Archive for July, 2010

How I Make My Own “Custom” Orthotics…

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a podiatrist, foot doctor, orthotic specialist, etc.  I’m just an average, run-of-the-mill schmuck who thought $400 per pair for custom orthotics was excessive.

In December, 2008, I woke up unable to walk on my left foot.  I was diagnosed with “Posterior Tibial Tendonitis, Type II.”  The result was a fallen arch.  The ankle specialist (an orthopedic surgeon) prescribed an orthopedic boot ($225) for 6 weeks, followed by physical therapy & custom orthotic insert ($400).

Not knowing what I know now, I paid full price ($225) for the orthopedic boot.  Unfortunately, I could have gotten a used one on eBay for $45; a new one on eBay for $75; and a new one from MedexSupply for $104.  My insurance didn’t cover any portion of the boot.  Didn’t really care as the boot took away all the pain I had been experiencing.

Next came the custom orthotic inserts for $400.  Again, not knowing anything about these, I went ahead and purchased a set.  Of course, my insurance paid nothing for orthotic inserts either.

I wore the orthotic inserts for a week and went back because they were painful, especially on my left foot.  It felt like it needed more arch support.  The orthotic specialist placed a HAPAD, Inc.Scaphoid Pad” (medial arch pad made of felt) on the left orthotic insert.  Although it didn’t hurt as much, it now felt like it had too much arch support.

Scaphoid PadsScaphoid Pads

I hate wearing shoes when I get home from work.  Inside, I used to always go barefoot in the summer; barefoot w/thick socks in the winter.  Outside, when not at work, I always wore sandals.  Well, now the doctor says NOT to go barefoot or wear sandals.  I tried to place the orthotic inserts in a pair of my sandals, but no go — they just slid out the back.  The orthotic guy sold me a pair of cheap crocs ($36) in which he placed the HAPAD, Inc. scaphoid pads ($25) & said I could wear those.  They felt pretty good, but the crocs pretty much sucked.

Crocks w/scaphoid pads

I was now anxious to see if I could place these scaphoid pads in my sandals.  I went to the HAPAD, Inc. web site & found that for fallen arches, they recommended the Longitudinal Metatarsal Arch Pads for $5.75 per pair.  Their Scaphoid Pads are only $5.25 per pair (almost 5 times less than the orthotics shop sold them for).

Longitudinal Metatarsal Arch Pads

I first placed the scaphoid pads in two pair of my sandals.  They felt great!  I removed them & then installed the Longitudinal Metatarsal Arch Pads.  They felt even better!  In fact, much better than the custom orthotic inserts felt in my regular walking shoes.  I got to wondering if I could use these in all my regular shoes.

Sandals w/scaphoid padsSandals w/longitudinal metatarsal arch pads

Well… that’s primarily what HAPAD manufactures them for — shoes, not necessarily sandals.  HAPAD also sells Comf-Orthotic Sports & Extra Cushioning Insoles ($14.50), and these are perfect for placement on top of the Longitudinal Metatarsal Arch Pads or Scaphoid Pads that are placed in the bottom of each shoe.

HAPAD Comf-Orthotic insoles

Oh… before doing this, you need to remove whatever insole is present in your shoes.  I’ve found some shoes in which the insole is glued in… it’s difficult to use them with these pads unless you can get the original insoles out.

Anywho’s… I’ve been wearing my “custom” orthotics (HAPAD Longitudinal Metatarsal Arch Pads with Comf-Orthotic Sports or Extra Cushioning Insoles) in all my shoes for over a year now & my feet haven’t felt this good in over a decade.  In addition, with either the scaphoid pads or longitudinal metatarsal arch pads, I still get to wear all my sandals whenever I want, including all day, with my feet still feeling great.  Only thing I don’t do anymore is go barefoot.

Shoes w/insoles removed & longitudinal metatarsal arch pads insertedShoes w/longitudinal metatarsal arch pads & Comf-Orthotic insolesShoes w/longitudinal metatarsal arch pads & Comf-Orthotic insoles

And the cost?  For shoes, about $20 per pair.  For sandals (pads only), less than $6 per pair.  Sure beats the heck out of $400 custom orthotics!

Note:  If you visit the HAPAD web site via their home page, be sure to enter the “Patient Guide” side vs. the “Physician’s Guide” side, as the prices are slightly less on the Patient side.

SPC — Subconcious Poop Control

I’ve always wondered why it is that I never have to poop when I’m somewhere where it would be either extremely inconvenient to take a dump; extremely difficult to take a dump; or nigh impossible to take a dump.  Even over a 3 day (or more) period!  Why is that?  I certainly didn’t “will” myself to NOT have the urge to poop (although I’d certainly relish that ability!).  Yet when I’m in a “poop-friendly” environment (i.e., my own home), when the urge to poop arrives, I’ve usually got only a minute or two to hit the toilet before all hell breaks loose.  Luckily, over my lifetime, I’ve always been able to reach a toilet in time.  So again I ask — why hasn’t this ever occurred when a toilet isn’t conveniently available or I’m in a “poop-unfriendly” environment?  For example, I never get the urge to poop when driving (unless I have diarrhea, in which case there’s a nasty rumor that I shit my pants on my way to work… unfortunately, it’s true).

In summary:

  • I never need or get the urge to poop when I’m somewhere where I can’t poop or it would be extremely difficult or inconvenient to do so (i.e., a “poop-unfriendly” environment) .
  • I get the urge to poop & poop often when I’m in a “poop-friendly” environment

Is this normal?  Don’t know.  Is this bad?  Don’t think so.  It’s just that when I get less than a 2-minute warning of imminent poop when I’m in a poop-friendly environment, it makes me wonder (not to mention, worry) what would happen if I was in a “Poop-Unfriendly” environment.  Luckily, it’s never happened over the past 4+ decades.

I’ve never had a ‘regular’ poop schedule except for about a week one summer when I was 20 years old.  At that time I did have a schedule where I went poop every morning around 2:00 AM.  But there were unusual circumstances (i.e., it was a very “poop-unfriendly” environment).  It was the summer after my freshman year in college & I was a 4th Class Navy Midshipman stationed at the San Diego Naval Station for training.  A hundred or so of us were housed in condemned barracks that were slated for destruction.  The only bathroom available to us was approx. 20 ft x 40 ft in size, with a urinal trough running down one side of the long wall (no dividers).  Across from the trough urinal was a row of a dozen or more toilets, approximately 3 ft apart, with NO dividers, NO stalls, NO NOTHING.  Well… I have enough difficulties just taking a leak (when sober) standing 12″ away from someone else with no divider in place.  There is no way in hell I could poop out in the open in a room full of people AND sitting right next to one or two other folks.  Remember–no stalls; no dividers; no NOTHING!  So… without any decision or conscious thinking on my part, I’d wake up around 2 AM every night with the urge to poop, and I had the bathroom ALL to my little self.  Well… almost all to myself.  There were these huge roaches that you could hear walking across the bathroom floor.  The lights went out automatically @ 10PM & we couldn’t turn them on.  I purposely kept my flashlight off just so I couldn’t see how many of the huge buggers were in there with me, tip-tapping across the floor…

OK… enough crap.  I’m pooped.

What do Baby Guinea Hens look like?

Yes!  Just what you’ve been waiting for!  Pictures of baby guinea hens!  Guinea hens are native to Africa, but Wikipedia says that their proper name is “Guineafowl.”  I can vouch for the “fowl” part — they can be both loud & obnoxious (not to mention, just plain “fowl”).

These are the remaining two chicks from six live ones that the mothers let the Magpies ravage.  After the Magpie massacre, one chick & a couple eggs remained.  My wife put the eggs in with the chickens & one more guinea hen hatched, giving us the two in these pictures.

My wife has a thing for guinea hens & loves watching them.  I suppose I, too, have a thing for guinea hens… but MY thing involves a shotgun (heh, heh).

Anyway’s… the chicks are cute for the first couple weeks… then they start growing quickly, get ugly, and STINK!  (kinda’ like me, I suspect).

Baby Guinea Hens (Guineafowl)Baby Guinea Hens (Guineafowl)Baby Guinea Hens (Guineafowl)Baby Guinea Hens (Guineafowl)

Great Copyright Essay!!! (The Purpose of Copyright Law)

If you haven’t read any of the items in my previously posted “Copyright/Intellectual Property (IP) Reading List” (and I assume you haven’t), then please read this excellent essay by Lydia Pallas Loren titled “The Purpose of Copyright Law.”  Ms. Loren, an Associate Professor of Law, Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, does a superb job of providing a succinct overview of US copyright law — from a brief history to our current (& sad) situation today.  She  astutely explains “... the misunderstanding held by many who believe that the primary purpose of copyright law is to protect authors against those who would pilfer the author’s work.

Copyright is simply a government-granted monopoly to (from the Constitution) “…promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

Well… when first enacted in the U.S., “limited times” meant 14 years, renewable only once for an additional 14 years.  As Ms. Loren notes, “…we must all realize that too broad a monopoly will impede rather than promote that progress on which this country was founded.

While Ms. Loren doesn’t advocate eliminating copyright protection, as far as I’m concerned — copyright is already dead & buried.  Congress, at the whim of the content owning industries, has so distorted the meaning of “limited times” and copyright law in general (not to mention the 1997 No Electronic Theft Act or 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act) that as far as I’m concerned, US copyright law as it exists today has been rendered completely invalid.

Copyright law?  What copyright law?  Congress has destroyed it!