My Current State of Affairs: Two Bodily Issues Messing With My Music

I’m not going to lie. This post is not going to serve as a hilarious yet-informative musing of any specific musical process. If you’re looking for that, feel free to check out literally any of my other posts. Today, I’m just going to rant about a few relatively minor bodily grievances I have and how they are affecting my musical goings-on. This probably won’t make it to any music pedagogue’s List of Ingenious Music Techniques, but it’s all relative, I suppose…

Bodily Break-Down Number 1: My Ovum Intolerance.
I’ve briefly alluded to this in some previous posts, and will spare you the gory details. Essentially, I can’t eat eggs anymore. One week I was good, the next, I was confined to my bed for entire days with debilitating nausea, among other things. I said I’d spare the gory details, so I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. This had to happen to me three times before I figured out the problem. The first time, I thought it was undercooked pork. Who can say no to BBQ ribs on the Fourth of July? The second time, I had two eggs and toast for lunch and either thought I was pregnant or figured I had eaten something old. I scrutinized the egg package, and they weren’t ridiculously past the sell-by date; I’ve eaten far more questionable things (not proud of that) without issue. By the third time, I had kept a food diary and I had my suspicions, so I ordered what I thought was egg substitute at a diner. It most definitely was not. What I ordered were, in fact, egg beaters, which are made from eggs. How nice – anyone else care for some self-induced poison? Beuller? I contemplated going to the hospital before really connecting the dots and confirming the common thread.

You guys, I feel like I’ve lost a good friend, and it’s a shame, as eggs have been my go-to protein source for 28 years, my quick-fix meal on busy rehearsal evenings, my companion on lonely nights…They’re the cheapest thing I eat and I can’t have them anymore without paying for them in more ways than one. That’s what I get for being cheap, I guess. After some online research (a scientifically valid method, dontcha know), I’ve determined that some probiotic reconstruction couldn’t hurt. Activiaaaaa.

How it’s affected my musical life: It just figured that during my second bout of egg-induced-demon-illness, I had happened to schedule about five hours worth of music lessons, or about eight in a row, a third of which were already supposed to be makeups from an early summer bout with my second bodily breakdown (I’ll get to that in a minute). I got through the first hour by dashing out of the room every 10-12 minutes. Then I had to send my next student away, which I never do. Hurried phone-calls and text messages ensued. I awaited replies whilst doubled over in pain on the bathroom floor. I ended up being able to re-re-schedule a few lessons before giving up and just crediting everyone else’s August invoices. It’s instances like these that make me Thank Whatever Diving Being for my self-employment. I lost a lot of money, but at least I didn’t have to teach with a bedpan strapped to my rear and force-feeding myself saltines and ginger ale (I did do this…on the couch…minus the bedpan strapping). And we all know how singers feel about diary products…Activita: for throat and colon-clearing!

Bodily Break-Down Number 2: My Granny Knees
So from January to April of this year, I exercised nonstop. I was in relative good shape, but wanted to kick things up a notch and work on my endurance so that I could do real push-ups (read: not on my knees) and start training for a triathlon: the ultimate crazy-person goal. Goals are good, right? Right. So I built up to 90 minutes of daily exercise and became quickly addicted to cardio. Sadly, I didn’t always use proper footwear, stretch after workouts, cross-train, or allow myself recovery days. Around Easter, I found out I basically ruined my knees. I limped around for a while in braces before confirming with a doctor that there was no immediate damage, just major inflammation from overuse. The tightness in my muscles had caused some patella tracking issues, which is to say my kneecap was basically slightly dislocated. I’m seeing a physical therapist and things are getting better; she says I’ll be running before the end of the year. But I had no idea this was going to suck this much! Twenty to thirty minutes of daily walking (at 2.7-3mph – Speedy Gonzalas!) is about all I can handle right now. Lame. My friends and family are uber-supportive, but if one more person suggests swimming as a cardio alternative, I’m going to gouge my eyes out. Already considered and attempted, I assure you, and not really satisfying in the least bit. In the meantime, I’m stuck doing seated workouts, trying to get my heart rate above 150 by flailing my arms around like a wackadoo. #Sexy person problems.

To add insult to injury (literally), I’ve been wearing this silly K-tape on my knees. It’s weird stuff. Like duct-tape on steroids. It’s supposed to help with the aforementioned tracking issues by pulling my patella into place. It seems to help significantly, but that all may be in my head. From what I can glean on the inter webs (again-internet self-diagnoses is truly accurate…), it seems kind of medically controversial, but if it means I can climb down stairs without holding on for dear life to the railing, I’ll take it. It’s kind of rough on the skin, so I’ve used it on and off for the better part of three months and given my epidermis a chance to regenerate in between each use. A few days ago, I kind of colored outside the lines by bypassing the protective cotton layer you’re supposed to put under the real tape. Some of it managed to stick directly on my skin for a day, resulting in this sexy allergic monstrosity: 

can you tell where the tape was? And that those strategic "aged" stress marks on my kitchen table are, in fact, fake?
can you tell where the tape was? And that those strategic “aged” stress marks on my kitchen table are, in fact, fake?

How is this affecting my musical life? All I can say about this is I am so grateful for the fact that I do not work a job that requires perpetual standing or excessive fetching of things. That said, my studio is on the lower level of my house. For a long time (and some days still), I had to strategically pack everything I needed for an afternoon of teaching to reduce my stair-climbing. My afternoon arsenal included a power bar, some dried fruit, an ice pack, about 8 liters of water, a heating pad, ibuprofen, my knee wraps, and gps device cell phone. Don’t mind me – not summiting Kilimanjaro, just teaching lessons. Good thing my studio has a bathroom, or else I probably would have had to self-install a catheter to catch all that. Maybe the dried fruit was a bad idea…

So I’ve been feeling a little off and distracted, regularly bouncing between minor victories and general discouragement, despite a recent insurgence of inspirational connections with people of my musical network. Things can always be worse, I know, but my 28-year-old body should not really be behaving like a sloth on marijuana. I guess I’ll have to rethink the kick-line choreography in those upcoming musicals. Unless I can perform at half-speed while donning matching knee-braces. So attractive. Guys will be lining up to date me after this, I’m sure, but I’m married, so they’ll just have to seduce some other vomity hobbler. Sorrynotsorry.

Until next time, mayonnaise. ::sigh::

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