Thursday, March 20, 2014

The BunBun Guide to Rabbit Positions

I haven't posted pictures of BunBun lately. I'm sure I take pictures on a daily basis as Mommy is usually out of town and with technology the way it is these days, a quick snapshot of Bun or Daddy takes only a split second to go from my device (phone) to her device thousands of miles away. It helps when we are apart for long periods of time and when Pae starts missing home while working ;)

So yeah, if you looked on my computer in a folder called "Bungy" you'd find literally thousands of photos of him. There's only so much a bunny can do, and they have basically only a handful of body positions that they can be commonly found in. Here are some of Bungy's positions:

1) Crocodile position
Whenever Bun is just hanging out and wants to know what's going on all around him, he'll find a good vantage point where he can see everybody in the room.
He usually will assume the crocodile position somewhere near an electrical cord or just in the middle of the floor, usually with something to lean against or on top of.
This is a sign of comfort in rabbits and they are prey animals and only relax like this when they feel comfortable with their surroundings.

2) Chicken Pot Pie position
This position has several names, Chicken Pot Pie and Meatloaf being the two most common in our home. Bun will sit in this position when he comes to hang out close to Mommy or Daddy. Sometimes he huddles up in his Meatloaf position in a corner where it is dark and he can just relax and start falling asleep, like a midday nap.
I think he is quite comfortable when he is in this position. This is also the position in which he looks the chubbiest. Sometimes Pae jiggles his top half and his bottom half starts to jiggle like a bowl of jello...the momentum of the jelly belly has a life of its own and just keeps on jiggling!
Bun will also assume this position when he wants to be petted. He'll actually walk up to your hand, stick his nose under your hand and force it over his head, then he'll "chicken" in position and make you pet him. Similar to when a cat rubs itself on your leg.

3) Flop position aka "Floppo"
When Bun is super comfortable and ready for some serious nap action, he "flops". A flop for a rabbit is when they throw their body onto their side to sleep. Their joints aren't made to where they are able to just lie down on their sides like a dog or a cat. They actually have to throw themselves into the horizontal-side position.

It's funny to watch Bun prepare himself for a flop. He'll smell the area, measure it out to see if his head will be comfortable and that his longy body will fit, he'll sometimes scratch at the floor where he will flop and then ha does a few "practice swings" like a golfer and then he almost violently throws his body into the air and falls into the perfect napping position. Sometimes his ear will flop over and cover one of his eyes...sometimes it flops above his head and he looks like a unicorn bunny ;)
Bun will generally flop in a small, confined area, with cover or shelter. Lately I've caught him flopping right at my feet. They say that rabbits are more likely to flop when they are totally comfortable with their surroundings. Bun is a Floppo Master.

4) Tahan (Thai word for soldier)
When Bun wants to be out of everybody's way, but still wants to be able to have an eye on us, he goes special ops. We call this his "Tahan" position. Tahan is the Thai noun  for "soldier".
Couldn't find Bun once...he was cruisin' flatty style under the sofa
So, Bun low crawls and hides himself under a couch or chair or any other low clearance piece of furniture and all you can sometimes see is whiskers or an ear.
The main thing that reminds us of a soldier is that he has to low crawl himself under the furniture! Sometimes he'll start at one end of the couch and low crawl on his belly all the way to the far end to get a perfect vantage point of the whole room.
The other day I caught him trying to Tahan (we made a verb out of "Tahan", haha) but he had forgotten to hide his bottom area! Hahaha!!
And sometimes he's in the reverse-Tahan position!

5) Armpit Petting and Head Petting positions
Bun has a habit of sleeping or getting comfortable in the crack of your arm in the early morning or late evening. He'll jump up wherever you are laying or sitting (or slouching in my case) and Tahan his way into the crack of your arm.
At this point, he expects you to squeeze your arm against your body to make him squished tightly and comfortably in what Pae and I call the "Armpit position". He easily falls asleep and starts dreaming and twitching in this position. He crunches his teeth, similar to a cat's purr, when he is being "armpitted".
This is about as close to holding BunBun as you can get. He doesn't like to be picked up or held.

6) Feed Me/Pay Attention to Me position
Yes, the container contains BunBun's food. Usually, when he wants some attention, this is his way to beg. Beg for attention, beg for food, beg for ice in his cage.
Sometimes he'll sit there for several minutes, patiently waiting for someone to notice him. When you approach him, he'll stick his neck out as if smelling to see if you have food for him. Then he'll jump down into his cage and step in his food bowl, waiting for something crunchy.
Sometimes he will fall asleep up there, must be a comfortable position ;)

7) Ices position
Yes, I realize that ice is a non-countable noun (when referring to it as water in the frozen form) and doesn't have a plural...but Bun calls his frozen bottles of water "ices". Rabbits can get hot and Bangkok is a very hot place. To combat the heat, we leave a bottle of ice in Bun's cage once or twice a day, especially when we're not home. Bun loves sitting on his ices.
You can't see Bun's ices in this picture, but rest assured, it's there under his chubbiness
He will often zone out or go into a trance of pleasure and comfort when perched upon or straddling his ices ;) He's pretty funny because sometimes even when his ice has been melted for a day, he'll still run to the bottle of warm water and sit on it and act comfortable.

So if you ever come visit, you're likely to find BunBun in one of these positions. Whether it be chickening at your feet or chilling on his ices, he'll be there, chubby cheeks and wiggly noses making you smile :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ankle Report

Well, my third visit to the doctor concerning my bum ankle offered me some hope by way of what was said, but I really don't feel any better. My third time was to an ankle specialist. He played with my ankle and foot a little bit, looked at a "pre-TNF" x-ray and decided that I had a total tear of one ligament and a partial tear of another ligament on the lateral side of the ankle joint.
He determined this mainly from noticing that my ankle joint is too loose (by doing the "drawer test"), can be pulled back and forth which shouldn't be able to happen when the ligaments are healthy. He said that I could start running again as long as I avoided uneven surfaces and inclines/declines. He gave me a bunch of physical therapy exercises to do for strengthening of the ankle joint, leg muscles and to stimulate the healing of the messed up stuff down there.

I've been messing around a little already with some of the balancing exercises, but now I'll be doing them twice daily. I tried to swim at the beach last week, not good. Plantar flexion of the ankle causes great pain. I'm supposed to go see him again in three weeks, but the Thai holidays are spread out for the next few months, so I'll end up going to see him again in May. Any bad ankle action between now and then means I'll see him or some other doctor before May.

I want to believe the guy. I want to run.

I don't really want to go get a second opinion (third opinion really) at another hospital.

Three days I've had permission to run...but I am afraid to lace'em up and do more damage to the ankle.

We have several runs that we are looking forward to, this year and next. I want to be healthy for 2015's The North Face 100 which Eric and I are leaning towards running the 100km solo distance, our farthest distance ever.

I'm also afraid to get too excited about the other four runs that I want to do this year as I feel that I may miss one or all of them if the ankle doesn't get better. I mean, I can run a marathon right now if you told me to, but at what cost?

In May the longest but perhaps the easiest race that I want to get excited about is the Suanpruek 10 hour Ultra Marathon. I say it's the easiest one because it's just 10 hours of walking and running. You can even stop for lunch. It's a competition to see who can go the farthest in 10 hours. 100km would be my healthy goal for that race. 80ish km might be more reasonable considering the ankle and considering it is in six or seven weeks. I haven't run in over a month. I think this run would be a good one to see how the body reacts to the distance, how it reacts to taking in nutrition during the race, how it reacts to the heat of the mid-summer sun (6am to 4pm will be sizzling in May), obviously how the ankle holds up and just to see how it feels to run up near the 50 mile mark (what is that, 81km?). It will basically give a good feel for what TNF will feel like, minus the trails.

In June, there is the Sukhothai Marathon. This is the second time this one has been run and it is a sister marathon to the Ayutthaya Marathon...same organizer, Unique Running. I figure, coming off of a 10 hour effort in May, this run will be difficult and probably one that I would go 90-100% as far as effort goes. I mean, heck, these Unique Running Marathons don't have prize money, so the REALLY fast guys aren't there and it's a great chance for a top 10 finish ;) I jest!

In July, I want to run the Pattaya Marathon again, even though I swore to never even step foot in that city ever again after the first time I suffered through that course. This year, if Eric and I run Pattaya, it will be in full trail gear and running at probably a much easier pace than we would run a marathon normally. We will run the whole thing together as practice, again, for TNF 100 in 2015. This race would likely mark only the second time that we would have run a full race together, the first being our first marathon ever in Bangkok.

August, September and October will likely have some marathons, but nothing really looks too appealing locally. If they run the Bangkok Ultra Trail 50K again, I'll certainly consider it though.

November will be our annual running of the Bangkok Marathon and December we both need to go and defend our age category 5th place trophies at the Ayutthaya Marathon, hahahahaha!!!

Okay, I'm getting excited, which I was trying not to do. I could be setting my self up for disappointment, but that's okay. I'd rather be excited about these races (running is my hobby and it brings me joy) and end up disappointed than wallowing in gloom and self pity for the next nine months. Sometimes it truly isn't the destination, but the journey...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Year of the Horse(pital)...see what I did there? ;)


2014 has been here going on three months already and Pae and I have been to the hospital more than probably in the past five years combined. We make it for minor illnesses every now and then, but nothing like this first three months of the year. Okay, it's not that bad, but it just seems like we've been to the hospital a lot!!

January started with me busting my ankle at a run in Pattaya, which has been previously documented. I've been putting off going back to see the doctor for either a second opinion or follow up because I don't want to be wearing a soft cast around school. So many stairs to go up and down, just annoying. So, as summer vacation starts this month, I plan to go to have the ankle reassessed this weekend. The pain is the same as the first week of the injury, although I can walk no problem, just going down stairs or scuffing my heel on anything just kills inside the ankle joint. I know, it didn't help that I ran a 50 kilometer trail run in this condition.
Enough about me! Unfortunately, this is the space where I have to tell you about Pae's 2014 bad luck. Right now she is suffering from some pain in her esophagus, not a sore throat, but something lower near the area that would be painful if you had acid reflux or something like that. It's just entering the peak of the infection and even with antibiotics she's in a lot of discomfort.
Before this, she was cleaning our upstairs. She decided to go and sweep in an area that we never go into as there is a shrine to the relatives of the landlord in that area. We just never go in there. It was dusty and dirty so she figured a good sweeping was in order. First step onto the area that is above our staircase and she fell through the ceiling!! Not all the way through though. Her whole left leg went through the wood and the ceiling and was dangling out of the ceiling below. I'm sure Bungy was wondering that the heck was going on.
So, this floor ended up being eaten out and weakened by termites. Luckily, the 2x4s framing the area were so eaten up that they were very weak. I say "luckily" because all of the rusty nails were sticking out of the frame right were Pae's leg went through. There were three of them that were pointing straight up and two that I saw that had broken off with the pieces of wood that they were nailed into. Had the wood been strong, these would have acted as fillet knives and splayed her calf and thigh and she'd have had a life altering injury. We were pretty lucky I think.
After the initial shock of suddenly going through the floor wore off, she had to try to figure out how to get her leg out. The wood and panel board of the floor and ceiling went down but then sprung back up into place and taking her leg out was challenging. Like a "pair" of Chinese handcuffs...remember those? Except add splintered wood and nails to the mix!
She didn't have her phone with her, I was at school, Bunbun does not have opposable thumbs ;) so she had to manage everything by herself. Eventually she was able to free herself from the ceiling (her thigh was fully through the floor, upper thigh) and call me at school. I work about 200-300 meters from home, so I was home immediately and found Pae sitting near the door waiting for me with a bloody and scraped leg. I looked to the right and the debris from termite damage and the shattered ceiling was at the bottom of the staircase.
After I saw that her injuries weren't causing any massive loss of blood and that she was not suffering in shock or anything, I checked out the floor and ceiling where she fell. I was mostly looking for rusty nails and such, which I found many...so the hospital was a must, not just for basic first aid and to prevent infection, but for a tetanus shot.
We got to the hospital emergency room and after being triaged as a less immediate concern compared to the lady with a busted collar bone (moped accident?), the lady who chopped off half of her thumb (watched the doctor sew it up), and the man who just walked it, "What happened to you?", "I got beat up.", Pae was eventually seen by the doctor who jammed his finger into the knee that was swollen. Pae's face was like "What the!!!!???" and he sent her for an x-ray.
She had scrapes from her toes to her thigh. Her knuckles had lost skin and were bleeding too, but her knee took the brunt of the force. When I recreate the fall in my mind, I see her stepping on the weak floor and immediately her leg just goes right through. Reflex probably caused her to bend her knee, she held on to the rail of the stairs and her knee took out a good portion of the paneling that the floor was made of. Her knee hit one of the framing 2x4s and the rest of the leg scraped its way straight through, ouch.
Sucks but again, I think we're lucky that the rest of the framing in the floor was strong and she didn't fall all the way to the first floor...So bug eaten wood with nails were weak and prevented her from ripping the muscle to the bone and not so eaten wood was stronger and prevented her whole body from falling through the ceiling to the first floor.
She got her tetanus shot and after three+ hours in the emergency room, we were on our way home. We've been for checkups and such, been to pharmacies, been to do this and that...so it seems like we've been at the hospital all year already! One more visit for me in the next few days and possibly one more visit for Pae before she goes back to work. She's been on sick leave for over a week now.
Through it all we've been mostly healthy and trying to look at the positives rather than obvious negatives. We try ;) After building such a habit of running 4-5 times a week and having some important races on the horizon this year, running only once in the past two months has been torture, but I just try to forget about it otherwise I'll go mad.

Pae is missing work but not "missing" work ;) She hurts in different ways and different body parts. Just as the leg is starting to heal, the esophagitis kicks in and has become something that keeps her up at night and has her on a soft diet and a pharmaceutical cocktail, which is no fun for her and hard for me to see her suffering.

Otherwise, we're both great! Be kind to us 2014 ;) Wishing you all good health throughout the rest of 2014.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Crossing Paths with a Brother

This past weekend I was able to visit with one of my all time best buddies, Woody. Woody and I served in the Marines together and could always be seen together in Hawaii before he left for an officer program. Woody went to school and became a Navy officer and is doing well.
He was in Thailand for a couple weeks on an exercise and let me know where he would be. He only had one day off, so I drove down to spend a couple hours with him. We really were only able to catch up and chit chat, not really enough time to do anything else.

When you catch up with someone after 20 years, it's not like just walking back into the same relationship you had when you were involved in each others' lives on a daily basis. Woody and I barely email each other once a year, perhaps on the Marine Corps Birthday in November and that's about it.

We exchanged a couple messages after I got back home from our visit and it occurred to me that I've actually seen him on more occasions that I have my own mother!! Or equal? Let's see, since I last saw him in the Marines in maybe 1993, I saw mom in 199x visiting after returning from Hawaii, Woody again in like 2002 in Park City, Woody in California in 2004,  Mom for BYU graduation in 2004, Woody in 2006ish in D.C., Mom in 2006 to drop off the cats...hmmm...Mom again in 2013 then Woody in 2014...about equal I'd say ;) So I've seen my own mom only 4 times in the past 20 years! Wow!! Love you, mom!!


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