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Learning Inkscape

Friday, May 13, 2011

I had a few extra moments last night and started learning how to render images in scalable vector graphics using the free program Inkscape.

Here's a pattern I threw together using the spirals and gradients.

I had to put it on a white background; transparency isn't rendered right on these blogs. Not sure if it's the browser or the .asp that SP uses, or what.

These graphics are the kind you commonly see on articles of clothing and other merchandise; they scale (hence the name) and therefore don't have resolution issues when made bigger or smaller.

Next time I design a bike jersey it's gonna be really slick.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRPLATSON 5/19/2011 10:32AM

    I would start with how you are converting the image to a .gif (if that is in fact what you are doing) because .gifs are low fidelity images, like mp3s they truncate data. Try converting to a .png which is much higher quality but still not guaranteed to give you the results you're looking for.
Quite often I find with complex gradients it's just easier to throw a background behind it and make it a .jpeg

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    hey a cool way to pass the time, hope the shoulder is healing well, best of luck with your next PT session

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GRACEFULIFE 5/14/2011 12:35PM

    Learning a vector graphics package is on my to-do list.

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KAYOTIC 5/14/2011 12:08PM

    You certainly are making the most of your recovery time! What fun!

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CARRIE1948 5/14/2011 7:46AM

    I'm going to ask Kate if she uses that

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    Hey! I recognize that name ... it's on one of my softball jerseys. Nifty.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Today BREWMASTERBILL posed a question to people who hate their scales:

I figure you might as well hate your blue jeans for getting tight rather than the scale for having a number that goes up.

The scale is just a tool. So is the nutrition tracker. So is my BIA device, despite its technical shortcomings. I don't resent these things, because I appreciate what they can do for me.

The scale can warn me of impending jean tightness before it happens.

The nutrition tracker can tell me when I'm done eating for the day when my broken built-in Eat Watch fails.

The BIA device can give me clues about my internal body composition, my relative amounts of fat versus other kinds of tissue.

Here's what I resent.

I resent a culture where people are encouraged to consider unhealthy food as something to which they are entitled. A culture where grocery stores are the best option for traveling food. A culture where restaurants are driven [by profit] to pack in as much fat, starch, salt, and sugar they can, because that's what people will buy. A culture where physical activity and exercise are considered chores, not fun. A culture that heaps ridicule and blame on people who give in to it and get heavy. A culture that sells people the fairytale that if they do manage to get back to goal weight they will live happily ever after. [A culture that sells the concept of an "ideal" aesthetic body size or shape or weight in the first place, rather than putting a premium on health and physical ability.]

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Great blog! I agree on so many levels.. particularly the "fairytale" that is promoted. Because, ya know, good stuff doesn't happen to heavy people (rolls eyes) emoticon

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TENACIOUSTIGER 5/12/2011 10:05AM

    some of us are still finding our way along this journey, and figuring out the best mix of diet nutrients and exercise regime.
It is interesting to read all the different opinions

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/11/2011 3:38PM

I don't see anything wrong with eating fat per se; if you can fit it into your daily allotment without crowding out the necessary protein, then why not?

But most people don't have that many discretionary calories available. So for myself I try to limit my fat intake to healthy ones (fish and plant oils) and put a cap on it so I don't end up gaining the weight back.

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BUNPOH 5/11/2011 3:35PM

    Just to throw another log onto the fire, is it wrong to believe in eating fat? Because I kinda do, at the moment. I'm a fan of Mark Sisson, and all that Primal entails.

I may change my mind.

But I also want to say Hallelujah! to your post. I'm feeling just that rebellious. It's now up to us to forge our own way of thinking, eating, and feeling good about ourselves.

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CARRIE1948 5/11/2011 11:27AM

    I resent the concept that there is an ideal weight. I'm finally coming to terms with the concept that my ideal weight will be the one that lets me still be active and eat like a rational person (or how I did when I was thin).

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KENDRACARROLL 5/11/2011 11:19AM

    This culture was created and is driven by capitalism. It's up to the individual to discern what's good and what's bad for them. In order to do this you'll need education, which teaches the individual how to do that. Education in the home only works if parents can convey the right kind of knowledge. School education has an agenda of its own, which is, in my opinion, hardly conducive to free thinking. Raising little sheep who buy into what's being fed to them by government, by media, is a lot less strenuous.

Okay, I stop here...

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/11/2011 11:05AM

"BIA" = Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis
See here:

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/11/2011 11:02AM

The thought has crossed my mind and I would hope they'd find a way to de-fat the larvae before feeding them to us...

The amount of soybeans may be staggering, but less so than if you're processing them through mammals first.

Yes, it makes your calculations "worse" if you only consider the "useable" part of the cow (the definition of which is debatable, if you've ever seen Jamie Oliver's meat sludge demonstration. LOL)

Comment edited on: 5/11/2011 11:04:18 AM

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NINJA_SMOO 5/11/2011 11:00AM

  Great blog! And I really enjoyed the dialogue in the comments too :)

Question: What is a BIA device?

No scale-hatin' here. That's shooting the messenger. It's not the scale that made you gain weight; it just told you what's up - what YOU have done to yourself.

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BREWMASTERBILL 5/11/2011 10:59AM

    Anxiously awaiting the series.

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MRPLATSON 5/11/2011 10:59AM

    just fyi, I accounted for 'meat only' in my calculation, by that I did not count the 1000lbs. of the cow towards the equation but only the roughly 500lbs. of usable 'meat'. But I did not bother to do the math on how much of those 500lbs. is also fat.

So does this make my math better or worse? Suddenly 3 Billion cows sounds inadequate. Regardless - whether you're counting cows, pigs, catfish or edamame the numbers are still staggering.

Would you feel better knowing that we'd need to raise 1.4 million tons of mealworms a day instead? mealworms contain fat too emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/11/2011 10:45AM

Eating mammals does not constitute a high protein diet. That is a high FAT diet. It is a common misconception, and another thing that makes my hair stand on end.

Just like people saying that legumes are a "good" source of protein when anyone who looks at what they are made of can see they have more starch in them than anything else.
(Some day I'm going to write a blog post on that topic. Grr. "meat" != protein. beans != protein.)

Anyway, I know you know that, but I felt the need to say it for the benefit of anyone else reading these comments. I suppose the lingering shoulder pain from PT yesterday is making me a bit more blunt and testy than usual. LOL

I would hope that people who even KNOW to eat 1g of protein per target lb of body weight already know to count their macronutrients and keep the fat (and starch) under control.

(she types grouchily, while finishing her midmorning Greek yogurt and whey snack: 285 cal, 15g CHO, 52g PRO, 1g FAT)

emoticon != protein.
emoticon = FAT.

emoticon = protein.

emoticon != protein.
emoticon = sugar (lactose)

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon = sugar.
emoticon = starch.

Comment edited on: 4/1/2014 5:22:33 PM

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MRPLATSON 5/11/2011 10:29AM

    you know what, let me know when this insect eating thing catches on in the US because I'm ok with that...I'd be first (ok, maybe second) in line. can't be that bad.

but if you're talking pure standard 'meat' as we know it today, if you were to assume that every human being should eat their body weight in grams/protein a day then you're looking at slaughtering 3 million cows - A DAY. That's 1 Billion heads of cattle a year, maintain a heard of cattle 3 billion strong and produce enough grain to feed it all. Not to mention clean up their poo.
It's a biological and ecological disaster on an epic scale.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/11/2011 10:10AM

Them's fighting words, my friend.
I happen to eat a very high protein diet. And most of it is either plant or dairy based, with some fish added in.

Protein can be a VERY sustainable nutrient to grow, depending on your chosen source...
And yes, if that were my best source available I would eat it. LOL

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/11/2011 10:04AM

I was trying to think of one along those lines. I'll put one in. Thanx.

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MRPLATSON 5/11/2011 10:03AM

    I'll rephrase my position, I am by far not a vegetarian or vegan but I take the stance that a high protein diet is unsustainable on a global level. We can take it from there if you like...

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WOLFKITTY 5/11/2011 10:03AM

    OOOOOOOoooooooooooh. It's on!

One I'd add is a culture that values irrelevant, unattainable and altered body shapes over true body health.


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/11/2011 9:59AM

Pick one and go from there!


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MRPLATSON 5/11/2011 9:58AM

    I could answer this post with a SERIES of blogs.
which point would you like me to start with?

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/11/2011 9:45AM

My point in that sentence was that restaurants are driven to offer unhealthy stuff because that's what people will buy. I'm putting the blame on the consumer here, not the provider.

I know some of the blame needs to fall on the people providing the service, but as BB points out they do need to make a profit to survive. So somewhere consumers need to do their part to put down the fork and walk away from unhealthy crap. We need to vote with our wallets.

I hardly ever eat out anymore. When I travel I go to the grocery store.

When I do eat out I choose the healthiest item I can find.

If I can't find one I ask them to assemble one from the ingredients listed in their other entrees.

If they won't do it I pull out a protein bar and eat that while my friends eat the crap.

Comment edited on: 5/11/2011 9:53:00 AM

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    One item I take issue with "A culture where restaurants are driven by profit " ... as opposed to restaurants that don't make a profit ... oh wait, those are out of business. heh. Seriously, the restaurant only provides what the customer demands. Many big name restaurants are providing healthier choices because of demand. No company forces us to buy their products, so blaming the company is misguided, IMO.

Comment edited on: 5/11/2011 9:43:03 AM

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DDOORN 5/11/2011 9:34AM

    Love love LOVE your last paragraph and couldn't agree more vigorously! The worst part is that it just doesn't HAVE to BE this way!

Have had similar and related rants in the past:



Comment edited on: 5/11/2011 9:34:43 AM

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JESPAH 5/11/2011 9:21AM

    Understood - I think a lot of folks don't recognize natural fluctuations for what they are. It's not a goal WEIGHT, it's a goal RANGE, or at least it should be.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/11/2011 9:17AM

    I completely agree. I got your point. And I thought it was very well put.

But then, I run the Hacker's Diet team on here and rule the leaderboard over at Physics Diet. So you aren't going to get any argument from THIS rubber bag! LOL

Comment edited on: 5/11/2011 9:19:45 AM

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    Great response, btw. I wanted to clarify one point, I was really referring to day to day or even a once every few days weigher. There is some expectation that the scale always goes down day after day or even week after week. If it doesn't, somehow the scale is to blame. Often times this is fluid fluctuation and even though people seem to understand this (or so they tell me), the scale hate continues. So I tried to break it down into something very simple. Weigh yourself, drink some water, weigh yourself again. Does the weight gain invoke scale hate? Because that's really a lot of what people are hating on. Water. And I can't get my head around being upset over that.

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Pain Med Use

Sunday, May 08, 2011

I'm pretty pleased with my attempts to decrease my post-op use of the pain meds
(oxycodone w/APAP 5/325)

I've discovered that hot showers and cold ice packs do very well as a first salvo against pain. I've also been sleeping out of my sling and noticing which kinds of pain are just stiffness versus actual pain in the joint. I can handle the stiffness pain. It's the other kind that bugs me. It feels like little stabby pokes.

Part of the reason I want to get off the meds is that when I last had surgery and used Percocet, I was subsequently rear-ended in a car accident (as a passenger) and ended up on it for post-op plus back pain for 6 straight weeks, which lead to sleeping problems without it, going cold turkey, not sleeping for 2 weeks, getting terribly sick, and somehow having to move out of my apartment over New Year's weekend in CT during a snowstorm when even the movers wouldn't come because there was too much snow. Not an experience I'm anxious to repeat. (nor my friends & relatives, LOL)


Nerve block applied on Tuesday post-op (I requested they wait until I woke up so I could gauge the pain and decide whether I wanted it. I wanted it.)

I was allowed up to 2 oxy tablets every 4-6 hours. (up to 12 per 24 hrs)

Nerve block wore off.
11 tablets in 24 hrs

7 tablets in 24 hrs

4 tablets in 24 hrs

1 tablet in 24 hrs

1 tablet so far (at 12:04 am)

UPDATE: As of 5/12 I haven't even taken a Tylenol since that tablet early Sunday morning. Wow.

In case you're into iPhone / iPod apps, I'm using Time Jot.

Here's what the actual report looks like that it can email to me:

Sunday May 08:
00:04:07 (1 oxy)

Saturday May 07:
07:54:45 (1 oxy)

Friday May 06:
22:23:51 (1 oxy)
12:37:07 (1 oxy)
02:21:01 (1 oxy)
00:45:24 (1 oxy)

Thursday May 05:
18:04:07 (1 oxy)
12:35:30 (1 oxy)
11:13:54 (1 oxy)
07:14:55 (2 oxy with breakfast)
04:18:02 (Ok I give in. 2 more oxy.

OW. :-/)

Wednesday May 04:
23:07:41 (1 oxy

Lying down hurts)
22:02:51 (1 oxy. Pain returning.

Trying ice again)
19:29:08 (1 oxy

Music helping)
18:25:26 (1 oxy.

Lying down hurts.)
13:58:10 (2 oxy)
10:13:01 (2 oxy

Short temper. Lying down hurts. Sitting up better

Trying ice but not cold thru dressing)
05:01:54 (1 Oxy. Starting to hurt no matter what position I'm in.

House 60 feel cold. Cranking up to 70)
03:18:09 (Tightened sling and added squeezy ball)
03:12:25 (1 Oxycodone)
03:01:41 (Nerve block wearing off. Typing this with right hand. Stiffness in joint, poss hints of pain coming)
00:30:49 (1 Oxycodone

Whole arm & most of hand numb)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    hey great to hear your are managing your pain. I agree with coming off them asap. I was able to go to panadil only 3 days after my hammie op, which was good as they often result in constipation not good for crutches, big scar on underside of floppy leg. Great to hear that you are recovering and amazing that you have lost more pounds astounding!

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NEELIXNKES 5/10/2011 7:27PM

    Glad that the pain is easing and you are finding alternatives. Hang in there! emoticon

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DDOORN 5/9/2011 8:52AM

    Good goal to keep working down those pain meds...can be tricky stuff to do!

Thx for stopping by my blog! :-)


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CARRIE1948 5/9/2011 6:51AM

    You are such a geek!

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ETAGGEL 5/8/2011 11:31PM

    Very good for weaning off pain medications. I just wish more people would follow your example, there are alternative solutions as you say!


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JENNSWIMS 5/8/2011 9:23PM

    I'm glad to hear your pain is improving! Woohooo!

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HOWTO: Make Custom Sugar Free Jello (with pictures)

Saturday, May 07, 2011

OK, so by now most of you have figured out that I just got my infraspinatus tendon repaired in my shoulder.

I'm interested in helping this thing grow back as fast and strong as it can, because the sooner I'm better the sooner I can be back out there in my white water kayak on rivers, which is apparently where I was meant to be, when I was put on this planet.

While it is not a complete protein (because it is missing some of the essential amino acids), collagen is the main ingredient in tendons.
In food form it's known as gelatin. In fact connective tissue is where it comes from, in the first place. I have been unable to find any references claiming that eating gelatin helps repair cartilage and tendons, but I figure it can't hurt as long as I'm getting enough protein overall. (1g per 1lb of target body weight daily)

...and as long as I keep taking glucosamine and chondroitin (that I already do for my knee arthritis)...

So I have been experimenting with getting more gelatin into my diet. Here's one fun thing I've been doing lately. It's fun because it contains gelatin, feels slightly subversive since I'm using a final product as an ingredient, it is low in calories (about 50), and keeps me interested when I'd rather eat something less healthy.

You know those individual 16-oz drink mixes designed to be put in your water bottle? Yeah, this kind of thing:

Some even come with electrolytes. Yay, electrolytes.

Well, you can add it to plain gelatin and make your own jello flavored just like that. Here's how.

1) Start some water boiling.

- According to the comments on here it looks like everyone and their brother has this same kettle. Handy for those of us with one functional arm...

2) Measure out a tablespoon (approx 9 grams) of plain gelatin into a 2.5c container

3) Add 1/4 c cold water and stir.

This step is called "blooming" the gelatin. Now I know you weren't taught to do this - like me you were taught to just dump hot water right onto the Jell-O granules and stir stir stir. Trust me, it works better this way.

The gelatin will dissolve much more easily when you do add the hot water, which requires LESS hot water, and therefore faster setting, and thus faster EATING. And what you're eating will have a more consistent texture.

4) While the gelatin granules are blooming and the water is still thinking about boiling, measure out 1.25c of cold tap water and add your drink mix to it.

You do this because some of the drink mixes don't like being added to a warm gelatin mixure and don't dissolve well. This way you get nice even dissolving of the flavor, too.

5) By now surely the water has boiled? Especially because you've been doing all this other stuff and not WATCHING IT. lol.
Measure out 1/2c of it

Dump the hot water into the bloomed gelatin

Stir some.

6) When it looks like all the gelatin has dissolved (and it won't take long), pour in the cool flavored water

7) Stir

8) Cap

9) Refrigerate

Why do they call it refrigeration when it hasn't been cold in the first place? Hmm.

10) Go do something productive and/or active for about an hour or so.
(Insert your own picture in here.)

11) Eat

30 cal in gelatin (8g protein)
5-10 cal in drink mix, depending on the kind you used.

12) Now that you know how to do this, just IMAGINE the possibilities...

...and there you have it. Jello for Dummies, the remedial edition.
Yay, electrolytes. hehehe.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUFFALOKAY 5/11/2011 12:45PM

    Thanks for sharing. Great photos!

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KAYOTIC 5/8/2011 5:29PM

    Thanks for the tip on my page about the juice, I saw a recipe today for a watermelon basil drink I may have to try with this, how's that for exotic jello flavor?

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250STRONG 5/8/2011 2:05PM

    Oooooooo at Whole Foods they have those and they are sweetened with stevia..... :)

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WOLFKITTY 5/8/2011 3:21AM

    HEheee. Very cool.

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OVERHAULING-ME 5/7/2011 11:39PM

    LOVE it. Thanks for a new recipe to have fun with!

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KAYOTIC 5/7/2011 11:01PM

    Sounds easy enough, and I have that kettle too!

I'm guessing there is some kind of fake sugar in the drink mix? I'm thinking I need more electrolytes, but balk at the fake sugars....do you know if they come with real sugar?

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JLPEASE 5/7/2011 5:16PM

    I have the same tea kettle. Thanks for sharing -- such a great idea!!

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JENNSWIMS 5/7/2011 4:08PM

    I love your tea kettle.

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    Cool photos to accompany the directions.

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Sutures out.

Friday, May 06, 2011

They weren't very cosmetic, but we know from the other pics that the important part INSIDE the joint is pretty.

CARRIE1948 came for a visit and brought a mango, because she'd asked if she could bring anything and that was something I was pretty sure I couldn't open one-handed. LOL

We chatted over mango and herb tea and she agreed to snip the itchy sutures for me.

We used rubbing alcohol and cuticle scissors.

Craved fruit today so went over in my calories. Did two hours on the elliptical, morning and evening. The bloat from extra solids and liquids hanging around in my system is getting old. Stuff is working its way out, but not fast enough for my taste!

I've been icing a lot today and hardly took any pain meds (1 at 12:45am, 1 at 2:21 am, 1 at 12:37pm). I'm allowed up to two every 4-6 hours, so this is pretty good, I think.

On the advice of some friends I ordered a cold therapy machine. www.dme-direct.com/polar-care-500-br

One friend said she used one after knee surgery and barely needed any pain meds at night. Another recommended it from his own shoulder surgery.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    yum mangoes, you are doing great, a positive attitude kills a lot of demons! I understand what its like to have ice as your new friend. I am still icing when ever my hammie feels "scratchy" or irritated (normally after a PT session followed by hydrotheraphy) Still every day you are closer to healing, don't forget although you feel like you are sitting around your body is busy making a new shoulder, don't stress it, (a really fit guy in hospital with me, just kept up with lots of stuff, not taking it easy, and he didnt heal well, and has been hampered by all sorts of problems). So best of luck, emoticon

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ANNE7X7 5/7/2011 12:27PM

    While it looks quite painful, I admire you for removing the stitches at home! I don't think I could even look at them! Glad you are slowly getting back to your normal self!

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JENNSWIMS 5/7/2011 10:16AM

    For someone who just had surgery you look fantastic, healthy, all that good stuff. Your hard work has clearly paid off!

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CARRIE1948 5/7/2011 8:52AM

    Any time - I may start a new career - suture remover. Could certainly fit it in amid the other odds and sods I do to earn a living.

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GRACEFULIFE 5/7/2011 1:52AM

    LOL that cold machine is actually pretty cool; a good idea! It looks to me like something ripe for DIY though.

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GRACEFULIFE 5/7/2011 1:51AM

    "No, it is not. How much can you know about yourself, you've never been in a fight? I don't wanna die without any scars. So come on; hit me before I lose my nerve. " --Tyler Durden

In Tyler we trust.

Looks like they did the correct shoulder, even if they put the wrong one in the sling! Good deal!

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250STRONG 5/7/2011 1:36AM

    Sounds good. I'm amazed you can take out your own sutures. Not because I think it's particularly tough, but because it's so soon and you did it at home.

When I have been on pain meds (after surgery, after childbirth), I have found that taking colace (which is just a stool softener, not a laxative) is helpful with the sluggish system.


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