Saturday, April 14, 2007
Weeds, monkey bars, upbeat for a change
I could almost announce it from the roof tops that I weeded two days in a row and both mornings awakened feeling better not worse. I can't believe what a huge difference getting a shot in my shoulder has made. Having that one issue vastly improved has helped me in general. It's so odd too since my right shoulder is so removed from the other chronic issues I've had since my groin dissection that it wasn't until recently that I was aware that it was becoming the most acute problem. I think in part because the neuropathic pain is controlled by the neurontin but that hasn't helped the shoulder at all. The shoulder is why the pain has barely been controlled even with the many prescribed meds I've been on now for close to two years. The injection in my shoulder has opened up this whole range of activities. For one thing I can garden without paying for it which is practically a miracle within the context of my life. I find myself thinking monkey bars again. Just kidding but monkey bars was my favorite childhood play apparatus. We didn't have them at home but I'd hang from the top bar of our old swingset and the monkey bars were the first thing I'd head for at pullen park. The monkey bars in this post are on a grassy slope to one side of the trail I walk along frequently and since there are seldom any children hanging from them, I used to be tempted to see if I could go across them hand by hand. I haven't even been tempted in years and I'd have to lose a ton of weight before I tried it but who knows. Maybe there are monkey bars in my future. My daughter had monkey bars in my back yard but her playground equipment has been incorporated into the garden and has garden boxes built around it with vines growing upward so the monkey bar temptation is only when I walk past the greenway trail playspace. There is also a high school track and football field I can see through the trees on the first part of the trail and baseball fields which are part of the parks and recreation's facilities. Then there are the kiddy football fields and the young children I see practicing with their teams. If I take another route the trail loops around tennis courts and the public Olympic size swimming pool. All of this is within less than a mile from my house and if I make it to the next trail I can see the lake that used to be part of my long route. What I like the most about my walking routes is the diversity. Parents pushing strollers or jogging with those strollers that look like race cars. The ones attached to bikes make me nervous, there are bikers with little tents on wheels for their babies. Then there are the serious runners and bikers who look like they may actually do the full 26 miles of connected greenway trails across the city. The toddlers and young children running around are a frequent site. People walking past speaking languages I not only am unable to understand but are so foreign I'm not sure what the language is but smiling at each other is a pretty universal language as in, it's a gorgeous day isn't it. Then there are the little league teams that practice on the park facility side, and the high schoolers that practice on the part that goes with their school on the other side. The ages all the way up to people that are surely closer to 90 than 80. I also have the luxury, since I work from home, of timing my walks so that I barely see anyone at all which is sometimes what I want. Then again sometimes it's fun to be one of many out there enjoying a pleasant day. In terms of activity others do, what impressed me the most is a woman I saw frequently who walked and swam in spite of handicaps that would probably send me to my bed for good. Not sure what she was rehabilitating from. I'm guessing a stroke. Over a period of about 3 years, I would see her walking when I wasn't sure she'd make it around the parking lot and within a few years, I'd see her walking on the trails without any aids. At first, I noticed her in the parking lot for the swimming pool which is a 5 minute walk from my house and where I get on the first trail. She used two canes to begin with. Later when I was swimming, this was several years ago, I realized she was also swimming regularly. She would swim and then walk around the parking lot in circles using the canes for balance. It was probably a full year after I first saw her before she started walking with only one cane. She got better and better and the perseverance that must have taken has always stuck in my head when I feel sorry for myself. She was probably about ten years younger than I am. We never talked beyond smiling and saying hello and I don't think she lives in my neighborhood because I saw her riding in a car leaving the pool parking lot on many occasions. There was always someone driving her. I haven't seen her in a long time and I hope that means she recovered fully. I'm not sure what made me think of that. I guess it's thinking about how I'll see the young people scampering about and get a pang but then I think of that relatively young woman and how hard she was fighting to even walk the way I do when I'm limping. There are a lot of truly inspirational people out there. There is almost always someone worse off and better off no matter where we find ourselves. I think the trick for me is to find inspiration without feeling guilty about experiencing my own situation for what it is. It's never fun when we find that our lives are dramatically altered in ways we didn't expect, if that alteration seems limiting. I am starting to feel hopeful that my life is changing in good ways and I like that feeling.