Alternative title for this blog posting: I love my brain.
About 7 weeks ago, my hockey team’s goalie was knocked out of the season with a grade 2 concussion. A few months ago my coworker’s father died after having hit his head on the ice during a hockey practice that he was coaching. And just last week, actress Natasha Richardson died after hitting her head when she fell while skiing on a beginner’s hill. And all of these incidents were very fresh in my mind as the back of my head slammed to the ice during one of my hockey games on Sunday after being hit, after the whistle. Since the hit came (did I mention?) after the whistle, I really wasn’t expecting it, so I wasn’t braced for it and I fell straight backwards, hitting the back on my head (within my helmet) smack on the ice. I remember very clearly thinking: “oh my god! My head just hit the ice! People die from that!” I got off the ice and I felt ok, so I kept playing. In retrospect, this was actually a dangerous thing to do since, as it turns out, I had a concussion. If I’d gotten hit like that again, a second concussion would have been really, really bad, as getting a second concussion before a first concussion heals makes that second concussion way more severe that it would have been otherwise. I didn’t really even realize I’d done anything all that bad until later that night, after I got home from my second game of the day, when I had a bit of a headache. I went to work yesterday morning, but as soon as I started looking at the computer screen the headache got nasty. So I decided to be better safe than sorry and went to get checked out by my doctor. And the doc said that I did, in fact, have a mild concussion. I don’t have most of the really bad symptoms of concussion (such as blurred vision, nausea, memory loss) – just a headache, my balance is a bit off and I seem to lose my training of thought a bit. My brain isn’t swelling, so that’s a good thing, and the headache should go away (and my balance & train of thought should come back) over the next several days. After that, I really shouldn’t have any lasting effects (unless I get more concussions – the effect of multiple concussions seems to be increased risk of things like dementia and Parkinson’s). I’ve still got the headache, especially if I look at a computer screen (I’m actually typing this with a cloth over the screen so that I don’t have to look at it – I figure I can handle a few minutes to proofread it as long as I don’t also have to look at it while I type).
And really, I do just want to say that I love my brain, I don’t like not being able to think straight or get my work done, and I’ve very, very happy that I was wearing a good helmet when my head hit the ice. I’m a big proponent of safety gear in sports – I wear a full face shield and a neck guard in addition to all the other safety gear that one wears to play hockey (yesterday my doctor told me about seeing a teenager who died playing hockey when he wasn’t wearing a neck guard, he was knocked down and someone skated right over his throat!) – and this just reaffirms my support of all things safety gear!
We won our hockey playoffs this weekend! Not only that, but we *swept* the playoffs – winning all four of our games! Not only that, but we faced off against our arch nemesis team in the final and we won! 1-0. On a shorthanded goal. No really.
We’d finished third out of four teams during the season so, unlike when we won playoffs last year, we weren’t the favourites to win. But the division was fairly evenly matched this season1, so we went in knowing that it really was anyone’s playoffs to take.
Playoffs involve each team playing each other team during the weekend and the two teams that come out on top face off in a winner-takes-all final on Sunday afternoon. Our first game was yesterday morning against the 4th place team, which we won 4-12. Last night we played the second place team – our arch nemesis team. We beat them, 1-0… in overtime. The game was pretty rough and we came damn near to having a brawl at one point3, but the main thing was putting the puck in the net with about one minute left in OT to win the game and secure our spot in the final. This morning’s game was against the first place team and it was a close one, but in the end we came out ahead, 3-2. And speaking of heads, mine got slammed against the ice4 when someone took me out in front of the net after the whistle. She got a penalty and I got a headache.
The final game was this afternoon and, well, you know how that ended. Shorthanded goal, of all things. And now we savour the sweet, sweet victory!
1More evenly matched than I think the standings showed. 2I would like to point out that for two of our four goals I was in my office, doing my special brand of annoying the hell out of the goalie. 3Much to the amusement of the growing number of people who stopped to watch our game when it became apparently how rough things were getting. 4It totally freaked me out when I felt the back of my head hit the inside of my helmet and I popped my head up right away. It was like my brain was saying if you get your head off the ice, then you didn’t really hit it! Considering that our goalie got knocked out for the season with a grade 2 concussion when she was run over (while she was in net) by someone from – you guessed it – our arch nemesis team and her head slammed to the ice, I’ve been paranoid all day that my brain is injured.
… just like cancer or heart disease and it should be treated as such. So says the British Columbia Medical Association (BCMA), who are calling on the provincial government to recognize that addiction is a chronic disease and that it should be funded as such, as reported in a Vancouver Sun cover story today. After all, you wouldn’t ask someone with cancer to pay a per diem for their treatment, but that’s what we see with addiction treatment.
A few interesting (and staggering) facts about addiction (from the Sun article):
“In 2002, the estimated cost of treating substance abuse in B.C. was more than $6 billion, or $1,500 per person per year”
“one in 10 visits to Vancouver General Hospital’s emergency room is for substance abuse”
“B.C. uses enough hospital beds for substance abuse care to fill Kelowna General Hospital every day for a year.”
The story goes on to say that:
“Health Minister George Abbott said he agrees with the recommendations in the report, noting that the ministry is already looking at formally recognizing addictions as chronic diseases.”
and that the province is working on a 10-year mental health and substance abuse plan. It is encouraging to see both the medical establishment and the provincial government recognizing the horrible toll that addiction takes, as well as the need to treat addiction as the chronic disease that it is. I am eager to see what the 10 year plan will include and whether the government will put its money where its mouth is.
It’s a website where you can put in the name of a food and it will tell you how long it should stay safe (in the fridge, in the freezer or left out). It’s a pretty good idea for a site, as I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked in my fridge and thought, “Is this still good?” I usually resort to the sniff test, even though I know that food can be spoiled without smelling bad. It’s sort of a case where my laziness (i.e., not being bothered to look it up) and cheapness (i.e., not wanting to throw out food) combine to overpower my fear of getting food poisoning. Granted, the sniff test (which, when I think about it, is combined with the “is there anything growing on it?” test) has served me well thus far, but it’s probably just a matter of time before my luck runs out). At least now I’ll have a handy site to check out when I wonder if it really is such a good idea to eat those 12 day old leftovers.
I *finally* finished marking the assignments that I’ve been marking for the last 362,454,879 days. Just in time to create the exam before the next set of assignments come in for marking! I really like teaching, but man oh man it’s a lot of work. Especially the first time you teach a course. I can even begin to describe how happy I’ll be to see the end of term!
In related news, I saw over on Derek‘s Facebook wall that it is the 50th anniversary of Strunk and White’s book The Elements of Style. The Elements of Style is a short book about grammar, word usage and composition that pretty much everyone should read. It’s available in its entirety online, for free. I tell all my students, regardless of what course I’m teaching, that they should read it1.
In other related news, I showed this video clip to my class today:
“The The Impotence of Proofreading,” by Taylor Mali
I thought I’d posted this video before, but a quick search of my blog didn’t turn up anything, so perhaps I just meant to2. It makes me laugh every time I watch it.
1I wonder how many of them actually do? 2See: good intentions, road to hell paved with.
I wanted to get a watch that was different from my last watch, since that watch, as you may recall, fell apart. However, as it turns out, the only women’s watch I could find that includes the interval timer feature is… you guessed it, the fall apart-y model of watch that I had before!
“Interval timer” is a feature that allows you to set your watch to beep at different intervals. In my half marathon training, I like to run what are known as “10 and 1s” – this is where you run for 10 minutes, then walk for 1 minute, then repeat. The interval timer allows me to set my watch to beep after 10 minutes, then after 1 minute, and repeat. The only watch I could find that would do this was the “Ironman” Timex watch, which is what I had before it fell apart and the time piece disappeared (I still have the (completely) useless watch strap, but the (actually functioning) time piece – gone). Oddly, the Timex “Marathon” watch does not have an interval timer. It will take your pulse, but it won’t beep on 10 and 1 for you. Which seems odd, given that a lot of marathoners and half marathoners run 10 and 1s. Weird.
Anyway, I decided that, other than the slight problem of falling apart after two (or maybe it was three?) years, this particular model of watch has served me well, so why not buy another one? And, in fact, I used my birthday money from my sister, so technically she bought it for me.
I decided to go with black (as opposed to the baby blue that I had before) because I had noticed that a baby blue sports watch actually looks quite out of place when I’m dressed up for work. Which I only really noticed after I’d been wearing it while dressed up for work for ages. (Becasue I’m awesome like that). I’m hoping that black will be a little les conspicuous.
This past week, we played our one and only playoff game in the UBC Rec league. Playoffs were by elimination and, well, we were eliminated. Given that we only lost 7-2 – and we’d previously been beaten by the same team 10-0, 17-2 and 14-2 – we considered it a moral victory.
Tonight is the last regular season game for my other hockey league. Playoffs are next weekend and then that’s it for hockey for the season1. My team isn’t going to play in the summer league this year like we did last year. I contemplated trying to find another team to play with2, but I think instead I’m going to take some advanced3 hockey lessons. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from playing twice a week this season, especially from the girls (and our new coach) on my Blazing Blades team who are always willing to give me pointers to improve my game (not mention just trying to keep up with the advanced level of play – trial by fire!). Now I think it will do me some good to spend some serious time focusing on improving my hockey skillz4. So that come the start of hockey season next fall, I’ll be awesome. And can maybe even score a freaking goal.
1Unless we win the playoffs and get to go to Kelowna again for provincials. 2Also, I’ve had two proposals for a conference in New Brunswick accepted, meaning I get a trip to NB. And so I’m planning to take some vacation time to explore the Atlantic provinces that I’ve never been to before. Which would mean missing a few weeks of hockey and summer hockey seasons aren’t all that long to begin with. 3As opposed to the beginner’s hockey lessons I took when I first started playing hockey. 4Shooting, skating backwards and having the confidence to pivot from skating forward to skating backwards in an actual game – I’m looking in your direction.
People who correct you on totally inconsequential matters. Like when I went into Tim Horton’s and ordered a “multi-grain” bagel. The cashier gives me a look of confusion and then says, with a tone of superiority in her voice “You want a 12 GRAIN bagel?” Yes, 12 is many, multi, lots of different grains. Honestly, why do you think the name “12 grain” is sooo sacred it must not be called a lowly “multigrain”?
People who take the elevator up one flight. My office is in the 6th floor. I usually take the stairs, unless I’m carrying something heavy. And on those occasions, there’s almost always someone taking elevator up one flight. One freaking flight. Seriously people – take the stairs!
People who stand at the front of the bus when there is plenty of room at the back of the bus. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen a bus drive by a stop where people are waiting because the bus driver thinks the bus is full because people are too damn lazy to talk a few step to the back.
We’ve been debating the value of the cheque. In the text below the cheque, it uses e^(2*pi). However, we think it actually says e^(i*pi), i being the root of -1. Best part is, if that is the case, e^(i*pi)=-1. Wild huh? I mean, it’s an equation that looks scary, includes the most awesome of numbers (e, i, pi and the unit 1) and yet it all works together with basic mathematical operations – exponentiation, multiplication and addition (oft it’s rewritten as e^(i*pi)+1=0). Regardless, if it is exp(i*pi) than the cheque is for $0.002. AWESOME.
Even better, if you go back a few entries, you’ll see this one – definitely related – look at the names. HILARIOUS. I <3 MATH.
The “this one” in that last paragraph refers to this video, which, upon watching, made my brain explode:
The best part of the whole thing is:
“Do you recognize that there’s a difference between $1 and 1¢?”
“Do you recognize that there’s a difference between half a dollar and half a cent?”
“Then, do you therefore recognize that there’s a difference between $0.002 and 0.002¢?”