Saturday, March 1, 2014

So What Does Life Look Like?

Baby hostas!
This winter has been horrible, not to put too fine a point on it.

I am looking for my new normal, whatever that will be from now on.  In my last post, I mentioned "digging deep."  Digging deep has entailed looking right into the abyss and deciding what is important to me and how do I keep what is important to me, so I can continue to be... me.

Coming home has helped, even though I miss my wonderful nephews.  Away from their hugs, and their smiles, and their laughter, but as much as I miss them, I realize I really needed sunlight.  Sunlight is something my tiny house has in spades.  Built 150 years ago, the sun tracks around the house from room to room in nearly the order I use the rooms through the day.  The sunlight greets me in the kitchen in the morning.  Opening the blinds and allowing it to spill through the room as I make coffee is no little dose of good medicine.

Mid-way into January, a scant few days before the Spring semester began at the local community college, I decided I needed a new career.  A career that would not be dependent on whether or not I could walk, or walk well.  With cajoling, begging, and paying some extra fees, I managed to wrangle myself into some online classes that will go toward a technical diploma I hope I can complete in December this year.

I am also auditing a MOOC, one of the huge (30,000 estimated students worldwide) online offerings through Coursera on evolution and anthropology, which is more brain candy than anything else.  It is one of the first MOOC offered by my alma mater, the UW-Madison through Coursera.

I have started cleaning my house.  I have dragged around the vacuum, swept, put away almost everything I had taken to my brother's.  I have been sleeping downstairs in Handsome Son's room.  He's at college, and I promised both him and my brother I would not attempt the stairs, even on my butt.

I started some baby blue hostas (the deeply grooved and rumpled 'Abiqua Drinking Gourd') and heuchera from seeds raised from seed of 'Palace Purple' which have always had a lot more of the mahogany and russet tones with the purple.  Not having access to my grow room, the lights, trays, and racks; I have gone old school with a zip lock bag, egg cartons, and my southern window.  Not ideal, but...

Growing something gives me faith.  Punching the tiny radicules into the potting soil two days ago was calming to my soul.  I managed to do nearly the whole lot of them standing without taking a rest-- good exercise.  

Each day I have been peddling 30 to 40 minutes on a Drive Peddler.  I was desperately looking for a way to increase my cardio, and not being able to move, my options were limited, to say the least.  When it first arrived mid-January, I thought I would be primarily using my right leg and the right would be giving the left a "ride".  Most of my attempts the first week, made me question whether even that would be possible.  It was painful.  It was uncomfortable and unnatural feeling.  Sometimes it felt like I was re-breaking something.  If I could position myself properly I could maybe get 1500 revolution in 30 minutes.

I did not quit.  I tried every day.  Many days, the first two weeks I was crying or in pain.  I thought maybe this was a very bad idea. I had to use a shower brush to get my feet into the stirrups.  I tracked my progress and the amount of pain I had.  After three weeks, I realized I didn't have pain everyday.  Tracking the time and revolutions also allowed me to see progress.  One day I hit 2700 revolutions in 30 minutes.  It was a milestone.

I thought I had plateaued the other day, until I realized I hadn't used the shower brush to position my feet for more than a couple days, didn't have pain anymore, and then I hit 3100!

Yesterday was 18 weeks from my fracture.  I wanted to walk unassisted by Christmas.  That did not happen.  For a few weeks, I thought that might mean I never would walk again on my own.  That made me depressed and angry.   I don't know how people in their 80s come back from something like this.  And actually, statistically, few do.  Few walk on their own or live on their own again.

About ten days ago I started trying to walk with a cane.  It has been rough.  Again there is pain, pressure in the joint; I tire easily.  It has been slow.  The "slow" makes me feel old.  I move old.  I don't feel old.   Mentally, it is not a good place to be.  To contemplate a probable 30 years of moving old is a lot to consider.

My family is encouraging, telling me this is a bump in the road.  Crap, it feels like a sink hole.

The road back from the abyss is slow-going, be sure to bring a map.  The sign posts point to independence that way... it is the direction I am trying to go.


  1. Very cute baby hostas, there. So sorry you are struggling with getting fully back to yourself. Wish there was something I could do. Your classes sound like a very good idea, though. It's admirable that you are being proactive.

    1. My family is quick to remind me I could have just as easily died, given the nature of my injuries, so there is that. I shoveled snow off my deck today. It was the longest I have been upright and out of doors for five months. My son and brother would have been aghast that I did so. I figure I have a lot in common with sharks these, days, I need to keep swimming.