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Getting older is SERIOUS business, OR, 24 days after the hospital, I went to exercise class!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Yes, I set the bar low, but I did better than I expected!

Oh, I have missed everyone! Bette has introduced totally new-to-me music and choreography in Zumba class so most of the time I couldn't keep up. I'm still suffering the lasting effects of pneumonia (pain, mucus, and restricted capacity still in my lower right lung) but I was there doing the old-lady-shuffle the ENTIRE time unless there was a familiar set, when I knew what to do. I only had to stop once, for less than a minute, to catch my breath.

Pneumonia you learn, is SERIOUS business. Enough with the stories of "I knew someone killed by it!" Enough with "it took me a year to recover fully, and I was only 30!" I'm 60 and an aerobics instructor; and having the doctor frown at me and telling me I need to NOT be climbing stairs at home was freaky scary. Pneumonia is REALLY THAT BAD?!?!?!!? As scary as not being able to breathe easily, as scary as all the coughing, but not quite as scary as the pleurisy TBH. HOW do I heal? .... I did the stairs SLOWLY! So that is what I needed to know: the answer to my question -- do I have enough wind?

Apparently, getting older is much more serious than I really understood. Sure you HEAR about it: if you're older than 55, get the flu shot! Work on core strength as you get older! Work on your balance as you get older! SLOW DOWN as you get older! Cut your goddamm hair and act your age! You're so much more vulnerable as you get older! But that's NOT ME! Never has been!

Having pneumonia has taught me humility. Not being able to breathe enough to sustain normal daily activity -- I'm talking only being able to sit, and walk slowly! -- made me understand in a very personal way WHY all those old ladies in my exercise class do the old-lady-shuffle. I had to work to breathe: I had to work up to being able to take a "full" (and do note those quote marks!) breath of air normal for a 60-year-old woman. AND THAT FEELS LIKE ONLY HALF A BREATH TO ME!

And when that's all the oxygen you can get in a breath, about all you can do IS the old-lady shuffle! That explains SO much to me! I have more empathy now. I will continue working to regain MY normal lung capacity ("normal" charts be damned!). Knowing now that I can make it through an entire class, and still feel fine the rest of the day and the next day too, I'll continue pushing myself to the point I cough lightly -- breathing deeply and clearing my lungs of the mucus in the process.

Right now, it isn't about sweating and heart condition, it's about lung condition and capacity! And if I can help myself back to full capacity, maybe I can help my class of old-lady-shufflers -- who HATE to work up a sweat -- regain a bit more lung capacity themselves. You know, you can't see or feel a heart until something goes wrong. But breathing? You can immediately become aware of your breath and how that affects your life. I can't imagine anyone not wanting to breathe easier and have the energy that good, deep regular breathing gives you. You feel younger with every breath.
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  • LINDAF49
    Day by day - breath by breath - go gently through your days and I salute you for trying to return to exercise - just go VERY slow and do NOT DAMAGE heart or lungs in your efforts. You are an inspiration to me!! 68 and really feeling the "old" in exercise and efforts. Blessings and keep posting so we learn from you!
    175 days ago
  • ENCHANTEDALANA
    Loved hearing about the 'old lady shufflers'.
    On another note, a couple of years ago I had about a month of serious asthma - forest fires in the area. It was scary. Really scary. Couple years before that it was bronchitis. I'm 44 years old and have the lungs of a ... depends on which week it is!! Took a while to get better, but I will never forget being able to yawn and not cough like someone possessed afterward.
    Take 'er easy.
    175 days ago
  • JOY831
    Sometimes we learn the most through the more difficult experiences. Perspective comes when we walk a mile in the shoes of others. I'm glad you are regaining your health and gained empathy for the "old lady shufflers." Thank God they have you to lead them to a stronger life.
    176 days ago
  • KACEYSW
    I am so glad you made it back. I was not hospitalized but was sick and missed all my workouts since just before Christmas.
    176 days ago
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