Why do I do what I do?
Saturday, September 13, 2014
This blog has been going around in my head for a week or two. So why do I do what I do? I've thought about it. As many of you know, I was doing strength training, and cardio training to build myself up for the past few years until last Halloween. I was hiking and/or walking daily and increasing my mileage. I run in some 5k races, a couple of 10k races, and walked in a half marathon. I walked the 15.2 mile course for 4 years in the Bataan Death March Memorial on White Sands Missile range. There was a 26.2 mile course too, that included a 5 miles hill on that one. I was thinking about doing training for that one this time last year for the last March. I did water aerobics twice a week too many times (when my lunch hours didn't interfere). After being a couch potato until age 55 I loved the new athletic me.
Then last Halloween, October 31,2013, I had stroke with a severe brain bleed out of the blue about 8:30 that morning. It led to a transfer that day from a rural hospital to a much bigger hospital in Phoenix, which was about 6 hours by car for us from where I was. I was flown that time though since they had me on life support. Once there they put a drain in my head for the bleed. I woke up a few days later in intensive care and then after the drain was taken out on Nov 11 I was moved to the step-down unit from intensive care and still closely watched and had therapy and lots of drugs that kept me pretty doped up. I had a hard time seeing and had to learn to walk with a walker too at that time. When it was time to move me to another unit there, which had more intensive various therapies, my oldest son had me moved to a hospital in Dallas, TX, about an hour from where he lived to continue to inpatient. Therapies included an hour a day of each physical therapy, speech therapy, fine motor skills, and recreation therapy with games etc to build skills. One I remember was a bowling game on the Wii. I still slept a lot between them, and had trouble seeing also. Part was because my main glasses got broken when I had the stroke and you can't get your eyes checked for glasses in the hospital. My attention span was much shorter. I had my laptop and my computer glasses but couldn't use my either of them for several weeks. I could listen to tv and I did a lot but couldn't see it or what station I was on. And much more. Gradually my eyesight came back, and my son took me for a quick trip to get new glasses at an optometrist between the two hospital discharge in AZ and checking into the hospital in Dallas. Since my DIL is a nurse practicioner, and before that a flight nurse on medical flights, she was allowed to bring me to Dallas on a commercial flight and administer my med then. Even with the new glasses I had a lot of trouble for a while. I was discharged from that hospital on Dec 3 and then went to outpatient therapy from 9 to 12, Monday thru Friday, until my insurance had covered all the therapy it would cover in February. Gradually my eyesight got much better. My right hand and arm still shook a lot, I still had to use a walker till January 1st when I refused to use it anymore, my attention is still short, and my balance is off when I walk or look at things when I'm not sitting, I still have those things. I run into the walls in my apartment multiple times a day. I use a walking pole, or sometimes 2, when I walk outside very far. But I can now drive again. I had to take a Texas test with an examiner to get it but I passed and drive myself around now. And I can't work because typing requires much backspacing, especially from right hand, I have to text with my left hand (I am NOT lefthanded LOL), I have to eat with my left hand, and I keep learning how to do things. I've had my own apartment now since June 18th and live in Arlington TX, about ½ hour from this oldest son, and about 4 hours from my middle son. I'm not going back to NM, about 800 miles from where I live, because there I was taking care of two grown daughters and there kids and I can't take care of them anymore. My youngest son is also there and I do miss him but text or talk to him several times a week. I can't write because of my hand. I have trouble walking. I'm social security on disability.
I have a routine though that I have to do. Every morning I do about 25 minutes of stretching which I found helps my muscles that got worse from Fibromyalgia when I was hospitalized. Before that I kept it way under control but those weeks in bed did something to me. Maybe it's from the stroke too. Anyway, stretching helps. Every other day I have a number of strength training exercises I do for upper and lower body and core. Sometimes I use videos to walk and exercise indoors. I try to go out and walk some but the hot weather kept me from doing it and I'm looking forward to lower temps again. 100 degrees or so and high humidity just doesn't agree with me ha ha. I live in a second floor apartment by my request to make me climb stairs. Most days, except when I give my legs a break, I go outside early before daylight and climb those steps over and over. I can usually do 5 sets up and down, rest, do 5 more, etc. I usually do 30 flights altogether a day. I have to hold on the handrail on the steps all the time to keep from falling but I have to do it for me. I had to start over with everything almost because of things left with daughters. My furniture wasn't worth going that far to get, or household items. I did get some of my clothes when I got my car, my DIL bought me some, and eventually I got some of my own. I have a small living room and dining room, and I walk 15 laps at a time around those numerous times a day to get my 10,000 steps per day in. If I do go out and walk, I have to stop and rest often. I was doing this more before temps climbed so high. Takes me time to get all these things done but I do them.
So why do all this? Some of you may know I worked with all kinds of senior citizens in a senior program from 1995 to 2006. First as a director of volunteer programs funded through the federal Corporation for National Service and then as executive director of the agency. I worked with seniors of all types, from homebound to senior centers to Senior Olympics at the local and state level. I worked a couple of other jobs after that, then in late 2008 I started working for a major insurance agency who had a contract with NM for the elderly and disabled on Medicare. I worked with those that received homemaking services in their home and visited them on a monthly basis at least and helped coordinate different types of care. I met both younger disabled adults and senior citizens who often had just given up and didn't do much of anything because of their disabilities. They didn't use what they could do, although a few did. I did that job until my stroke. I can't be one of those who just give up. I may be “disabled” now but I will do what I can and will keep pushing myself. I will not stop. I could stay in bed or in a chair and watch tv most of the day and do nothing but it's not in my nature anymore. I might have at one time, but the last few years something changed in me. I do know that medical professionals have told me in offices and therapies that the shape I was in when I had the stroke helped keep it from being even worse, or from me being dead. So I do it because I can. I can't walk like I could a year ago, but I can walk some. I can't do some of the things I did but I can do some. I insist on enjoying life all I can. I love zoos, and there is the Dallas zoo and the Fort Worth zoo near me. I have a yearly membership at both so can get free parking and admission and have been to both numerous times. Today we have a cold front and thankfully we need a jacket today instead of temps around 100. I plan on going to a nature park that has some trails and multiple benches to get out in nature, which I love. I do these things because there is something inside that drives me to keep living life to the fullest I can, whatever that may be. Not to waste what I have while wishing for the “old” days of a year ago.
So this is why I keep pushing myself, exercising, trying to eat healthy most of the time, staying active on my computer even if I have to backspace numerous times, and other things. Why do you do what you do?