Monday, December 15, 2014

Hanging up the Hang Tag -- For Now

Yesterday, as we pulled into the church parking lot, John asked if I wanted him to drop me off in front of the steps so that I wouldn't have to walk as far. I opened my mouth to say, "Sure!" then closed it. I remembered that not only could I walk the length of the parking lot, but that I should. My surgeon and physical therapists have changed their advice from "Don't walk any more than you have to since it will damage the stenosed nerves in your back," to "Get out there and walk as often and as far as you can tolerate."

It's going to take awhile for me to get my head around this change in circumstances. I'm accustomed to wheeling Goldie into the handicapped parking spaces without thinking twice. When I enter a grocery store, I automatically look to see if a scooter shopping cart is charged up and available. I have been avoiding the mall and other large shopping centers for ages because it stinks to be about ten stores away from the exit when my the pain and numbness begin.

But now I'm told to look for reasons to walk fairly lengthy distances. So I have. And I've got to admit, I still have factors limiting my walking, but they have have nothing to do with my back or nerves.


For one, these legs of mine have seriously lazy muscles. I think they've enjoyed getting a pass from significant exercise over the past few months.

Secondly, I am seriously lazy. I know that overall I have enjoyed getting a pass from significant sweat-inducing exercise over the past few months.

And third, this old body and its muscles de-condition rapidly. I think my autoimmune disease and the energy limitations it brings plus recovering from a major surgery may have something to do with this, but I'll bet age is playing its part as well. But for whatever reason, getting my keister out of the chair and off the couch to return to regular exercise is proving to be a challenge and keeping it moving is even harder.

So what's a lazy sjoggie to do? Guess I will be parking further from my destinations, maybe, and leaving the store scooters parked and plugged in. I wonder if the place to start is making small changes in a consistent manner? And of course snapping a leash on Lulu and resuming our little daily walks is something that would benefit both her and me. It's time to change my mindset altogether.

At least, for awhile. There will be times that fatigue and pain will limit my activities. I know better than to think that I'll never be using my blue handicapped hang tag ever again. Flares will force me to dig that puppy out and slap it on my rear view mirror at some point in time. But for now, I'm glad to tuck it into the dash compartment.

1 comment:

Betsi said...

Julia, 2 years ago I had major colon surgery that went about as wrong as it could, and spent 3 weeks in the hospital. I've had MS for 30 years, and I'm past 60, but up until then I was active, no parking tag for me. But what a setback I had! I had to use a walker at home when I was finally discharged. Yes, you should make small changes and work to make them habitual. It took SO long for me to get back to my "old self" that I thought it would never happen. Well, it has. I'm 2 years older, so I'm sure I don't function as well as I did pre-surgery, but I never thought I would feel this strong again.

You'll get there, at least on your "good" days.