Saturday, April 10, 2021

What is the opposite of useful?

 A couple of careers ago I was a school administrator. I handled most issues regarding the students at a job training school. It was one of these After-High-School-Learn-A-Skill-Get-A-Job places. Our students were mostly kind of adults.  One of the less interesting things I had to do was to get students there mail.Often, the grades and bills we would mail to them would get returned to us. Usually I would just find the student and hand them their mail and that would be the end of it. Sometimes they would tell me the address is incorrect and I would fix it in our system. But usually it was a one-off problem because the post office was the post office.  If I remembered that  I was doing this repeatedly for the same student I would actually ask them to look at the envelope and tell me if the address was correct.


There was one kid who insisted his address was correct after his mail kept getting returned to us. It was a long time ago but I remember it said XXXX  90th Street in Brooklyn. After the third  time his mail was returned to us I asked him what neighborhood he lived in.  He told me he lived in Canarsie. Canarsie would be East 90th Street. 90th Street is in Bay Ridge.  I told him if he lives in Canarsie there should be an East in front of the name of his Street..  He asked me what the difference was between East 90th and 90th. I told him it's the difference between where he lives and where he doesn't live. He told me no, I'm in the 90th Street gang. I smiled and told him his gang was a bunch of Lost Boys And corrected his records in the computer. When you get information that's incorrect when you think it should be correct it is a waste of your time

This is a picture of a photograph hanging
in the men's room at the tennis center.
It shows the cherry trees,
the reservoir and the buildings on the westside of
Central Park including the San Remo
which was destroyed during the filming of Ghostbusters

This is a picture I took myself
while running. It shows a little bit of the cherry
ree the reservoir and the San Remo


I bring this up because I recently joined Strava. It's an app that tracks how far I run and where I run. As I run it tells me how fast each mile is and it keeps track of my personal records. I'm planning a marathon in 2 months so I'm bumping up my mileage. My plan today was to run 10 times around the reservoir in Central Park. It's marked as 1.58 miles. That's where I plan to do the marathon. I made the 10 laps of the reservoir and I actually made four trips to the bathroom at the tennis center. It's a tenth of a mile each way to the bathroom. That 16.6 miles. Strava put me at 17.44 miles. That's kind of a significant difference.
 

And it looks like all that extra mileage was on my miles 7 and 8. You can see them being 4 minutes per mile faster then most of the rest of my miles and if you look at the map it looks like I was leaving the reservoir Loop multiple times on the east side of The Reservoir. This makes all the information I got useless. I did not run 2 speedy miles and I did not run on and off of the reservoir track. What good is this. It just made me think I was running super fast. I can't figure out why it happened on one of my 10 loops. When you get information that's incorrect when you think it should be correct it is a waste of your time

Back in February I ran 10 miles inside the park slope Armory. I'm not surprised the map came out looking like this I was under a roof. The satellites had to guess where I was. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

My hands

I've had five surgeries to restore some function to my hands. Here's the story.

In 2014 I was diagnosed with  acute motor axonal neuropathy, AMAN.  That's the rare variant of the rare disease known as Guillain-Barre Syndrome. After I got food poisoning probably from some under-cooked chicken my immune system got confused and attacked my motor nerves. I went from marathon ready, to doctor there's something wrong with my hands and feet, to the emergency room , to the Intensive Care Unit in one day. I received IVIG (kind of blood plasma transfusions),  plasmapheresis (blood-filtering), more IVIG,. Then eventually and off-label non FDA-approved chemotherapy. That stoped me from getting worse. I was a quadriplegic unable to move my arms or legs. I was able to breathe and move my head and neck and wiggle my core. There really aren't any drugs to get better. It's called GBS for a reason.Getting. Better. Slowly. So worse would have meant assistance in breathing and eating. With tubes

When I was initially hospitalized and my diagnosis was Guillain-Barre syndrome. The doctors kept saying you'll be fine in a year. It did't make me happy to hear that but that's what they kept saying. (I think that's what a gardener might say to someone whose tree was damaged.)  but after a few months in the hospital my diagnosis changeed. Because I had axonal damage.  Instead of saying  you'll be fine in a year they said "we should talk in 3 years". Those words were more honest but since I'm using voice to text to get this onto the screen hearing myself say them turns my stomach. (Reading this as I proofread it doesn't make my stomach feel that much better either. Yeah I proofread.)

After spending a 135 days in hospitals and a nursing homes I came home I needed to use wheelchair that I couldn't push by myself to get around.  After a year I was able to walk around with a walker.....and a pair of Canadian crutches Then I use the cane for a while. I wore a glove with velcro on it and put the other half of the velcro on the cane so I can grip the cane. Then I put a hundred rubber bands around the handle to make it bigger and stickier. It's been almost seven years  and I still deal with the foot drop  I use ankle-foot Orthotics. I'm running marathons again, it just takes me twice as long.

But the healing in my hands was not so much.  So after 3 years of  occupational therapy my therapist mentioned that I should see a surgeon about my hands.  If I were to hold them out with my Palms facing the ceiling I would be able to  lift my hands from the wrist. But if I were to turn my Palms facing down I was unable to lift my wrists. The fingers in my right hand barely worked at all and the fingers in my left hand just hung there.

One of the benefits of going to a giant research hospital was that everybody  works together and talks to each other. My occupational therapist suggested I see the surgeon she works with. He said he can help me but he wanted to hear from my neurologist that I was done healing. He didn't want to start moving parts around that we're going to get better on their own anyway. So I went back to my neurologist and I had another lovely EMG test. She took a big breath and looked up and said yeah nothing's changed in a year, and it's been 3 years since your diagnosis. You're done healing. I knew that. We both pouted and moved on.

I went back to the surgeon. We had a great conversation. He asked me what I wanted to dooh, what was important to me? I told him my number one priority was to be able to use toilet paper. That would open up a whole new world to me. He told me no. That was # two (absolutely no pun intended).  He was going to fuse my wrist at a slightly up angle. He said the most important thing for people to be able to do was to hold things like pens, forks  And doorknobs. He said your wrist had to bend the other way to use toilet paper. It really made sense for him to bend my wrist up so I could use those tools with my dominant hand. I agreed I knew that I still had a left hand for them to work on after they worked on my right. The picture is here show that the first surgery was to install a rod in my right wrist. Before that I would use a splint to keep my wrist straight so I can hold a fork. The second surgery transferred the tendon that used to move my wrist a little bit to my fingers. So now that I'm all healed I'm actually moving my fingers by activating the tendon that used to lift my hand. 

After my right hand healed I went back to the surgeon so we can work on my left. I told him I still wanted to use toilet paper. okay, my wrist was okay on my left hand because it moved in the direction it has to move when you use toilet paper but my fingers were useless. So two little surgeries he fused each of the knuckles at the hand so they were in the shape of a cup. And in the fifth surgery moved some of the tendon from the wrist to the thumb so I can open my hand a little. At home I still use a bidet. But I can travel confidently because of this great product. 
  




oh, And the answer to that other frequently Asked question is has a person recovering from GBS who was surgery?

I had no problem with anesthesia or the nerve blocks. Each anesthesiologist needed to check with my neurologist if I was okay to have a nerve block and they went ahead and did that. No problems.  The thing that was kind of a fake problem was that since they don't let you eat  or drink anything the day of the surgery I was both hungry and dehydrated. Hungry with mostly my problem. Dehydrated meant it was harder for them to find a vein. So one time they actually put the IV into my foot which made it so much fun to walk into the OR.

 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

I prefer my art random

Sometimes I'd rather stumble upon some random public art without any warning then spend a day in a museum. Don't get me wrong art museums are great. But sometimes it's nice to be caught off guard without any warning  or time to study in advance. Sometimes when I'm out for a run or a walk in a park or any other public place I like to stumble upon art.  It could be official art placed  there by the government. It could be graffiti. It could even be a tree. But not knowing what you're about to see makes what you see even more beautiful.


I decided to take that approach with the last book I just finished reading. It's not like I found a book in the street. It was written by someone I met on Facebook and I only knew two things about the author. She lived in New Delhi, India. At one point in her life she had the same disease I had, 
Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  I guess I knew three things, she was a she. Warriors in White by Sujata Sharma

" I remember telling my children some years ago that we were the lucky ones, as by the time we were born, global calamities like the World Wars were reduced to being mere chapters in the history books. How far from the truth I had been!"

I started reading with a completely open mind. It turned out the book was the memoirs have a medical researcher during the first year of the covid-19 epidemic.  For most of the book I appreciated the perspective have someone living in a parallel universe to my own. And the greatest reward of reading this book was that it helped reduce the size of my Gigantic American ego. It's certainly not a parallel universe. It's just the universe.


I was kind of honored to get a peek into Sujata's  life in 2020.  There was only a little I was able to relate to since it's been 30 years since I've been in an academic community  Now I'm looking forward to reading A Dragonfly’s Purpose.  That's the book she wrote about her journey with GBS

Saturday, March 27, 2021

I am pleased with my progress

I used to say  that 25 years of training for marathons and ultra-marathons helped prepare me to recover from Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  I was okay with the concept of having a goal that was Beyond the Horizon. Now I can say that recovering from GBS prepared me to train for my next marathon.

Since GBS I have finished  3 marathons and an Ultra.  I walked the New York City marathon in 2017 in 9 hours and 45 minutes. In the spring of 18 I walked the Brooklyn marathon in about 10 hours. In the spring of 19 I walked the perimeter of Manhattan Island (33 miles) in about 15 hours.  In November of 2020 I RAN the virtual New York City marathon in 8 and 1/2 hours.  In November of 2020  I had just gotten my ankle-foot orthotics. I was able to run and focus on forward motion as opposed to keeping my toes up off the ground.




Also, In the past 18 months I've lost over 25% of my body weight. I gained a lot of weight when I was sick but I would also admit that I was gaining weight before I got sick. I saw a weight loss MD, took a couple of medications and became self-aware of my eating habits.. (I honestly didn't know it was bad to eat 3 Bagels at a time)

To the left is to pictures of me. You can tell it to me because I'm wearing the same hat and I happened to be in the same park

So my ultimate goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon as a Mobility impaired athlete. That means breaking 6 hours. That means running 26.2 13.5 miles.  I'm not there yet.


For now I want to get faster at the longer distances. Maybe get down to a 15 minute mile. That would give me a 7 hour marathon.

On Sunday I ran the virtual New York City Half Marathon. I went through the streets....   The scenic route with friends. We had fun but it was an ugly run. Lots of concrete. Random pedestrians...   I did get to run by Trump's building on 5th Avenue and use the F-word three different ways in one sentence. 

When I finished the ball of my right foot was killing me and I finally broke down and bought a Groupon for a random place that had a foot massage on Monday. I told the guy where it needed to be rubbed and he did things that made me see stars. But it worked. He moved my faccia around and I had a lot less pain today.




This morning I wanted to find out what I was made of. I did the math and calculated that if I ran 8 of the 1.58 mile Loops of the reservoir in Central Park and made two trips to the bathroom by the tennis center I would run just about 13.1 miles. I did this and stopped at the water fountain on every Loop. I started out just after 7 a.m. When it was just light and really cold. But I knew it would warm up and it became a perfect day to run. My first couple of Miles took 18 minutes each but then I got my rhythm. Without really pushing myself I ran my last Mile in 15 minutes flat. 

My goal is to run a 7 hour marathon in the early summer or late spring. I think I can do it or come really close. I'm going to run 16 times around the reservoir and make 4 trips to the bathroom at the tennis center. The reservoir Loop is literally as flat as a pancake and that trip to the bathroom is like climbing a mountain. But it's only a tenth of a mile. 

I plan on doing this as a fundraiser for the Brooklyn chapter of Achilles International. Watch this space so you know where to throw your money



Today mile 13 felt pretty good at 15 minutes per mile. I'm beginning with the  fight with the insurance company to get custom-made ankle-foot Orthotics. They might help me. But in any  case I think I can  get my Marathon tell him down to 7 hours this year. That's a 15 minute per mile pace. For all the miles.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Too much and too little

 
YOU DON"T GIVE A FUCK
BUT PLEASE
DRIVE AS IF YOU DO
This photo was taken at about 8 in the morning in a Sunday. That's why there's no traffic. But on weekdays from 8 a.m. To 8 p.m.  And even weekend afternoons this intersection becomes a Brooklyn choke point. It would take a lot to change the quantity of cars. Traffic is coming up too skinny streaks to meet up add a giant traffic circle and head off on wider streets.  There is little if anything that can be done to reduce the amount of traffic.  But plenty can be done to make it more orderly, and safe.

Because drivers don't give a fuck. From 8th Ave they're continually making that right turns from the left lane. When they make a wide right turn they wind up on the wrong side of the road on Union Street. They're also cutting off the car that's in the right lane. Because cars in the right lane may proceed straight. Cars coming up Union Street make left turns before the intersection. They wind up crossing through the crosswalk in the wrong direction often when The Pedestrian sees a walk signal. 

Furthermore, there's a car rental agency up on Union Street that uses the right lane to store their cars before they are checked in for return. Often, they blocked the entire block as well as traffic on 8th Avenue. But it doesn't matter if it's one car or 20 if the right lane is blocked on Union Street it causes a problem.

Drivers have been doing this with impunity because there's been virtually no enforcement of traffic regulations at this intersection. It's likely that most people who passed my house do it 5 days a week and they know that they can do whatever they want.

It's pretty clear that the police and the Department of Transportation don't give a fuck either. A traffic camera would help. People know they're there and they would stop going through the light if they knew they would get a ticket. Also continuous and regular enforcement would help because the same people who travel pass this intersection would start to know that this isn't a place where you can break the law because you'd get a ticket. Especially if they see people getting tickets. There's been many fender benders and more than a few serious car accidents. Maybe they're waiting for someone to die. 


 



It said to be common knowledge in New York City that when a subway car pulls up and there's no one in it there's a reason not to get in. But the other day I was changing for the local in Franklin Avenue and they were very few people on the train. It was a rainy afternoon and that train had just been outdoors and it looked like everyone was avoiding going anywhere because of the rain. And when the train stopped in front of me no one got off but there was no one on the car. I was so excited I had to take a picture..... 4:30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday and I get my own 3 train. I was so excited that when I sat down I didn't look and I sat in a puddle. I'm 99% sure that it was just rain water. But I went home changed all my clothes and took another shower.

I'm in a pilot program for Access-A-Ride. In real time I can  hail a cab and pay only what the subway fare would be to get anywhere in New York City. I could have done that to get home and avoided taking the subway. But as a true New Yorker I know at the subway would be the fastest way home. It's not easy but I can take the subway. I'm glad I chose to take the train so I didn't contribute to this gridlock in front of my house. I wish that was a thing for everybody. I wish I could be.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Lucky [White] Man

 I used to run all over the place. Well I kind of still do, but I used to run a lot and everywhere.  I never hesitated to go through neighborhoods that some people thought might have been kind of sketchy.  The ungentrified parts of New York City are often the most interesting. I usually run early in the day and any hoodlum knew I had nothing a value. 

yeah, I grew up in Brooklyn and I knew how to handle myself.

I shared my running routes with many of my friends. It was a while ago but I had a moment of Enlightenment when one of my female friends ask me if I went alone when I run. In the time it took me to say yes I realized that I was doing something she couldn't do.


So I joined with my running club and ran 2.23 miles.

It's bad enough to think I'm lucky they don't have to worry about sexual predators but it's crazy to think did I should be lucky not to be chased down and killed because of the color of my skin.

It's crazy that I even have to think about this. It's crazy that I'm kind of a luckiest person on the planet. Or I'm part of a subset of people who just happened to be born really lucky. I was lucky to be born White and lucky to be born a man. Been taking this for granted for a very long time. Going to try to stop

I've been thinking about black-and-white a lot lately. Both because it's been in the news and I have a lot of extra time on my hands. I was thinking of adding to this blog and enumerating all of my youthful adventures / crimes I was involved in where I only got away with them because of my charms and good looks.  When looking back it wasn't that I looked good it's what I looked like that got me out of going to jail or being beaten up by the cops. But that's not what I'm thinking about now.

I'm thinking about one thing from my youth. I had a summer job working at a beach club and my uncle was my boss. I had to hire someone to work with on weekends. I remember the only person that came to mind for me to hire with one of my friends who happened to be black. I mentioned that to my uncle and I remember his answer distinctly. He said it's okay with me but some of the patrons might not be happy. Looking back I don't think about my uncle's answer. What gives me pause is the fact that I had to ask the question.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

michael ring's meeting

You can alway make a donation
As a chapter leader for the GBS Foundation I basically have a couple of responsibilities. Besides being a point of contact with people who register as patients or caregivers with the foundation, we have chapter meetings. These are local events in a public place for people in your area to meet each other. Often there  a guest speaker who has something of interest to say to people who have GBS or it's variants.  Since we've been doing them all on zoom  lately I get to go to other people's meetings all over the world. I really enjoy going to meetings. Even before Zoom I did everything I could to get to as many as I could. It didn't occur to me why I was going to all these meetings until a wise person told me," Unicorns like being with other unicorns."

Anyway, a few months ago I hosted my own Zoom meeting and a bunch of people showed up. Some familiar faces showed up. and a handful on New Yorkers new to the GBS "family" Some other chapter leaders from all over the country said hi, too. It was okay. But it occurred to me that a chapter meeting doesn't really have to be regional. It could have a subject that interests people from all over the world. So I decided to have a chapter meeting based on a theme that I can relate to. I decided to set the agenda and talk about  something that is common to a lot of people who have had GBS. We all used to live somewhat okay lives until suddenly we had to deal with the effects of peripheral neuropathy. It didn't go away  or some of us.... Long-term residuals.

And right up top I want to share a very important link that was provided by my friend Jennifer the physical therapist. In order to locate a qualified physical therapist or occupational therapists go to the following websites. www.APTA.org and www.AOTA.org

 Here is a link to the zoom meeting

Topic: michael ring's Personal Meeting Room. Meeting Recording:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/yw8pEXaTemcJPwyUV0_hYbv_SYPKo9AOc1p3OfHLdmG2g2hNrlAj229sgnaEva1Q.3_fS9A5Dv7ZEOcmM

And needless to say I'm really grateful for the foundation to have given me the opportunity to do this. And I couldn't have done it without the help from my chapter leader from across the East River and friend, Danawyn  and my friend and physical therapist Jennifer.

People have been asking me to share this so I figured I posted as quickly as I could. Over the next couple of days I'll update the space below with direct links to a lot of the items that were mentioned during the meeting. If you have anything to add that might be helpful to other people, please feel free to put them in the comment boxes in this blog post.

One of the big takeaways from the meeting  is that there are plenty of items out there that will help us deal with  the fact that we have somewhat permanent nerve damage, nd activities of daily living can be challenging.  Occupational therapist work in a medical setting and have special catalogs that they're required to use. They can be full of enormously overpriced items.  Just use your favorite search engine and find the same item for a fraction of the cost.  I've done searches like this and what lots of stuff. Some of it worked and some of it didn't but it didn't cost a lot of money. Active hands is also a great company. Very patient / consumer centered. https://www.activehands.com/

  • First I'd like to provide a link do an item of computer software that I didn't even mention at the meeting. I'm using it at this very moment. Voice to text.  I happen to be using an online program that is free and called SpeechTexter(so they're not typos. That's what I said.)  I actually used to use products from dragon but when I change computers I lost my registration key. They work better in that I was able to say things like strike that to delete the last thing I said. They will also able to learn my Brooklyn accent because I tawk that way
  • And I'll start with the suggestions that are getting emailed to me from participants

    Here are a couple of items I find handy.   The bed rail/rise assist is something I bought for my mother. The bed is built in such a way that it cannot slip between the mattress.  It has a dual function and I can move it from the bedroom to the sofa/chair area to help my mother get up from a chair.   I imagine I will be using it too when I have knee replacement. (Thanks Joyce). Towards the end of the meeting we talked about something that would help people get out of a car seat. It's an item I never heard of and I'm glad I learned about it. It probably wouldn't have helped me because my hands we're never strong enough and still our end to operate it but this looks like a good idea. It's something you can attach to the side of your car door to create a grab bar

     

     

    Drive Medical Folding Lightweight 

    Cane with Sling Style Seat


    Bed Rails for Stand Assist 













  • Towards the end of the meeting we talked about something that would help people get out of a car seat. It's an item I never heard of and I'm glad I learned about it. It probably wouldn't have helped me because my hands we're never strong enough and still our end to operate it but this looks like a good idea. It's something you can attach to the side of your car door to create a grab bar

  • We talked about stuff to help people out in the bathroom. I've been using this,Ways to watch all sorts of parts of your body when you have weak fingers. This works really well .  It was also mentioned that you can put a bar of soap it's at the foot end of a stocking tied in a knot and attach the other hand to the shower door. That way it's easy to handle and if you drop it you don't have to bend down to pick it up. I'm going to try that.
  • There's also a lot of things to help you squeeze the toothpaste tube. None of them work for me and I just reverse the order of things. Instead of putting the toothpaste on the toothbrush and then putting it all in my mouth. I have my own toothpaste and I just suck a little into my mouth and then I put the toothbrush on to the toothpaste that's already in my mouth.
  • We also talked about ankle-foot Orthotics. Devices that help us from tripping over 
    my own toes. I'm currently wearing a pair of Spry Steps.  There are enormous lie better than nothing. But they are off-the-shelf items and I'm trying to negotiate with my insurance company to get more customized things to help me run faster. From a few people who use them I've heard some very good things about the Tururbomed Extern.  However for medical professionals I haven't heard good things. I'd like to see them in action but I'm afraid with the use I would put on them I would destroy my shoes. Unlike spry steps  they hold up your feet  by attaching a Contraption to the outside of your shoe,  by attaching themselves to the places closest to your toes.
  • We talked about assistance dogs. This is where I learned a lot. I honestly had no idea of the things they can do. I didn't know they can open doors or pick stuff up. And I had no idea that a dog can help you with your balance.Diane mention to this website https://assistancedogsinternational.org/ and www.can-do-canines.org

  • Lots of stuff helps us with our daily activities in the kitchen and the dining room.  Here's a picture of the stuff I was waving around during the zoom meeting. It includes a  weighted fork with a very fat handle. I remember when I came home from the hospital and try to use it. I was able to get my hand around it but I couldn't lift it. Instead we used that blue tube to make my regular silverware have a bigger handle. Also a spoon with a curved handle. When I was cleaning out my drawers I realized I should be using that now it would be easier. Head for some reason  one of my occupational therapists made me that knife/chopping device. It seems like a very big project for the occupational therapist. I also use this french fry cutter which cost only a few dollars.  And this ulu was mentioned as in the meeting

Friday, January 1, 2021

Arbitrary Lines

I don't race to beat other people. I race with other people. I enjoy the sport and I enjoy the community. Running keeps me fit and I keep fit that so I could run. Homo sapiens are animals that live in herds, Running together. Running to escape predators and running together to hunt. I run better and faster when I'm with other people because I can be part of a herd. I finished my first marathon in 1993 in 4 hours and 11 minutes. To this day I tell people that the first marathons the easiest because your only goal is to really finish and you don't know remember how much it hurts. After I finished,I read somewhere that for hours divides the survivors from the runners. 

So.....

On March 26th 2000, I finished a marathon on a flat as a pancake course that was 26 loops around some soccer fields on Randall's Island in 3 hours and 58 minutes. The internet was still a baby and I wrote this

ringrunner

Mar 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM
to
In 1979 I ran my first NYC Marathon, I was a 17 year old high school
senior (now you have to be 18 to run the race) and collapsed on the
59Th St. Bridge. My entire training philosophy consisted of one simple
statement: If I can walk away from a 13 mile training run, I can run a
marathon and drop dead at the end. I did not know you were supposed to
take liquids or any thing about pacing. I stopped running.
In November of 1991 I was driving to my fiancées apt in Park Slope and
got stuck in a huge traffic jam. I could not cross 4Th Ave. I was
crazed, not because I could not get to where I wanted to go, but
because, suddenly I realized there was something I needed to finish -
The New York City Marathon. I decided that I would get back in shape
and DO IT. After I moved in with my wife, I joined the Prospect Park
Track Club, and started running.
The first race I entered was the Sheraton Bagel 10K, in January of
1993. When I got home, I got a phone call from a person I had not yet
met - The Vice President of The Prospect Park Track Club,(now I am Vice
President). This blew my mind, this guys not even related to me and he
cares HOW I DID?! I knew then that I had found a niche for myself in
the running community of Prospect Park.
In November of 1993, I got on the bus in front of Raintrees and tried
it again. This time I DID IT. I finished the NYC Marathon. Once I
got to Central Park I ran on will power alone. I decided that as long
as I was conscience I would run. I crossed the finish line if front of
Tavern on the Green and collapsed. I was in heaven. My father said
that all possible emotions were visible in my face on the finish line
photo. (He should know; he was the one who picked me up at the medical
station at the foot of the 59Th St. Bridge.)
Then I read something that really pissed me off. It said that 4 hours
divides the marathon runners from the marathon survivors. And here is
me with the greatest athletic accomplishment of my live, a 4:48
Marathon. I was livid. How could any body say that I did not just do
the greatest thing that could be done? I finished a marathon.
Well, I turned that rage into a goal. (A goal so great, that I was once
referred to as Mike “sub 4 or else” Ring) I will break 4. In the
next 7 years I ran 12 marathons, I finished 7 of them, as for the other
5, they landed me in the medical tent or an ambulance. I went to speed
workouts. I ran so many long runs, that it became silly. I read
books. I learned how my body works. That all helped me a little.
So today I reported the following race result to the Prospect Park
Track Club. “On Sunday morning, March 26, 2000, Michael "sub 4 or else”
Ring achieved his goal of 8 years, a personal best, in finishing 4th in
his age group (under 50) and completed the Sri Chinmoy Marathon on
Randals Island in 3:58:04.” It can be noted that I never would have
done this without the support and encouragement of my wife, Stephanie
and the members Prospect Park Track Club.
As I type this The Academy Awards is on TV. I used to look at the
faces of the winners and say “Wow, wouldn’t that be neat”, now I can
say, “I know how they feel”.
Michael Ring

I've done a lot of running since 2000. I also got involved in organizing running races. It's pretty much boilerplate policy that race course is to stay open until the last runner who crossed the starting line passes at a 15 minute per mile pace. I'm not saying I approve of this but it is the way it is. Water stations get broken down, Finish Line clocks get put on the floor. People want to go home. People who are going slower than a 15 minute per mile pace are considered walking. Since recovering from Guillain-Barre syndrome I finished races in 20 or 22 minutes per mile and people told me I walked a good race. I hated hearing it but I couldn't argue with them. My achilles guides were walking.

A little over a year ago I saw a my hand surgeon for the last time. I had five little surgeries to improve the function in my hands. That was done. He asked me what was next and I told him now I want to start to run faster. He told me he knew the guy who can do that. Who would assemble the team to make that happen. I went to see one of the top sports doctors at New York University Hospital. He got me into ankle-foot Orthotics that keep me from tripping over my own toes and referred me to the Sports Performance Center at the Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation. I got to see a physical therapist who didn't treat me like I was frail. I told them that I finished the New York City marathon in 2017 and 9 hours and 45 minutes and that my goal was to bring that time down to 6 hours so I can qualify for Boston as a Mobility impaired athlete. They told me I should put more weight on the bars when I work out and challenged me to run faster. 

I also realized that getting rid of my excess weight was becoming an eminently important activity. I was gaining weight before I got GBS, but I had gotten huge as a result of my time in the hospital and then my extended time of inactivity. I couldn't run cuz I was too fat and I got fat because I wasn't running. So, I saw a weight loss specialist doctor. I was put on teeny doses of some medications but I think it was becoming self-aware of my eating habits actually help me lose over 60 pounds. I honestly didn't think that I couldn't eat 3 Bagels at a time. I'm putting this here because this morning I had my first bagel in about a year. It was really good. Worth the wait! In other words Bagels and pancakes and half a box of cereal every evening we're not worth the weight. I've been running and doing all my walking in these fancy ankle-foot Orthotics. I can put more effort into moving forward and not worry about tripping over my toes.

On November 1st I ran the virtual New York City marathon in 8 and 1/2 hours and I plan on shaving an hour of that time this spring. This morning I had an ambitious plan. I wanted to run around the 3.33 mile Loop of Prospect Park in 50 minutes or less. The fastest I ran a 5k was 53 minutes back in the early fall.

This morning race was supposed to be virtual. But not so much. A few of us clumped up and ran together. so, yeah, Conditions were pretty good, I was in a small herd, the weather was perfect and I wasn't really under any pressure. Strava says I ran 3.39 miles in 48 minutes and 40 seconds. That's a 14:19 minute per mile pace. But I don't trust Strava. Look at how it mangled my run yesterday. and THIS My Timex said I ran 48:53 and I know it's 3.33 miles. So that's still sub 15 minutes mile.
Photo description:  my stopwatch showing a time of 48:53
Photo description: 
my stopwatch showing a time of 48:53

So a few things you should know......
  • I am completely prepared to prepare for a goal that is for now beyond the horizon
  • If this race wasn't virtual no one would have been thinking of taking that finish line down before I got there.
  • If you refer to me as a walker I am now going to correct you
  • I am crying now.
 

Thursday, December 31, 2020

.1%!


Over 0.1% of the United States population died of Covid. 

I found this random picture of a crowded subway car taken in 2018. It's probably about a hundred people. There are 10 cars in every subway train. So about a thousand people for train. So, statistically one of them has died this year of covid-19.

Luckily (and I only attribute this to luck)  I did not lose anyone close to me. But I know plenty of people that have gotten sick and a few people that have gotten very very sick. I've completely lost track of how many people I know that have lost their parents or aunts and uncles. And I've also lost track of how many people I would consider acquaintances that have died.
Image description: a crowded  pre-covid subway car

By any measure things are still getting worse. More people are getting infected, hospitalized and dying everyday. And in the United States we're doing worse at controlling that then in the rest of the industrialized world.  "The land of the free"  is not the place to fight a pandemic. With everyone looking out for themselves it's hard to fight a Public Health crisis.

So if you decide to go with personal choice in the debate about masks and vaccines, shut up!  It's not about you, it's about a public healrh crisis, a pandemic. And to all those people who say I'm going to listen to my doctor and he said no;  find out why they said no. Because it's very easy to say no. No is safe. A doctor is always safe when they tell you to make up your own mind and do what you think you should do. In the extremely unlikely event that you incur an injury from the vaccine my doctor won't get sued if they told you either not to do it or to make up your own mind. But if you don't get the vaccine and get and give it to your elderly relatives and they die you cannot sue your doctor.

During World War II people who said that they would do their own thing what considered cowards or draft Dodgers or war profiteers. World War II was a few years long.  We've already lost more Americans than we did in World War II because people are doing their own thing. Be a patriot; wear a mask, stay socially distant (that means you might not go to that party) and unless there's real science that says you should not get vaccinated – get vaccinated.


Friday, November 27, 2020

Fuck YOU, Donald Trump Fuck YOU

Just after Trump sent people to murder police officers and to their own deaths his son posted this video

 





So here's the full audio of Trump's conversation with the secretary of state of Georgia. I can't dispute the legality of it because I'm not a lawyer but I am a human being so I can dispute the humanity. Or just simply how can anyone not see that Trump is batshit crazy. Just confusing himself with the nation and not caring about right and wrong only himself.  I challenge anybody to tell me that what he's doing is good or right




The only thing Trump is accomplishing is making his followers distrust our democracy. Everybody but them knows that he never wanted to be president but now we has to stay president in order to stay on top of his game. He might not be prosecuted as a private citizen but a lot of the information is going to come out. 

At this point all he's doing is making democracy look bad. This is what our enemies want

 

There are many reasons is bad that Donald Trump retweeted this. Never mind that it's a photoshopped fake ad. Nevermind that is reproducing the hateful stereotype that Biden is frail. What really pisses me off is that it reproduces The Stereotype that using a wheelchair is a sign of weakness. I use one of those for about a year and I hated it but it was a tool. I wasn't confined to a wheelchair. It was not a prison. It allowed me to escape my prison of indoor confinement. It allowed me to go out and do stuff.. So double FUCK YOU to Donald Trump. That shit and his supporters have done so much to destroy the lives of the disabled. People are disabled. It's not the end of the world. Who knows what illness is Trump has. The fact that he hides them makes other disabled people look bad



A long long time ago there was a giant apartment complex called The Trump buildings. They were kind of on the edge between Brighton Beach and Coney Island. I knew I had full people that live there. They weren't the goldplated buildings of Donald Trump. They were the affordable housing created by his father, Fred. According to my sources, Fred used to show up at the staff holiday parties and shake everyone's hand and give everyone an envelope. When it was time for the senior Trump to step down, the staff in these buildings (who could afford it) quit. They walked away saying, "I ain't working for that putz."

If you don't believe me you might not believe the New York Times either.







To all the people who believe in Donald Trump, here's the real question: If he were to take out his schlong and takes a wiz all over the stage at the next debate, will you still have a reason to support him?


I am really sick of people who defend the right to be an ass hole, by saying they don't want to be politically correct. There is nothing wrong with being politically correct if it means not hurting other people's feelings. I am one of the first people to acknowledge that I am not politically correct, but at the same time I acknowledge that I might be an ass hole, but I'm not running for President.

Let me try to get this out of my mouth. I don't have a problem with people being ass holes, I have a problem with people thinking that an ass hole should be President. I'm not really worried about Donald Trump becoming president. I really think that when people go to the polls and actually vote they will pull the knob for someone else. I am bothered that there is a large chunk of people who continue to support a man who lies just to stir up the hate. He didn't see any Muslims celebrating in the streets of Jersey City on September 11, 2001. It didn't happen. If it did we'd all be looking at the videos. The New York City area was in chaos, no one knew at that time that this was an attack by religious fanatics. Let alone what religion they were. I don't really care that Donald Trump wants to keep repeating this, what bothers me is that people are starting to believe it.
GIF
It's clearly a pattern with Donald Trump that if your reporter and don't make him look good he personally attacks you Then he denies you and your media outlet his interviews. Since people are only watching the news to see what kind of stupid thing he's gonna do, the networks are afraid to offend him.  Which means they're afraid to call him out on his lies. He didn't like the what Megyn Kelly asked him questions, so he said some pretty nasty things about her. It blew my mind how her bosses let this go.

And now Donald Trump is making fun of another reporter that would backup his story.

Thanks Gothamist
This really bothers me a lot. You see, the guy on the right has arthrogryposis, which visibly limits flexibility in his arms. I have acute motor axonal neuropathy. And while I've been bragging about how I've been walking further and doing better in the gym, the damage to the nerves in my hands is much more serious. My hands and wrists are showing severe signs of atrophy, like Serge Kovaleski. If the axonal damage in my hands doesn't reverse soon I will look a lot like more like Serge.

When you choose a president, choose a role model. Choose a person that you want to be your leader.
It saddens me that people are choosing a leader as nasty as Donald Trump.

Yeah, look to the right. Who is your role model? Do you want to live in a country that is led by a man who mocks the disabled? Who encourages people who disagree with them to be roughed up?

Misee Harris
They say people choose leaders who emulate what they think is best in themselves.Is this who you want to be? A thug? Who at his best makes fun of people and at his worst has been beat up.

I'm sorry. I usually enjoy having political conversations with people I don't agree with. Often, I find the people who are most passionate about politics even if they disagree with me have Something interesting to say. Because while we disagree on how we want the country to get better, we both agree we want the country to get better.

But not now, these are political conversations.  The people who support Trump don't support him because they want the country to get better. They just want someone to represent them in the White House. They want someone to represent their inner thug, their inner asshole.



What I'm trying to say is that Donald Trump's popularity really frightens me. It's one thing for a politician to lie so that they get a little extra money were to cover up a mistake they might've made. But Donald Trump is making up stuff to change the agenda of the American public. He saying stuff about Mexicans and Muslims that just isn't true but people start repeating it like it's true.

People, it's not okay to mock the disabled.

People aren't crossing the borders to figure out how to rape your daughters.

Refugees are going through a more strenuous vetting process than your wives.

One faith is no worse than any other religious people when it comes to doing stupid stuff.

People, if you want to know what happens when a potential leader makes stuff up about other people in order to generate hate, look to Germany in 1928.


This is not me

This is not me
Not me.

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