Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Good news non-icky medical images

Yes, good news! I was a bit nervous about being told I was going for X-Rays in addition to the bone scan my doctor requested for me. In my world, X-Rays are for teeth and suspected broken bones. But here we are! This is a side view of my foot, looking from the inside. There is fancy language, but note the slight spur for the achilles tendon and where it hooks into the plantar fascia. There are interesting striations in the bone structure that are good. There's also a bit of a build up under my big toe pad, but nothing to get worked up about.

Heres the pay day image for me, my left foot as if I was looking down at it. The metatarsals are all there, hooked together right, and nothing broken. Yay! There are some whiter bits indicating some build up of bone, especially on that arched bit, but nothing to worry about.

Here, people, is what a bone scan looks like. Picture me lying on my back, toes up, with my left foot on the right side of this image. The whiter spots indicate biological activity. You can see the white spot on my left foot under my big toe pad. Not the middle toe where it is sensitive.

This is me lying on my right side, with my left leg further back. The white spots show the little spur on the achilles tendon, and on the keystone bone (whatever it's called) where the X Ray shows a bit of build up.

This is the same position, only showing my knees. Odd that the left one is much whiter than the right. But all looking good.

In the end, there is nothing astonishing in all the images, given my age and recent activity levels. Doing barefoot running, or even in a minimalist shoe is right out. I'm to be in a well padded shoe, and replace as needed. Which tells me I need new shoes for walking around, as the ones I use now are scuffed bare and no padding left.

I can swim my brains out, (keeping an internal eye out for my shoulders), bike lots while being careful building to peak stresses, and very cautiously, run again. Lightly. Not too much to start, not too long. Paying attention to how it feels. Lightly. Which for a big guy like me is going to be a bit of a challenge. But there are things I can do about that. I am a guy. I can change, if I want to. I guess.

Once home I was on the bike for a brisk hour spin. Good warm up, then 95 rpm while backing off on watts to a high moderate level, well aerobic. Then some easy, then 105 at one gear easier, slightly lighter effort. Then some easy and a few minutes at 85 rpm but several gears harder to start exploring a new watt peak. Focus on spin, and scuffing my feet across the bottom and back up. Cool down.

Stretched after, twists, bends. Rollered the bottom of my feet with the ball and that felt really good. I'm a happy puppy with all this info.

My business analyst brain is horrified by these images and the whole process. Why? Because to view them my doctor had to boot into Windows XP because the viewing software doesn't run on Windows 7 or Vista. It turns out that of the four major labs in town, they each use different software. That is madness. Even on my new Mac I couldn't view the images, but then I remembered last time I had X Rays. My old computer still has that software, on an older version of the OS. It took a minute for it to chug through all the data, and another minute for me to remember the interface, but that's how I got the screen shots.

I'm astonished that I had to bring the discs to my doctor. Why can't he securely log into their network to view the images, screen shot the appropriate ones for my file and to review them with me, and log out? In fact, why did he have to fill out a paper form (PAPER for crying out loud!) for me to carry to the clinic? This is essentially a medieval technology.

Now picture the process if something terrible happens to me. I get wheeled to a clinic or the hospital. They take images. They have no idea what's normal for me. For any time over the next couple of years maybe, the images I got today are probably relevant information. For that matter, the ones of my elbow, and maybe even the ones that my dentist has could all be of value in determining just how badly I'm injured. Yet none of these are available. In fact, the only info about me they know is what's on my Road ID (don't leave home for a workout without it), and who knows how long it will take to get through to someone at one of the numbers. While it's nice they get hold of Linda, it could be crucial to get my medical files. Why aren't all our medical records in a secure database available to medical staff Canada-wide?

So while I'm at it, if any of you in Calgary are having problems with your knees or feet, Dr. MacDonald specializes in knees. And runners, with a side of triathletes and motocross athletes. His clinic offers a number of services. I'd be happy to tell you how to find him.


  1. I desperately need to update my Road ID info. Like, yesterday. Or, even a year ago. Oops...

    Glad you are okay! Take care of you.

  2. YAY for nothing broken! I have to admit I am really drawn to images of bones. It's weird, I know.

    I recently had to get a prescription for something, and the dentist was able to send it to the pharmacist on the "computer" using the "internet". What is this crazy new fangled thing?

    It didn't work, and I had to go back and pick up a paper copy.

  3. Yes you do. Once I've never needed it, and hope I never will, but I like having it now. Reassuring. Provided my wife answers the phone, or has her cell turned on...

  4. Gee Leauxra, if you go treasure hunting through my blogs you'll find another X ray with bones in it, though not such happy ones. But then you might find the teeth, or what remained of them. That could be bad, though the comments are amusing. I got more info from my Dr, and for whatever reason, because of his specialty, he can't do the on line thing, but other doctors can. Weird.

  5. Glad you're okay. Wish I lived in Canada but no such luck. Southern US

  6. Hi Elliot, welcome to my blog. Thanks for commenting. There are days I feel sorry for my American friends, and rant about what America has become. In my rants there is a difference between America, and Americans. I'll check out your blog a little later today.

  7. Were you thinking of taking up barefoot or minimalist? I ask because it seems like you are saying that your injuries preclude it, but it is (or was in its early days) primary something for people with injuries. That is to say, it is a less stressful (not more stressful) way of running.

  8. Hi Martin, thanks for commenting. I'm interested in the barefoot or minimalist shoe running. I've done a little tiny bit, a few hundred m total interspersed with other runs. My ART guy strongly recommends against trying it any time soon, and then if I'm interested to build to it very, very gradually.


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