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Monday, May 28, 2012

Small Setback

I took yesterday off from physical therapy. My forearm near the incision feels inflamed and sore so I decided to give it a day off yesterday.   I am guessing that I had my tubing too taut when I was doing my exercises and that put too much pressure on the muscle. It's tough to determine what the right amount of exertion really is. You feel like a pansy when you're not pushing yourself with these things. All of those years in the gym taught me to push as hard as you can.  I've never had to recover from an injury like this. I am just trying to do what I think is best. I'll talk to Ken about it on Wednesday. I'll post my PT regimen this week. It's pretty extensive. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Thanks Ken


PopCap is changing insurance providers since we're part of EA now. 

Unfortunately, Ken and Mar Ran physical therapy are not "in network".  The way our new insurance operates is to provide a network of care givers that will be fully covered by the insurance. Unfortunately, if you are not a part of that network then the insurance will cover at a much lower rate than if you are "in network". 

I'm not really sure what it takes to get into the network. I would assume that you have to be high enough on someone's social graph to even be considered. Maybe you have to tag them in pictures enough times or comment on their status updates.  Maybe it's just a part of the request system?  

At any rate, they aren't in network so now I really get to pay for it. 

Ken knew this. I was warming up on the hand bike as I usually do.  Ken came over and told me that my new insurance is out of network.  I told him I had realized that but that intended to stay put because I believe in what he's got me doing and I believe in the results. 

He said he appreciated that and agreed. He then said he's going to lower his rates to make it more comfortable for me to stay there. 

I had already bit the bullet and decided not to change to an "in network"provider. Ken didn't have to lower his rate. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do for me. He didn't think I would benefit by changing therapists. He certainly has plenty of clients and probably doesn't need me to stick around. He wanted me to stick around. He wants to help me heal. 

It's a very personal connection when someone is helping you heal. I didn't particularly want to change that. I am getting healed with his help. I'm going to pitch again with his help. 

I wrote this to remind everyone that there are caregivers out there that are still bound by the desire to make people better no matter the cost to them. So thanks Ken. I really appreciate it...even if others think you are "out of network".

Thursday, May 17, 2012

PSSBL Mariners Win!

I went to our PSSBL Mariner game the other night. It was a gorgeous night and we were playing a new team in the league at the best field in the circuit.  I mostly leaned on the rail, spat sunflower seeds, and observed.

I try not to critique our guys much but it's hard when you see the game from this perspective. You see your pitcher not following through. You see when a runner is going to take off. You see the defense get on their heels because the pitcher takes too long. You notice a strong hitter swing at a bad pitch.  You work with the catcher to go over the next few hitters.

It's a strange thing to see a game from this perspective. It's somehow different when you know you're not playing. You get to take more in and think about things more. It's still interesting though and it's always fun to watch. It's still baseball and watching your team destroy the other team is always a blast. 

Wish I could say the same for the MLB Mariners. Yikes guys...get it together. 

I hope I remember all of these lessons next year. I need to remember when to change my pace.  I need to learn when someone is getting a monster lead on me. I really need to work on my pick off move.  Oh, I also had a lefty throwing session with my patient and daring fiancĂ©.  There were some good and some bad. I developed a rhythm after a while but  nothing that is going to be game ready. My goal is to be able to warm someone up before they pitch or just toss in general before a game.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

$$$

I searched all over the place for how much this surgery was going to cost me and I couldn't find one little slice of information about anything related to cost. 

You would think that there would be some disclosure about cost somewhere along the way. I mean, it's all a second thought almost. Nobody says to you "Here's the estimated cost after insurance" or even "Here is what our doctor is going to charge."  Nope. Not one word about what your bill would be. 

By the way, doesn't that strike you as odd?  

My cat has been sick lately.  She's actually dying of renal failure. Every test that gets done and every medication that is prescribed has a cost associated with it. You know that cost up front. In fact, they will actually give you a written estimate of your visit before you enter the exam room. All of that effort for a cat. 

Meanwhile, we go into a specialist's office hoping that the cost isn't crazy for a procedure like this.  You even have to guess at the cost of the diagnostic tools and the diagnosis itself.  What does an MRI cost? How about a blood panel? Fluoroscan? What about that brace? 

You have no idea. You just kind of hope that it's not going to bury you.  Our fast food "restaurants" have posted menus and costs. A car mechanic, by law, must give you a written estimate before any work is done.  But our health care? Nah.

I'll get off of my soapbox for now but I do reserve the right to climb back on at any given point during this blog. 

Here's what my Tommy John surgery cost for the day-of procedure. This doesn't include PT, follow ups, etc. Ready?

For the Facility Fee it was $7747.00.  That's just for Overlake to host me for the day. 
The anesthesia was $1900. 
Dr. Trumble's fee was $4325.00
The Physician Assistant cost $1081.25
That's a grand total of $15,053.25

My portion of that is significantly less. Big thumbs up to Premera!
Overlake: $340.81
Anesthesia: $128.02
Dr. Trumble: $164.00
Dennis the PA: $16.40
My portion adds up to only be $649.23

Comparing the two numbers, that's an absolutely screaming deal. That doesn't count the co-pays of each visit and PT as well as MRI costs and such. Those continue to add up every week.  My final figure also takes into account the fee adjustments made by each provider for the insurance. 

All in all, I think I got off easy. I feel very lucky to have this insurance. Had it been crappy insurance or none at all, my baseball career would be over. So thanks Premera. I owe you one. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Goodbye friend


It has been fun old friend. For six weeks, you and I were almost inseparable. You prevented me from putting on sweatshirts but gave me a great excuse to wear baseball jerseys. You pointed out to the world that I had some sort of injury and made people pay when they bumped into my arm. 

You inspired people to come up with Iron Man costume ideas.  You let people think about what kind of sound effects machine could be attached. You let people reminisce about the days of the six million dollar man. 

You got people thinking about how hard I am going to throw eventually.  You intimated all kinds of friends including my fiancĂ© and my dog. 

You added extra weight to my arm and would lock randomly in strange positions. You let me sleep in strange positions. You always got a kick out of tangling up my iPod cord. 

I'll miss the stares I got everywhere I went because of you and I'll especially miss the random comments that strangers would make to me. 

Good luck buddy. Thanks for your help


Monday, May 7, 2012

Random Notes for a Monday

Here it is, a beautiful Monday in Seattle.  It's due to be about 70 degrees here today.  I'm wearing my favorite jersey today and feel pretty good. What's my favorite jersey? It's a teal Dustin Ackley jersey that's signed.  It's really awesome.  I even put the Dave Niehaus patch on the other sleeve.  Here's a picture of Adam and I in our matching teal hotness.


So onto the random notes:

My left handed training is coming well. After running stairs at Lake Washington High School, I started throwing the "pinky" against the concrete wall of the press box. I threw for about 7 minutes and did ok.  I did better at the gym this morning and had more accuracy.  Looks like my left arm slots differently than my right.  It's much more over the top instead of 3/4 like my right arm.  Odd, but I'll take it.
I'll throw again on Thursday.

This week in gym training:  It's cable week!  This morning was chest and back.  Lots of lying presses, single arm bent over rows, cable flyes, etc. Cables are great because of the constant resistance.  You don't even need a bunch of weight.  It feels like it's harder on the muscles and easier on the joints right now.  If there's any interest, I'll talk about my workouts.  They're almost all supersets.

One thing I did start doing is doing cardio at the beginning AND as the second to last thing I do.  I really don't have an idea as to why I do that, but it seems to be better to keep my heart rate up a bit before I do some core work to cool down.  I don't know if it works, but we'll find out.  I feel like I'm doing ok, but that could have something to do with knocking the beer consumption down a bit.

Yes, I'm replacing it with whiskey.

The brace comes off on Wednesday.  More on that on Wednesday.  It'll be a relief.

The arm has been sore a bit this week.  I'm thinking it's due to the tougher PT schedule.  It might just be the incision being goofy.



Friday, May 4, 2012

Crafty lefty?

I've been tossing around (pardon the pun) the idea of learning to throw with my left hand. I decided to start practicing with a weighted ball at the gym. Just light tossing trying to hit the same spot over and over again.  Nothing crazy big, just 7-10 tosses at a spot on the wall with one of those mushy balls that won't bounce.

It's going well so far. I've been able to successfully hit the same spot repeatedly and have repeatable mechanics.  There have even been a few times that there has been some velocity behind it.

I doubt I'll ever pitch left handed, but I thought it would be good to give this a shot while I have the time and the will to do it.  Apparently Yu Darvish routinely throws left handed on his off days.  He feels that it keeps his body balanced and that it keeps him sharper with his right arm. Rumor has it, he throws harder than Moyer as a lefty.

I really have no idea why I'm doing this.  I think it's probably to compensate for my lack of ability to throw with the right arm.  That's gotta be why this is so interesting to me. Maybe it'll pay off. I have this idea that I can get onto first base with a lefty's mitt and be able to cut someone down at home plate.  Why not?

It seems to be keeping me out of trouble so far.

Other Notes:


My arm has consistently reached full range extension at  0 degrees extended and 140 degrees flexed.  That was twice this week, so I'm hoping that this range is here to stay.

PT is getting much more difficult.  I've graduated up to the "red band" now which is much more difficult than the "yellow band".  I feel like I'm in karate.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hammer time!

Seriously, nobody screws with a guy that trains with a hammer.  The idea behind the exercise is to have an uneven weight distribution. That way you have to have control in both the acceleration and deceleration phase of the exercises.  The exercise is as follows: 1. Grab the hammer in your hand so that the head of the hammer is facing left and your knuckles are up 2. Rotate your wrist so the head of the hammer goes from the left to the right.  3. Repeat twenty times and stay in control.  4. When you are done with that, rotate your grip on the hammer and make the hammer face you in such a way that it looks like you might hammer your elbow.  5. Using only your wrist, swing the hammer back so the head comes near your elbow. Do this twenty times.  6.  Turn the hammer the opposite way and repeat....twenty times....both arms.  You probably won't actually look like Thor after this but you'll feel like you've been in a fight with him. This stuff really works. I was sore this morning.