Apparently I don’t have a doctor

I dropped my parent’s hot tub cover on my toe on Saturday. It hurt a lot at the time. My toenail turned purple.

When I was a kid, my dad’s toenail would do something to his toe (he used to jog a lot) and his toenail would turn black and fall off. This was kinda gross, but it would grow back and he seemed generally resigned to it. So I sort of resigned myself to the same fate. Ew. It takes a year or so to grow back.

It doesn’t really hurt anymore. It just feels weird. And it’s annoying wearing shoes.

But then I decided to go online and see what I could find out. Along with a thorough squicking, I found out that I could drain the pressure and maybe save the nail. I could even do it at home! But a little voice inside my head told me that an infected toenail was even would be even worse than what I had. But hey! I have a doctor! I phoned them up this morning to make an appointment.

First I get a busy signal. Then they hung up on me after I make it through the pre-recorded message (I’m pretty sure that was an accident…). Then I phone back, sit through the message again and wait on hold for a while and eventually get a friendly receptionist.

I make my appointment and give her my name. “Do you sometimes go by another name?” she asks. Uh oh. I give her my OHIP number. Nope, not there either. Yes, I’d seen him before. Oh.

Somehow, I no longer have a doctor. Fortunately, they’re still taking new patients! I just have to show up for an interview next week. For my toenail, though, I get to go to the ER (ugh, no) or a walk-in clinic.

I don’t know if I should go back to these jokers. I didn’t like the main doctor guy much the one and only time I’d gone to see them. I never get the impression they want to have much to do with me, besides collect money from OHIP. On the other hand, I doubt there are any other doctors accepting patients around here who are really any better.


The Gym: Conclusion

I am honestly trying to find some way towards a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Whatever that means. I want to be reasonably healthy when I get old and the last few years it’s dawned on me that I really ought to get started now if I want to have any hope in the future. I’m not obsessive about it. I don’t want to be buff and bronzed. I don’t care that much. I just don’t want to have diabetes and multiple heart attacks by the time I’m 45. Not an insurmountable goal, I don’t think.

I had a membership to [the gym]( for a year before I actually [started using it]( I canceled it this week.

I actually *was* using it for a good few months there. Three times a week for a good number of weeks. The key fob thing worked out pretty well. It works like this: they program in a workout routine; I should up and go through the paces. I don’t have to think about anything. I can just listen to audio books and do what the machines tell me.

I liked this idea. If I have to think about what I’m going to do next in the course of a workout, I’m liable to opt for packing up and going home.

There were a couple problems, though. Continue reading The Gym: Conclusion

Caffeine (The Gym Part 3)

So [the first time I go to the gym]( and do much of anything, I nearly pass out. This is not a good sign.

And this is annoying, since one of the reasons I wanted to start going to the gym was because I figured this near-fainting thing was just due to me being incredibly out of shape. But by this point, I’m thinking there must be more to it than that.

I could rule out a couple theories about feeling faint after exercise: things like dehydration (symptoms were wrong and I’d drank lots), low blood sugar (I’d eaten more than enough), heat exhaustion (it’s not that hot), etc. None of them really matched up.

I’d been poking around and doing research about this for a few months now, since it’s been happening more often lately. The one thing that stood out is I’m always fine when I’m sitting; it’s when I’ve been doing work with my legs and then standing up, that’s when I feel it.

The symptoms are all basically the same as fainting, and you faint when you’re not getting enough blood to the brain. It’s the body’s way to get you to lay down so it can get oxygen to your brain so you don’t die. Very handy.

I figure the muscles, unused to exertion as they are, are taking more than their fair share of oxygen. So the answer is get the muscles more used to exertion.

Even so, there are lots of people who are way more out of shape than I am, and they don’t nearly pass out after a little bit of bike riding.

I went in for a follow-up orientation to finish going through my routine with a different guy. I explain to him the situation, and he is almost ready to turn me away and make me get a doctor’s note before we can proceed. What I’m describing may, after all, be a sign of low blood pressure. He takes my blood pressure, and it’s pretty much okay.

I’d realized something since the first gym trip and decided to bring it up. My caffeine intake was kinda high. Like 5+ cans of Coke (Zero) a day high. We get free pop at work, you see, and since the start of the whole diet thing, I’d been drinking an awful lot of diet pop. And I know diet drinks are bad, and I don’t really like them. As [Marion Nestle points out](, they’re introduction hasn’t seemed to have a positive impact on obesity at all. But they’re “free”, both in terms of money and effort and calories, which made them too tempting to avoid.

I think I’m going to avoid them now.

When I mentioned the diet Coke thing, he backed off from the doctor’s note idea and explained how caffeine can dilate the blood vessels and how artificial sweeteners are amino acids which require more water to flush out of the system.

I am planning on bringing this stuff up with my doctor, but laying off the pop this week, I’ve been to the gym twice so far with no ill effects. Wednesday I actually pushed it kinda hard, and came out okay. So I’m hoping I’ve got this thing figured out.

I’m planning on going to the gym three times a week. This month is going to be a bit iffy with the number of trips home and back, but I think I can get into a routine which will help me out with stage 3 of the diet…

Feeling Faint (The Gym Continued)

Back during one of my co-op terms in Belleville, I got it into my head that I wanted to bike out to my grandparents’ place on Purdy St–way the hell the other side of town. Now Belleville’s not an incredibly big town, but that’s still a substantial bike ride. You’re going downtown towards the river, crossing the footbridge and riding up the other side. It was summer and it was hot. While that still might not be an incredible achievement, I hadn’t biked much in years. Even though I biked a lot in highschool, getting my bike to Waterloo and back every term wasn’t something I wanted to do.

I was actually feeling pretty good by the time I got there. A little winded and tired, maybe, but I’d made it. And then I got off the bike.

Still okay. I thought. Legs were just a little wobbly. Ooh, I’m just a little bit light-headed. I rang the doorbell to my grandparents’. It was becoming increasingly clear that I wasn’t doing so well. I was sweating like crazy and my face was flushed. My grandma seemed concerned but I couldn’t entirely make out what she was saying. I let them lead me to a chair in the living room and they got me a drink. My ears were ringing and I was feeling nauseous. The whole world looked whiter. All I could do was sit back and breath, maybe taking a sip of water now and then.

It took a few minutes, but things slowly returned to normal. I had a nice visit, but I can’t remember how I got home. I think I left my bike and got my grandpa to drive me back.

I’ve had this happen a few times in the last few years. Like on my [biking adventure]( several years ago, or once on the first bike ride of the season. This year, though, it’s happened an alarming number of times. Like when I’m doing some light riding on my stationary bike, or just biking to work. This is stuff I have no business not being able to do.

So at the gym last Wednesday, the trainer dude first decided that before I could get my little keyfob thing (which I *had* in fact been paying for the last 11 months), I should do a strength assessment. This involved going to several different weight machines and just seeing how much I could do. Legs, quite a bit… everything else, not so much.

After that, he had me run though a typical workout. Keep in mind I’ve never done this before. Last time I lifted weights was grade 9 gym class.

By the second or third machine, I was feeling a little shaky. He jokes “you’re not going to faint on me, are you.”

I go “Uh, not yet.”

After standing up from the next machine, I nearly do.

At least he was nice and brought me water and juice.

*([to be continued](*

(Yes, I think I have this figured out. But this is a long post already and I don’t want to keep writing. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!)

The gym

I haven’t been having much luck convincing myself to get to the gym.

I’ve gone a few times, but I’ve never managed to work it into a routine, or get over the feeling of anxiety and dread every time I think about going in there. So it hasn’t worked out so well.

I’ve been thinking that I should sign up for a personal trainer, on the theory that if I have an appointment to make, I’m more likely to make it, and also if someone actually gives me some idea what the hell I’m supposed to do in a gym, I might have an easier time seeing myself going.

I’ve been procrastinating on that for an awfully long time, though. A significant part of me envisions dealing with a personal trainer to be incredibly awkward and unfun.

Much cheaper and less awkward than a personal trainer is [this little key fob thing]( that they have. Computers. That’s more my speed. I signed up for an orientation session for the things. Maybe that will give me some idea about what to do next.

I was supposed to go tonight, but they had some meeting or something so I moved it out to Wednesday. Which is fine. I had better things to do anyway.