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Elbow-redom…Now with less baggage!!

August 19th, 2006 · 11 Comments

People have emailed me asking about my elbow…

I tweaked it again on the 14th. It hurts like mad now. As I was landing in KSMF, I reached forward of the thrust levers for the reverse-thrust-levers, which I actuated by grabbing them with my left hand and flexing the wrist upward to extend the levers.


Pain, then pins-and-needles. Worse than the first time it happened several weeks ago.

I decided that afternoon that I was through playing games with it, and I called my domicile secretary and asked her to take an On-the-job-injury report. I promised her I’d see the doctor on my off-days following the trip I was on. I didn’t think it was necessary to pull myself off the trip for something that I could bear (barely).

The doctor says it’s lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow.

He prescribed whate he called a “splint” for me to wear, although it wasn’t what I figured it’d be. It’s merely a strap that velcros around my left forearm and supposedly provides some support for the inflamed tendons as well as some relief of the pain. It works to a certain degree, but the pain is still there.

I’m supposed to go for physical therapy three times a week for three weeks. Yeah. That’ll happen with my schedule. I’m also supposed to head back for a follow-up in three weeks. If the strap and therapy don’t help me, the next option is a cortizone/steroid shot. And if that doesn’t work, I imagine it’ll probably mean surgery.

At any rate, the doctor proclaimed that I could return to work with no restrictions, so I’ll be leaving again tomorrow evening for a three-day trip that starts Sunday morning in Phoenix. We’ll see how it acts.


The last trip I flew was a four-day, with overnights in KCMH, KSMF, and KGEG. It has to have been the very LONGEST four-day-trip I’ve ever experienced, and the reason for that rests solely on the captain I was paired with.

Most guys (captains especially), when beginning a trip with someone they’ve never met before, do their best to make a positive first-impression with the person they’re about to spend four days with in the cockpit. There’ll be a cordial “Good morning!” and an introduction. Then there’s usually some small-talk, where-ya-from, get-to-know-you kind of stuff.

Well, this guy walked right by me in the jetbridge as I stood there, hand extended, and said “Mornin’! I’m…”

Okay. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and figure he didn’t see me (a 6’3″, 280 pound first officer) standing there. I went up to the flight deck after he’d gotten settled and tried again. I introduced myself again as I stood in the doorway, and I received a dead-fish handshake and a name from him, all while he was still facing the instrument panel.

We flew four legs that first day and he didn’t utter a single word to me other than checklist challenge-and-response items. When we arrived at our overnight, he strode off well ahead of the rest of his crew and was on his way to the hotel. When the flight-attendants and I arrived, we find that he’s already checked himself in and headed up to his room…and without leaving a lobby-time (an agreed-upon time for us to meet the next morning to head to the airport) on the sign-in sheet.

When something like this happens, a guy gets to wondering: “What’d I do/say or not do/not say to set him off?”

So the next morning, I asked him.

“I’m just not a Chatty Cathy.” he tells me. Funny thing is that he’ll chat it up with the flight attendants all day long. Heck he was even CIVIL to them!

While talking with the cabin crews we had during our trip, I find that it isn’t just me that’s wondering about our captain’s deal. Many of our flight-attendants that trip had flown with him before and had seen other first-officers have identical issues. So I decided to just keep to myself. For the rest of the trip, I did nothing but work by the letter of my job description, all while staring out the right window as the terrain slowly eased past. Of course, I did it all in a very professional manner. But going the extra mile as I’m used to doing just wasn’t appealing to me.

And at the end of the trip, I was the first off the airplane.


So there’s an up-side to the whole TSA no-liquids-or-gels-in-carryon-baggage thing. People aren’t willing to part with that stuff, so they’re checking more baggage.

This, in turn, allows us to reduce the actual turn-times of our aircraft. For example, on our flight into KBUR last Saturday, we deplaned 137 people and enplaned another 137 to head back to KPHX. And we did it in 10 minutes.

For the longest time that had been a difficult thing to do, and the primary reason it was so difficult to do was because people had gotten used to packing condominium-sized roller-bags and carrying them onto the airplanes to stow them in the overhead bins. Then they’d spin around in the aisles, desperately searching for any crevace of overhead bin space they could find that was near the seats in which they’d decided to park their kiesters. And when all the crevaces had been filled by black-nylon-clad baggage, they’d have to head to the back of the airplane and drop the enourmous bags with the flight attendant so that she could tag them and carry them all the way to the front again to be stowed in the cargo hold.

So the new TSA rule, even though it’s knee-jerk worry-wart window-dressing stuff, has caused some good things to come about.


And while we’re on the subject of the new TSA rules…

Maybe I’m over-thinking this, but I’m beginning to believe the terrorists are winning.

Even though the bomb plot was foiled last week with no injuries or deaths caused by these scum-of-the-Earth wannabe terrorists, they (the scum) can still call it successful.


Because they were able to get our governments to panic enough to take more of our freedoms away.

Sure, the banning of liquids and gels in carryon luggage is a very minor inconvenience (if it’s an inconvenience at all, really). Sure it’s done for security’s sake. But it’s still an erosion of our normalcy. It’s a direct effect of their efforts to harm the U.S. and its allies. Why should we be made to permanently give up ANY of our freedoms?

So in my opinion, the terrorists really won that small battle. And that really pisses me off. Being able to scare a government into taking personal liberties away from its constituents is POWER. And that’s a power that terrorists should not have.

My hope is that we’ll be able to get back to the way things were. Unfortunately, there will have to be some very grave occurrences in the world, and those occurrences will have to come from a free people who are sick and tired and fed up with muslim extremism.

It’s long past time to really take the gloves off.

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11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 John // Aug 19, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    Sorry to hear about your elbow, GC. I started to suffer from medial epicondylitis (on the inside of the elbow) about 8 months ago. I figure it came from pulling myself into the Caravan cockpit several times a day. At the top of the fold-down ladder, you end up grabbing part of the cargo barrier net to pull yourself up.

    My PT recommended a type of exercise and I did it religiously twice a day. The results were amazing. I was pain-free in about 6 weeks.

    It’s hard to describe the exercise you’d do, so ask your PT about eccentric stretching and weight training.

  • 2 Flightfire // Aug 19, 2006 at 9:15 pm

    Good point on the power issue. I hadn’t thought about it like that.

    I agree with you on the terrorist thing. I don’t want to sound like the liberal whiner that I am, but I think the issue of terrorism has been badly handled from day one.

    September 11th was a horrible event. Of that there is no doubt, but the fact that we declared a “war” on terrorism gives the terrorists a legitimacy as fighters. If you have to fight a war against something, then that something is usually big, dangerous, and worth being afraid of (ie. Germany in WWII).

    What Bush should’ve done on Sept 11th was come out and tell the world that WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF THESE CRIMINALS, and to treat them like the criminals that they are. We’ll catch them, give them a trial and watch as they are injected with potassium chloride.

    But now, we are in a “war on terrorism,” and Muslims flock to the cause not because they agree with the terrorist ideology, but because they want to fight a war against America. Not many want to be a criminal, but lots of people want to be soldiers.

  • 3 GC // Aug 19, 2006 at 9:32 pm

    I don’t want to turn this into anything political, but Bush DID say that we aren’t afraid of these people. The problem is that we’re forced to make changes when they threaten us, and that appears to them as if they’ve scared us.

    This situation (the War on Terror) isn’t going to get any better until we all start getting serious about it. I mean SERIOUS.

    If Islam is (as most Muslims say) 99% peaceful and 1% evil, then why can’t the 99%’ers see a need to rise up within their own faith and drive the miscreants out into the open where they can be eradicated?

    We are drawing near to a point at which we as a civilized society will have to make a very tough decision. Will it be political correctness? Or will it be calling a spade a spade and going all out to make sure that spade is never played again?

    Sane Muslims world-wide need to understand: If you do not uphold, FROM WITHIN, the peacefulness of your religion that the extremists in your faith seem to forget, then the time will inevitably come when the rest of the world grows tired of your inaction and lumps you all together as one. When that time comes, this world will be an ugly place for Islam.

  • 4 Anonymous // Aug 21, 2006 at 11:26 am

    GC– in response to your post (above), what are you proposing? Drop a nuclear bomb on the Middle East? Force all Muslims in the world to convert? Ask everyone to turn in their Muslim neighbors? Round them all up and put them into death camps? If we do that then we might feel temporarily safe, but we would have lost our dignity and humanity, and then the terrorists would have REALLY won.

  • 5 GC // Aug 22, 2006 at 5:02 am

    Why is it that whenever anyone says we need to “Get Serious” about the war on terror, someone relates that to Nazi-esque tactics?

    For some, no action whatsoever would be the ideal. Personally, I think those folks are insane.

    Here’s where I’d start:

    First: Secure our borders. Rome began its decline when it stopped caring about enforcing its borders.

    Second: Put an immediate moratorium on legal immigration. 20,000 a year, max. Require them to learn English if they plan on staying.

    Third: Round up every last illegal alien. Document them. Track them. Let them stay unless they commit a crime or act against the United States by involving themselves in terrorist activity.

    Fourth: Try every newspaper and media outlet for treason when they report things that should remain secret in order for the war to be effective.

    Fifth: Continue ruthless COVERT operations to sever every last head of the terrorism hydra, whether that be here in the U.S. or abroad.

    Sixth: Continue reaching out to Friendly Muslims and Muslim nations. Provide the nations appropriate aid when required. Strive to educate muslims in empoverished countries.

    Seventh: Continue educating the American populace about the war. They need to understand that there is no rapid gratification here. It is going to be a long, drawn out conflict. If we’re smart, we’ll win it.

    And just what do YOU propose, Mr. Anonymous?

  • 6 Anonymous // Aug 23, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    GC– in defense of the anonymous writer who you responded to, you have to admit that you made some strong statements. You wrote things like: “Unfortunately, there will have to be some very grave occurrences in the world…” “…When that time comes, this world will be an ugly place for Islam,” “It’s long past time to really take the gloves off.” Those statements could be misinterpreted.

  • 7 GC // Aug 23, 2006 at 9:17 pm

    What? You think I’d really stand on a soapbox and demand the annihilation of an entire culture? You’ve GOT to be kidding me!

    Those statements are matter-of-fact. Look back over the history of civilization and see if other scenarios haven’t played out in a similar manner.

    There WILL have to be some very grave occurrences in the world to wake up some people to the fact that its unacceptable for any people to be terrorized into submission.

    It IS long past time to take the gloves off. The gloves of which I’m speaking are symbolic of the people who believe that this sort of war can be won without at least partly playing the same game the scum plays. The last thing our government should be worried about are the people who scream “This will make us look bad to the rest of the world!” We’re not the evil ones. We’re fighting the evil ones.

    When Islamic terrorist-scum are responsible for the vast majority of the terrorist activity in the world, why SHOULDN’T the rest of Islam take responsibility for helping to erradicate the world of the violent people within their peaceful religion?

    “Strong statements” should be just the beginning.

  • 8 Aaron DeAngelis // Aug 26, 2006 at 4:32 am

    I’m with you, GC (especially #4 on your “to-do list.”) If we keep losing little-liberties in the name of safety and security, we’ll eventually lose everything.

    It’s frustrating, for sure. The differences in mindsets. The seeming lack of motivation, and short attention span, of our own people. Our own media.

    This is going to be a long war. This isn’t Desert Storm, it isn’t WWII, and it isn’t Vietnam. This is a new kind of conflict.

    Hope your elbow feels better, man!

  • 9 Anonymous // Aug 30, 2006 at 1:54 am

    Regarding your “treason” comments:

    Don’t you think that the terrorist have won, when you start curtailing the freedom of the press to report when things actually DO go wrong?

    You may be a little idealistic here. I can assure you: When beaurocracies get the feeling that they can do whatever they want, because it’s all covered by the blanket of “national security”, they WILL do whatever they want! That’s how banana republics work, but that’s not how the Founding Fathers wanted the US to work. There is a reason for freedom of the press …

    Just had to get this off my chest, since so many people have lost their lives and are losing their lives RIGHT NOW fighting for freedem of the press. Don’t throw that out the window too ligthly!

  • 10 GC // Aug 30, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    When newspapers routinely publish articles regarding our policies and practices in the war we’re fighting, they do nothing but erode and undermine the country’s capability to fight the war.

    During WWII, much information about how we were going about fighting the war was kept from the press. And rightly so. Why let Hitler or Tojo read about what we’re doing in our own papers? Not only that, but learning of certain things (mainly excessive death and destruction) surely wouldn’t have helped rally the people of this great country to the war effort. These sorts of things were kept out of the papers back then. They only came out when the war was over and victory was ours.

    I can assure you: When the press get the feeling that they can report whatever they want, because it’s all covered by the blanket of “freedom of the press”, they WILL report whatever they want! That’s not how the Founding Fathers wanted the press to work. There is a reason for keeping certain things under wraps … it’s called National Security!

    Every American believes in freedom of the press. At this very moment, I am (to a degree) exercising that freedom by typing this response. However, there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that gives me the freedom to conduct espionage and then publish the details for all to read. Freedom of the press only goes so far. If it jeopardizes this country’s safety, then that’s treasonous.

    I like this example. In this country, I’m free to ball up my hands into fists and swing my arms violently. However, that freedom of mine ends where your nose begins.

  • 11 Aviatrix // Sep 8, 2006 at 2:36 am

    I second the comment about physio. Doing the right exercises is miraculous for stopping pain and strengthening the muscles to prevent something like that happening again.

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