Tag Archives: back pain

Tired

Between the allergy pills making me sleepy, and backaches keeping me awake all night, it is a wonder I can even function enough to operate my laptop. I really want to lie down for a nap, but I just got up a couple of hours ago. Actually no, I have been awake for hours, I just got out of bed a couple of hours ago. When I woke up I felt like death warmed over, plus I couldn’t see anything except a white haze from allergies. So I tried to go back to sleep, but couldn’t because, pain. So I “meditated”, in quotes because it was more “tried to fall back asleep but can’t” than actual meditation.

I just had to evict Clint from the desk because he’s pushing things off so he has a comfortable place to sleep, and now the floor is covered in pennies that had been placed in neat stacks on the desk to keep track of how many pennies I had. This is because there is a $10 minimum for pennies at the local change counting machine so I have to keep track of how much I have to put in the machine. But don’t fret about him, he finds a place.

See what happens when I stop trying to work?

This is what Clint does when I stop trying to work, he goes and pouts.

And the thermometer in my office reads 83°F, so I’m heading to the room with working AC.

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I have been busy

Between Mother’s Day, tracking down missing mail, checking what I can get to replace my mailbox and post, and just dealing with life, the last few days have just been PACKED!

The good news is I have figured out how to fix my back, both short and long-term. The problem is right leg is longer than left by a significant amount since the wreck, and the required pelvic tilt is more than my back muscles can accommodate. The back muscles on the long side have to stay contracted all the time, and eventually they reach exhaustion.Which is my situation at the moment. but the hypothetical treatment is to lie face down, and the therapist pulls my long leg until I have a level pelvis. After the spasms subside the therapist gently strokes the muscles until circulation has been restored, and the pain is gone for a while.

Long term, the problem is the back muscles have to stay contracted as hard as they can because they are too long on the side that has the longer leg, so why not make them permanently shorter? An operation would shorten the back muscles on the right (long) side so that when my feet are side-by-side both sets of muscles are the same tension instead of one contracted and the other extended. Or the top of the pelvis could be re-contoured to the same effect. I would still sway from side to side when I walk, but not so much, and it wouldn’t hurt any more.

Speaking of hurting, I have reached my limit after walking about 3 miles according to the Sweatcoin app. Clint has left long scratches in my leg from falling from my lap, and my back has me fighting tears of pain. It’s time this flightless waterfowl packed it in and hit the hay.

Not feeling good today

I did several days in a row with 2-3 miles walked with allergies and now my back is complaining, not loudly, but making its presence known. This is my notice to take a break and not overdo things. Also after several days of good behavior the “m” key on the keyboard is acting cranky again, and Google keeps sending me notices that my OS is no longer supported.

Now this can be dealt with in many ways. I can buy a new computer (ha, ha), I can get the keyboard fixed and install Linux, I can install Linux on my Dad’s old computer after I drag it out of the box it has been stuck in since 2012. And one of my friends might have an old laptop they can give me. First I need to call and find out how much getting the keyboard fixed will cost, then work from there.

On the Sprint-T I have been contemplating a frame revision that would add maybe 40 pounds but provide a major increase in torsional stiffness. It isn’t as pretty now, but it will be much more tunable for handling. Basically what I did was make sure all the possible load paths were continuous and triangulated in all 3 dimensions and clear the body. It was that last requirement that has been the monkey wrench in the works, as the body is 34″ wide underneath and 45″ wide at the top and there has to be a structural member to meet the mounts underneath or the body would have not crashworthiness. That’s not the problem by itself, the problem is the diagonal from the top of the rear roll hoop to the bottom of the front roll hoop. Now I thought I had this solved a while back, but when I traced the load paths I found it went all wonky at the front roll hoop. The loads went from in line to bending around the front hoop because of having to have a member under the body and the diagonal snake around the bowed-out sides because there is no straight line from the top of the rear hoop to the bottom of the rear hoop. Interestingly enough, there is straight line access from the top of the rear hoop to the middle of the front hoop, and back to the bottom of the rear hoop, but that places bending loads on the front hoop unless there is a corresponding member from the front suspension support to the front hoop. And that is what increases the weight so much, about 8 additional members about 50″ long each weigh 30 pounds total plus the gussets at each intersection add about 8-9 ounces each end. If I could reduce the size of the structural members any more without worry about damage from people leaning or climbing on the car I could make it lighter, but I have to use the frame as a ladder to get in through the top of the cage.

While I have been writing about fixing the mistakes in my frame I had a show about engineering mistakes and fixing them on the Science Channel on the Tee Vee. Some of those mistakes cost hundreds of millions of dollars to fix, some couldn’t be fixed for any amount of money. I’m just glad I’m finding my mistakes before I spend money building unusable junk.

I screwed up at the fair

Very short post tonight because I seriously overdid it at the fair today as in too much walking and standing around, and my back is making me pay for it. Having a lie down to let my back relax for a bit will probably fix it, at least somewhat. I did manage to get some pictures of the Pentastar V6 in the wild, as it were, but forgot to put something in the picture to scale from so they are pretty useless for my needs. Curse my drain bamage for making me forget.

Busy day doing nothing

Well after all the emotions of yesterday I just vegged out today. The most effort I put out today was watching the Xfinity series on the toob this evening. It was a good race. Twitter has been occupying most of my time with #DotardDon acting the usual fool. There just isn’t much I can do right now as I’m still waiting on the donor car to be delivered and for the engine hoist of my dreams to magically appear in my garage to remove the engine and transmission from the donor vehicle.

I’m ready to do something, but there’s nothing I can do until I get some pieces of paper with pictures of dead guys on them. I know what I need to do to the engine, I’ll know what I need to build the frame once I get the engine out of the donor vehicle to measure where the mounts go, I know how I’ll get the transmission to shift once it’s in the car, I even know where the fuel tank and battery go. I’m ready and raring to go, but I have no place to go. I can’t even rev my engine because the engine is sitting across town in a rusty minivan. Actually it is sitting two towns over in a 21 YO rusty minivan, waiting for me to come get it. I really need to go there and start the engine and let it run a while to make sure it doesn’t seize up from lack of use.

I also need to write, but lack something to write about other than Twitter and the comics I have been reading. Just to go and do nothing requires buying a $5 bus pass to get there. Problem is I don’t even have the $5 right now to go do nothing (or go to the library or something). We are in that time of the month when there was more month than money. Most of the little side gigs I used to have to scare up a few bucks have dried up, and the ones I still have are not making up the difference no matter how hard I work them. The mobile game I played is gone. The other gigs are paying out pretty much the same. I can’t find regular work with all the abuse my body has been through and because when I get assessed for disability my injuries are considered separately I don’t get any money because I can still “work”. I can’t do any of the jobs they suggest because what they suggest for one problem is exactly what I can’t do anymore because of another problem, then they do the exact opposite of suggesting a job I could do with that one thing wrong that I can’t do because of the first thing.

Basically I have two handicaps compared to what I was. First is my mind is not as nimble as it used to be. I still come up with solutions to problems, but what used to be nearly instantaneous is now a prolonged process. Second is because of the scar tissue around the various things they had to put back together in my left leg there is a lot of things I physically can’t do, like getting down on the ground and getting back up quickly. Getting up from the ground is a major deal requiring room and time. But if you read this blog much you already knew that. I’m physically and mentally slow compared to what I was before the wreck. And I never was much good before the wreck except for mental work. Physically I have always been a slug.

Enough complaining, I need to get to bed and let my aches and pains take a break.

Sitting here sweating

Our last window unit seems to be dying and not cooling and I’m suffering in an 86°F(30°C) office. I’m pretty much covered in sweat and somewhat smelly or maybe more than just somewhat smelly. I am seriously lacking energy from all the heat, but there is an up side to this: my back is not hurting much while the muscle is nice and warm. I was able to get to sleep without using pain relievers last night. I made the mistake of also not taking the diphenhydramine I use to shut the brain down so I can sleep, so I basically didn’t get to sleep for anything more than a catnap and woke up again around noon. I’m bobbing and weaving in my chair so I think I will be able to get to sleep early.

And I think I will take that trip to bed shortly.

No post tomorrow, guess why?

Something happened 16 years ago at 0119 so I’m not doing a post tomorrow. Yep tomorrow is my Death Day. I’m celebrating all day long, not because I died, but because I’m too stubborn to stay dead. I have a flipping frequent customer card for the ferry to Hades with 3 check marks on it already. It makes me wonder if other people have cards like that and can we see each other’s cards? Anywho, it’s going to be as much of a party as I can stand at Casa de El Poeta tomorrow. I’m out of anti-depressants so I can drink as much as I want (not that I’m a big drinker). Probably no more than 2 beers tops.

I’m not going to kid you that the last 16 years were a walk in the park. Between the loss of income and the ongoing medical costs it has been a struggle even with the lab rat gig. And when Mrs. the Poet retired it got even worse, because she kicked out all the people renting rooms so we lost about $400 a month from the rental and another $300 from going from her paycheck to her pension. That was a serious financial hit. And besides the poverty there were also medical issues not covered by the lab rat gig. Like the fact that the injured leg is shorter than the other leg, like the brain damage, like the depression, like the back pain from the short leg, like… The list is endless but the brain damage keeps me from being able to remember everything at the moment.

So after beating the odds big time I’m taking the day off to do something not related to bicycle safety or anything else related to what put me in this situation. Maybe I’m going to work on the front axle of the TGS2, maybe I’m going to make a pie. I don’t know yet. I’m going to read web comics first, maybe pop a beer.

See y’all in two days.

Lots of road course racing this weekend

There are two road courses today on the tube and one yesterday. And there was an Indycar race from a short (by Indycar standards) oval. And for those wondering we are way north (about 250 miles) of the hurricane down on the coast so all we have gotten was a few showers and some slightly damp kitties. I’m worried about my Houston friends as H is getting drowned with feet (not inches) of rain. Last report they are expecting 5 feet of rain total. I have some friends living less than ¼ mile from the Brazos river which is way out of its banks last report. I’m especially worried for them and their dogs.

I have been thinking about the Mini Sprint-T and the scale mockup for the TGS2 as they both need a body. What I have been thinking about is making a mold off of the AMT kit body then casting a plug from Bondo to use making a vacuformed body after making the desired body modifications to the plug. The plug would then be split in half to draw the body material over to a form with no undercuts so the body can be removed easily from the mold. The TGS2 mold would have the rear hatch molded separately so it can be hinged to work on the engine and I can test side versus top hinges for access to the rear suspension and engine.

Still thinking about making the little V6 run on E85 only. There is a hypereutectic piston I can use that is flat topped and can be zero-decked for the minimum clearance between the head and the piston, and then the heads will have to be angle-milled to shrink the combustion chamber in the head without taking too much material off the bottom of the head. And I realize that the preceding sentence read like technobabble to about 90% of my readers who were not brought up hard-core gearheads, but every word was a valid technical term or connecting word between. IOW it was all English, just not a common dialect of English. Translation: There is a cast piston made with a low expansion rate high-strength aluminum alloy that is flat across the top and can be fitted flush with the top of the cylinder. Then the heads will have to be milled on an angle with more taken off on the big side of the combustion chamber to get the chamber as small as required with the least amount of material removed. Hypereutectic pistons can support about 375 HP on gas for this engine, and I’m only hunting 225 to 250 HP with cooler-burning E85 so well within estimated stress limits, plus they are inexpensive especially compared to forged pistons. In this case that is especially true because forged pistons would have to be custom made, they aren’t available as regular production items.

The last sentence of the previous paragraph pretty much sums up my biggest frustration with this build, almost everything is $pecial order or cu$tom made, especially in the engine. Some of that is because there were no performance applications for this engine aside from the 1991 Shelby Can Am series which only made 150 engines putting out about 225 HP. The other reason is the last one left the production line in 2011, 6 years ago. Compare this to the ubiquitous SBC that was in production as a factory-installed engine from 1955-2001 and is still in production as a replacement engine for emission controlled vehicles of that era, and as a crate engine for new cars that are not required to meet emissions controls like the Sprint-T. There were literally tens of millions of SBC made in dozens of different sizes from 265 to 455 cubic inches when you include the hybrids made from mixing different blocks and cranks. One of those hybrids actually made production status as the Z28 302 in3, which was a hybrid of the 283 crank in a 327/350 block. One of the most popular hybrids is the 400 crank in a 350 block bored 4.030″ to produce 383 in3. How popular is it? There are now twice as many 400 cranks as there were 400 SBC engines made, the aftermarket is producing brand new cranks with the 3.750″ stroke of the 400 crank with the smaller main journals of the 350 block. It’s even easier to get parts for the LS/LT engine families than it is the 3.3/3.8l Mopar V6.

And that’s enough kvetching about the free engine I was given, at least stock replacement parts are cheap and easy to find because of the millions of them on the road. And some of those factory parts are suitable for use in a high-performance engine with a little preparation, like balancing or grinding off flash and light polishing to remove stress risers.

And I have to go now because my friends on the Gulf are finally starting to check in and I don’t want to miss any. Also my back is starting to hurt again. I did pretty well for several hours today but the pains are back.

Last post for a while

OK quick post before I have to pack and go. The laptop can’t travel, the phone hasn’t been set up to blog, and I don’t know what my service will be like for my phone anyway. The house sitter will be here in the morning to feed the cats. And I will get to see Mrs. the Poet again after 6 weeks Wednesday. Back is giving me fits but as long as I sit up straight I’m OK.

Posting again Thursday after next.

Almost recovered from yesterday

I don’t know what I did yesterday but it was literally a pain. I used to get pains in my lower back way back when I first started walking after the wreck which is how we discovered the short leg issue. This pain is highly similar to that, but I can’t trace why it came back after so many years. I ditched the lifted shoe over a year ago because it had failed to alleviate the pain when I was walking barefoot part of the time, and part of the time walking with the lift. I think a big part of my problems is the amount of time I sit with my pelvis level and then walk with the tilt.

There wasn’t much heat to deal with as there was a heavy cloud cover and spotty showers all day long. I got more moisture from showers than I did sweat. And most of the places I went to had AC turned way too strong so whatever slightly over-warm I experienced was countered by cold AC shortly thereafter.

On the Lab Rat Keeper front I’m in a new study for 3 years. The most I can say under my NDA is they are working on a surgical cure for hypertension (high BP), and I will get an overnight hospital stay after the surgery. Then spend the next 3 years getting poked and prodded and periodically drained of blood. Right now I’m in the washout period where I get rid of all the medication reducing my BP. Then tests to “qualify” my blood pressure, then schedule the surgery, then the procedure, then 36 months of monitoring for effectiveness and side effects.

On other things tomorrow I get to pay my phone bill and buy the replacement stones for the hone, and get a little walking in. And maybe grab a burger from Whataburger. I can still handle a cheeseburger or a pizza without getting hit by a lactose gut bomb gas attack, so I’m going with my favorite Bacon Cheese Jalapeño Whataburger. And fries and a Coke Zero in the combo.

On the TGS2 I’m getting the replacement stones for the hone like I said in the previous paragraph, which means I can get the kingpins installed on the spindles and the spindles on the axle, and another thing off the list for building my car. Then I can get the exact measurement for the tie rod and get started on building it. I’m still deciding on steel tubing or carbon fiber, one is quick and cheap, the other is light and just as strong but expensive even if you build it yourself. Either way I will use the threaded weld bungs to provide an attachment point for the rod ends. With the carbon fiber I would use a EPS core and extend the carbon fiber over the bung right up to the threads. With the steel tube I would just weld it in and metal-finish the joint to make it look like a single hunk of metal that had been whittled to shape like I used to do building bikes. Then I used brass brazing rod as a filler and filed the brass down and painted over it. That’s how I won my class in the car show many years ago. The carbon fiber tie rod would get a UV absorbing clear coat while the steel one would get matt black epoxy or powdercoat.

And since I have stuff to do tomorrow I’m gonna put this one to bed.