said...

(I emailed Cee - didn't want anyone to think I was ignoring one comment in favor of another.)

This is actually a case of me believing everything I hear. :) They say toxins and I nod along and drink my water. A quick search tells me that many people think this toxin stuff is poppycock.

However, I have felt sick after deep tissue massages enough that I think there is something going on. Lactic acid definitely would have been my guess, but apparently that dissipates on its own and doesn't need help? (I'm actually a physicist who works in the biological realm which means I have only a small idea of which I speak). The leading "toxin" I found hypothesized was myoglobin. (And this is from a google search, not any relevant knowledge.)

A paper by Hilbert et al., (Br J Sports Med 2003;37:72–75) notes that neutrophils are attracted and adhere to damaged muscles to eat up the cells you ruin by not exercising properly. Massage - they think - could help make sure that too many of those guys don't stick around too long and damage healthy tissue. (Then again, they didn't find a significant correlation with pain and massage, so, maybe not so much.)

I think dominant knowledge is there aren't really toxins. Yet I believe there are, so I will continue to feel moderately sick and drink tons of water. Sorry I can't be of more help.

ppb said...

What is it with furry beasts that want to drape in the summer?

I hope things get better for your friend.

StyleyGeek said...

Thanks for the clarification.

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