Saturday, December 31, 2005

I Have a Cold. Pity Me.

Folks, if any of you don’t want your hearts broken, I implore you not to read the following. I don’t want to be the cause of anyone’s anguish. My story ranks right up there with the poor little flower girl standing in the rain, hoping to raise enough money to feed her destitute family. Especially for her crippled little brother, Billy, who hasn’t had a nourishing meal for a week or more. How will little Billy live? Or how about the ending of The Champ, when you saw Ricky Schroeder crying over the body of his prizefighter dad. That was pretty sad, right? Well, this is way sadder than that, my friends.

See, my bosses graciously gave everyone this week off. (That’s not the sad part.) Damned nice of them, I say. I had a few plans. Tops on my list was to enjoy myself this holiday season. But what happened? I came down with a cold! Yes, a cold! On my vacation!

I begged you not to read this. Now you know.

This is one of those colds that keeps getting worse and worse. This morning, I feel crappier than yesterday, which rated pretty high on the Crap-O-Meter. My main activity yesterday was a short walk to the bank and then to the local greasy spoon where I bought myself some breakfast. Here’s another thing: my appetite sure ain’t what it was. Although I’m skinny, I can really pack a meal away, and yesterday there was some doubt as to whether or not I could finish my mushroom and cheese omelet with home fries and toast. Listen, I have been described as a remorseless eating machine, and there I was picking at my food! My God, this can’t be happening to me!

Then all I did for the rest of the day was watch DVDs. I watched Run Lola Run, The Bourne Identity (staying in Franka Potente mode — how I love the way she says “scheisse”!), a bunch of Simpsons episodes, and The 40 Year Old Virgin. I just stayed in my armchair and vegged the whole day. This is not me! I swear to God it’s not.

Right now the cold has settled in my chest. My voice is a wreck of what it once was. I have no lung capacity at all. I need to keep a box of Kleenex with me at all times. I’ve been sucking on throat lozenges like they’ve been going out of style. And it’s hard to stop coughing once I start. If I were a horse, I should have been shot by now.

********

In my last post, I mentioned seeing the doctor about my knee. It turns out I have patellar something something something — it’s “patellar” with three words after it. Last September, while I was toiling madly away for Ms. Smith, I thought it might be a good idea to run every morning to help control my anxiety. I sort of meditate while I run, and I reasoned the preemptive stress burn-off resulting from the exercise, combined with a little positive visualization, might be just the thing. So every morning I got up extra early and ran my modest three-mile route, counting my footsteps mentally by repeating, “one-two, one-two, one-two…” while I pictured Ms. Smith giving me a little pat on the head and exclaiming, “Very nice layout, Mr. Schprock! Hold still while I put this sticker on your forehead!” And, you know, to some extent, it seemed to work! (Except I never got that sticker put on my forehead.)

However, on the seventh straight morning, my knee started to not feel so good. The part of me that sounds like Winnie the Pooh warned I should take a day or two off, but it was quickly overruled by the part of me that sounds like Clint Eastwood. Which voice do you think should get obeyed? The one that calls you “Christopher Robin” or the one that calls you “punk”? So I kept right on running. No pain, no gain, right?

On the tenth day, my right knee was swollen and sore. At that point, Winnie the Pooh suggested one of us was of Very Little Brain, while Clint Eastwood remarked, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” I tried using a knee brace a couple of times, but that didn’t work. So I shut the running down and it’s been shut down ever since..

The funny thing about this knee injury is, while it still hurts to run across the street or walk down stairs, I feel absolutely no pain pedaling a bicycle. Why that is, I can’t tell you. If I sit any length of time with my leg bent, my knee gets very stiff and sore when I finally stand up to walk. But I can ride a bike for 60 miles with no ill effects.

So, for the past couple of months, I’ve gotten into the habit of heading down to the basement to pedal my old, semi-retired bicycle for exactly 30 minutes. Of course, I don’t ride it in circles around my basement — that would be silly. Besides, I keep knocking into the dryer and water heater when I do that. Instead, I have it hooked up to a trainer, a device that attaches to the rear wheel of a bicycle, which keeps the bike upright and applies resistance to the back wheel while you pedal.

Here’s what I do: I wake up in the morning, do the bathroom thing, and pull on the bike shorts that make me feel half naked; in other words, the ones I don’t allow myself to be seen in public in. My wife bought them for me a few years ago, but I much prefer the type of bike shorts that look more like regular shorts. I guess I’ve gotten modest in my old age. So, anyway, I pull on the skin tight shorts, tie a rolled-up bandana around my head for a sweatband, grab my water bottle and Walkman and head down to the basement.

Once I warm up, I pedal hard for one minute, then ease off the next, and alternate until 30 minutes are up. It never feels particularly strenuous, but after ten minutes I discover I’m breathing pretty hard and am starting to seriously sweat. I listen to audio books and plays while I do this. When I began, I listened to a production of Othello (Iago, by the way, must be the worst villain in all of literature). Then I followed that with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, several Sherlock Holmes stories and, lately, Agatha Cristie Miss Marple stories. You know, it’s not a bad way to start the day, listening to stories. I can think of worse.

If you’re interested, here’s the rest of the Daily Schprock Work-Out: after I’m done, I change, pack all my gear up for the day, and ride my newer bike to work. I always get in before everyone else. I do a set of sit-ups, assume the yoga tree posture for exactly 10 breaths, and then do a set of push-ups. And that’s it! That’s how I keep from looking like a broken down old man.

Well, that’s all for today. Here’s wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year!

24 Comments:

Blogger Claire said...

Sounds like the Schprock-out is working, or you wouldn't be able to bike to work to start with! And I agree on Iago...not a favorite at all.

Hope you're feeling better! If not, I have a few good movie/book recommendations... Happy New Year!

10:06 PM  
Blogger boo said...

sorry about your lousy cold & your broken knee. feel better soon. may 2006 bring u good health, laughter, love & hugs. happy noo year mr. schprock.

10:48 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Boo and Claire! If you want to, Claire, give me those DVD recommendations. I'm still a hopeless, helpless invalid.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Claire said...

Just a handful:

"March of the Penguins"

"Serenity"

"Firefly" (the series that serenity is based upon - 14 episodes of the best science fiction show I've ever seen...and I'm no sci-fi person. Combines sci-fi and westerns)

"Batman Begins" - actually makes the comic book legend a tad plausible

"Mad Hot Ballroom" - adorable documentary! Absolutely awesome, and maybe Mrs. S would curl up with ya and watch this one too

Any other recommendations I have would take too much concentration for someone who's sick. After all, who wants to watch "The Corporation" with a cold?


And it's no DVD, but if you have some powers of concentration, I recommend everyone read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. MUCH better than DaVinci Code!

9:43 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

We actually have March of the Penguins and love it. There's real fatherhood for you, right? And I saw Batman Begins in the theatre twice so, yep, you're right as rain on that one too. I really want to see Serenity, so I'll definitely give that a try. The Dan Brown book sounds like a good suggestion too. I listened to The DaVinci Code and found it very entertaining.

Thanks, Claire!

10:46 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

I feel fat just reading this post. You put me to shame. If I don't start doing something soon, I'll be a broken down old man. It's amazing to me that you have ten years on me and you work out so hard.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

If you like Serenity, Do go back and rent the TV series. I enjoyed that even more because it gives more time to develop the characters.

And Dan Brown's books are amazing, but I think Angels and Demons gets short shrift too often.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Farrago said...

Michael Crichton's, Jurassic Park. The movie was a Spielberg entity unto itself. I really found the book quite entertaining.

I sat here and disagreed with Claire, and then thought about it. I hate to say it, but she's right about The DaVinci Code. It's actually just the same story as Angels and Demons, just a couple of different characters and different settings. He gets a call in the middle of the night, finds himself in the middle of a mysterious plot, then there's nazis and ninja nuns and prostitutes and disappearing elephants and Nazi prostitute ninja nuns (I know, Claire. I didn't want to give it away!)

But Angels and Demons hurt me with a huge, glaring error. Being a TV guy made me all the more aware of it. They run down deep underground into the catacombs, a BBC TV crew on their tail. No mention of cable being uncoiled after them. How is the image carried so clearly on the big jumbotron screens around the square? HAH? Really damaged the story for me.

Oops! Sorry Schprock! Read on....

6:40 PM  
Blogger Chloe said...

I hope that by the time you read this, your cold is long gone.

BTW, Run Lola Run is one of my favorite films.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

Hey Farrago -

Trust me - you're not the only one who felt betrayed by such a simple yet glaring error in Brown's storytelling. However, by the time I got that far into the book, I felt like a scorned lover - I had invested so much time and effort I was willing to forgive all but the most absolutely MOST egregious offenses (i.e. an absurd deus ex machina to resolve the plot)

It's a faith that to me paid off, as the twist at the end is so brilliant I wonder why no one thought of it before now (at least of whom I'm aware)

Have we piqued your curiosity yet, Schprock?

5:18 AM  
Blogger boo said...

cold any better?

5:35 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"It's amazing to me that you have ten years on me and you work out so hard."

Scott, at my age if I don't work out, my body will turn into 100% Crisco in about 2 weeks.


Claire, my local video rental place was out of Serenity and Mad Hot Ballroom! I'm just telling you this so you know I'm trying to follow your advice. I will see those movies.


"BTW, Run Lola Run is one of my favorite films."

Once again, I must remark your taste is unimpeachable.


"…then there's nazis and ninja nuns and prostitutes and disappearing elephants and Nazi prostitute ninja nuns…"

I am so gonna read this book now.

"cold any better?"

Thanks for asking, Boo. A little bit, I think.

6:14 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

Sorry to hear you're down for the count. What a rotten way to spend vacation. Of course, exercise doesn't sound like much of a picnic for me either. :)

9:30 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

That which does not kill me makes me . . . not dead.

Wait a minute, that's not right…

9:42 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Wait, wait, wait. You didn't see Serenity in the theaters? What is this feeling I am experiencing. Is it betrayal?? I think it is!
*tsk* For shame.
Hope your cold is better though.
I agree with Claire that you should see the TV show too. You know what might be fun? Watch the movie first. Enjoy the universe as it is in the movie, then go back and watch the show, and then rewatch the movie.
Or not.
Up to you.

Run Lola Run was good.

1:47 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Nypinta, you made me want to see Serenity — and I will see it, I will! I remember you mentionng how the opening sequence of the Revenge of the Sith left you flat, but the chase scene in Serenity had you gripping your seat.

I do regret not seeing it in the theatre when I had the chance.

1:55 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Oh... ok. Guess I forgive you. :P

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Dreadmouse said...

I truly feel your pain. I've got a sinus cold and I feel like hammered crap. As you know, though, my wife is 35 weeks pregnant. Guess how much sympathy I get? Yep, that's right, exactly as much as I deserve. "I can't breathe" is bad, but "The baby is kicking my ribs from the INSIDE and dancing on my bladder" trumps it.

Which is my very roundabout way of (a) pointlessly complaining and (b) expressing some twisted form of support and hoping that you feel better now? Because viruses suck.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Spirit Of Owl said...

I'm suitably impressed with your exercise regime. I mean, if life was fair, then when I get a cold I should run around with loads of energy and do loads of exercise, instead of carrying on with the vegetating on the couch kind of lifestyle that I always, ahaha, "run."

Ah well, hope you get well soon. And may the rest of 2006 see you fine and fettling (as we say in these parts) and only sitting around watching movies when you actually want to. :)

1:41 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Oops, you got the cold I thought I was getting for the holiday week. For the record, Alka-Seltzer Cold & Cough (Nighttime) kicks serious butt!

I agree with you completely about Iago. Have you seen the two movie versions? Both are worth watching, IMHO. Kenneth Branagh's Iago was so so so evil.

And I find that my old exercise bicycle (which I gave away) bothered my knee more than the treadmill or elliptical.

4:58 AM  
Blogger Flash said...

I think a cold is your bodys way of say "HEY! Calm down! Your working too hard. Sit, watch a whole bunch of movies, eat some soup and sleep all day!"

So I say when the body calls, answer it.

As for your knee, I actually know the reason behind it hurting when walking against it not hurting when riding. I used to be an "excersice consultant and Sales Specialist" back in the day.

Basically walking, running, anything that us humans do standing upright is considered an "high-impact" excercise. you knees take over 80% of your body weight, and the impact from every step creates little vibrations in the knee. Biking on the other hand not only takes the body weight off the knee, it also does not create impact vibrations. So unless you have no more natural lubriciation in the knee or have had the ball replaced, you knee will never hurt while biking.

I wish you good health, but enjoy your cold. You may feel lously, but don't you love how everyone waits on you while your sick? Enjoy it while it lasts. And have a great upcoming year.

Flash

2:56 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Which is my very roundabout way of (a) pointlessly complaining and (b) expressing some twisted form of support and hoping that you feel better now? Because viruses suck."

Viruses do suck. I've now had this cold for a week and three days and it's still laying me low. I managed to ride my bike into work today, though. I hope you pull through OK, so you can have the strength to be a supportive hubby to the expectant mom!


"Ah well, hope you get well soon. And may the rest of 2006 see you fine and fettling (as we say in these parts) and only sitting around watching movies when you actually want to. :)"

I'm going to remember "fettling." You do realize, Spirit, that all Americans wish they spoke like the English, don't you?


"I agree with you completely about Iago. Have you seen the two movie versions? Both are worth watching, IMHO. Kenneth Branagh's Iago was so so so evil."

I'll look it up. Iago makes Darth Vader look like Little Bo Peep.


"I wish you good health, but enjoy your cold. You may feel lously, but don't you love how everyone waits on you while your sick? Enjoy it while it lasts. And have a great upcoming year."

Ha ha! I wish everyone was waiting on me!

5:43 AM  
Blogger John said...

Sweet tap-dancing Jesus, you get a lot of comments.

Anyway, I hope you get over this cold soon. Your cough his hurting my ears.

6:38 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Anyway, I hope you get over this cold soon. Your cough his hurting my ears."

Yeah? That's what your headphones are for.

(Hey, everybody — when John works at his computer wearing his headphones, he looks like a ham radio operator! Maybe I'll take a picture sometime. Heh heh.)

1:56 PM  

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