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Last update: February 4, 2023

The Physical Shinn (Prior)

The John Shinnick Website

No News Is Good News


No new is good news. If I can believe my stethoscope, my heart is holding strong and steady. No lapsing into afib. I’m due for a follow-up visit with my cardiologist this coming May, but things seem good. One thing I can’t monitor is whether the blood thinner is working properly. I don’t know if my blood tests show that. One of my medicines, the expensive one (Eliquis) is supposed to be thinning it a bit to prevent clots, a side effect of afib, and a potentially lethal one since they are a primary cause of strokes.


As I write this, I’m taking a routine Covid test. My understanding is that these will no longer be free after May 1. I should stock up. Despite the two false positives I got earlier using a different brand, I feel better periodically self-testing. I’ve been doing it about once a month or before a trip north to visit relatives or doing other people-intensive things. It’s a two-part test, which is to say it’s the same test done twice within a two-day window. The first test was negative, a good thing. I’ll repost if the second half is positive, but don’t hold your breaths. I haven’t caught it yet.


I mentioned two months ago that I had a growth on my left little toe. Actually, it on my right BIG toe. Either way, the PA at Carbon Health took a look at it, took a sample and found it non-cancerous. But it’s still there. I started putting a bandage on it and it’s got far less discoloring than before. It’s never been painful, but though it hasn’t grown, it hasn’t shrunk either. For now, I’ll just monitor it. Maybe next time I’ll find out what it is!


Before that, I reported on a fall I took playing basketball. Everything seemed to heal just fine except for a sore spot on the palm of my left hand. I didn’t notice it except when I put pressure on it. That seems to have healed. The only problem is that now I don’t have an excuse to do push-ups, the reason I noticed it lingering in the first place.


Which brings me to the biggest problem I’ve noticed, and that’s my weight. I used to report on it monthly, but that never motivated me to get to my goal of 185. It went up during Covid and especially of late, due to winter. I’ve been good at taking my 2-mile walks, even during the cold snap we’ve been having. But I spend too much time at home where it’s too easy to nibble. I eat enough good things, veggies, fruits and the like, but I simply eat too much. My interim goal is now 200. I came real close a few months back, but ran into a severe absence of self-discipline. I hope that if I can get there, I can get to 185.


But my most recent malady was definitely self-inflicted. With the recent rains (dang, that feels so good to say!) our neighborhood drainage systems have been taxed. There’s one drainage grate that used to flood in years past that the water company (EBMUD) seems to have fixed, but much of the overall drainage takes place at the sides of the road in small cement ditches. These are often crossed by driveways which have to have some form of cutaway or underpass to allow the water to traverse them. My driveway has no need as the water flows on the other side of the street. But the house on the other side of the street has a problem. 

Actually, no one lives there right now. The owner is in assisted living and her son had been living there for a time, but he is now living overseas. The daughter has taken responsibility for it, but actually lives a few miles away. The driveway was built with a small ditch, about 3 inches wide and 4 inches deep.

Signs of wear and tear.

Sorta like the wear and tear on my hand!

Sadly, over the years the side abutting the road has deteriorated over the years into several irregularly shaped chunks that are totally unstable. The result is that debris floating in the water (mostly leaves and twigs) gets lodged between the cement chunks and clogging the pathway, so water collects behind it and spills out over the road. What a mess!

But what does this have to do with my health? I just can’t stand the mess, so I’ve found myself continually cleaning out the ditch and re-arranging the chunks to let the water flow freely. My good deed for the day. I felt good about this. I ran into the daughter and told her what I’d been doing. I’d known her for years and she thanked me for my efforts. Actually, it had been a labor of love. I can be very obsessive-compulsive about such things and got a great burst of satisfaction as the water would start gushing through. I should have been an engineer. Or perhaps a plumber.


Then I noticed an unintended consequence. I noticed a couple of cuts, one near the tip of my right thumb, one at the tip of my right middle finger. The good news (see the music section) neither gets in the way of my bass playing. Not so for guitar. When I fingerpick, I make extensive use of my thumb. Fortunately, the cut isn’t too deep and the orientation of the cut is such that it’s not too painful or aggravating to play for a short time, but for longer periods it would surely become painful.


This wasn’t worth a trip to Carbon Health. It’s healing quite well with generic Neosporin and generic Band-Aids. By the time we get a warm spell, I’ll be ready to play on the porch.

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