Exercise, but not as you know it…

I’m aware I’ve done the absence – post – absence – post thing a few times now. I am sorry about it. It’s either been illness or just not having the energy or headspace to write. it had slipped down the priority list somewhat as i might have said before. As of yesterday though, I am determined to begin again.

I did truly want to begin (again) on Thursday, but I was simply exhausted. You see, I woke up achy and sore that morning, more than I had for the past few. I knew I simply had to go though, no backing out, just grit my teeth and get on. And so I arrived at my destination slightly later than expected, more tired than I wanted to be, helper in tow. I handed over the form, which thankfully, this time the doctor had signed the right place, but it was close!! I watched her check the form as i chatted to a physio, and introduced her to my helper. Form complete it was time for the tour. The pool looked lovely, shimmering with heat though. After a short search, one of the physios found us a free room to change in, and off I went. Tracking Hoist next, in my day of firsts. Once in the pool, a cushiony pillow behind my head, I lifted my body so the sling could be detached and the float attached. To my horror, I was being given ‘quite a bit of support’ from both physios. At that point my mind flitted to the past, the monotonous lengths and the medals. After a short time floating, I was helped to stand, supporting myself in the corner of the pool, one arm on each side. The exercises  continued at a acceptable pace, while my mind railed against the simplicity of the moves, things that were once manageable were now embarrassingly effortful. One by one, each one I could manage added to the draft of the ‘exercise plan’.

Eventually, the physio I knew best suggested I swim, so I began to float on my back. Well, I mean I hoped to float on my back, but began sinking fast in the middle, as I had when I last attempted to swim. One of the physios came alongside and explained that she would have to support me while they consulted between themselves how much support I needed. Very quickly, they decided on a ‘noodle’, which the supporting physio quickly added, while asking me to try again, while never leaving my side, and  helping me spin round before I hit steps, or the side of the sitting hoist. We finished with a few ‘warm down exercises’  before ‘chucking out time’. Each person or group of people is only allowed 20 minutes in the hydrotherapy pool due to the temperature/heat the pool must be. ‘Them’s the rules’ as it were. My attempt at using the chair hoist to exit the pool was rather more successful than anyone expected. Someone (I forget who) made the hoist the same height as the shower chair and I simply slid my bottom from one to the other – result!!

Once finally showered and dressed, we opted to visit the cafe before the taxi home. I chose A mug of tea and a ‘lighter breakfast later’ which my helper and even the physio said I had earned.(FYI: this consists of one sausage, a rasher of a bacon, a friend egg, a tomato, some mushrooms and a tomato in place of beans). I decided there and then to make it my main meal, as calorie wise it seemed the most sensible thing to do.

Once in the taxi, it was not long before sleep beckoned.’ Sliding out of the taxi, my helper told me I was ‘asleep on my feet’, Making an effort, I got to my door in my little chair without falling asleep. The helper made up some dioralyte and a coffee, and went on her way, which incidentally I didn’t drink. I slept sat up in my chair for three hours solid. After this I cooked and ate some pasta before falling asleep again, waking only to the sounds of the buzzer when the carers arrived Having slept so long I decided to say up for a bit. Predictably I fell asleep in my chair, waking when the phone rang. Call finished sometime later I crawled into bed and slept more or less solidly all night, waking exhaustedly.  So far so normal for someone who gets next to no exercise.

Though by now, I’ve had a days grace, I am still exhausted. I fell asleep as I wrote this. I am determined to finish this in good time and attack my to do list after lunch, so I get a good rest tonight and hopefully avoid falling asleep in church tomorrow!! I am already thinking about what to write and auto-publish for tomorrow, so watch this space!

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Hydrotherapy is a form of physio/physical therapy exercise done in a small pool, heated to a correct temperature. The heat is good for muscle pain/spasm/joint pain, and so on. The water aids bouncy allowing the likes of me to exercise in a way I couldn’t on land. It is the least restricting form of exercise and can make a big difference for some individuals. My exercise program includes side-stepping, walking, attempts at pelvic swivels to build some kind of ‘core’ from the natural resistance of the water.

Make like a Paralympian…

 

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Today is officially a GOOD day!

It’s the first day I’ve been able to say that since the day my brother married his lovely wife on the 17th August, so what, 3 weeks ago? Even then, I was in pain and on the drug which I cannot name, so wasn’t feeling fabulous, though I had taken the lowest dose I could cope with. Of course I paid for that a couple of days later, and since then, I haven’t really got on top of the pain, been able to stop taking the painkiller, or been used to taking the painkiller. 

Armchair spectator

Today though, as I was watching the swimming on the TV, in this case the 15 yr old paralympic swimming star Josef Craig smash the world record for the men’s S7 400 meters free, and his team-mate Jonathan Fox look at though he was about to try to better it, but think better of it, and then speed up again, like..  well like something very fast when he realised his Russian? competitor had caught him, raced him to the wall and beat him by something like one 100th of a second. I realised I did actually feel pretty good (i.e. awake!) and relatively pain free, I decided then I was going to make like a Paralympian and go for a swim! I have confess, I cannot remember the last time I went swimming. It has to be… oh least since Wendy stopped being my PA, so that would mean I haven’t gone swimming at all this year! My carer arrived right about then, but to his credit (is he carer A?! he didn’t flinch and helped me pack everything and taxi it to the pool. The only question he asked had to do with whether I had the energy to walk with my Zimmer from the taxi, to the lift, the changing room, the pool, swim, change and do it all over again!! I boldly said I wanted to try, so off we went! 

 

Make like a Paralympian…

The first couple of lengths I did, my body had forgotten what to do. It was the strangest feeling. I made to do the movements of an adapted breast stroke, (more or less arms only) and then adapted front crawl and nearly drowned on the way back. Oh dear, great start. I think in all I managed about 14 lengths in half an hour, with at least one full five minute break in there. It’only a 20metre pool so your talking 280metres in 30 minutes…!! When I did some swimming competitions in my late teens, I was an S4, but my coach was querying S3, I reckon I’d be an S3 now!I Looking at LEXI decoder, I’m an S3. Anyway, none of that is relevant and was just for my own amusement. It gives you some understanding of my level of disability.  

 

Wednesday wonderings…

II showered and changed without much fuss, and made my way back through the building to wait for the taxi. Not entirely without incident though, my carer stepped neaty out of the lift, only for it to send me back down to the gym again! I made my way back up, and this time had the sense to put my zimmer just in front of the sensor so I had time.  have no idea how on earth I used to manage to do all of that carry on without a carer. It used to take me hours though, then I would be lucky if I made it as far as the car park before some kindly soul would stop and tell me I looked shattered, and was I okay. So I’d smile I say, yes of course, I get my own stubborn way home! how vulnerable was I then? 😦 

 

Once I made it home, I shot off down to cash machine to draw out enough money so Carer A could whizz their way to guisley to collect my repaired manual chair from B and w mobility on the other side of Guisely. Do any Leeds based friends know of anywhere nearer that will repair and service chairs? Pehaps for an even slightly more economical price? I realise these things are expensive anyway. The kind of costs that those before me fought so hard for Disability Living Allowance to pay for costs such as these. Oh what will happen when we have Pip? return. This motning, I got a delivery of medical appliances, two massive boxes worth which carer A put in the cupboard for me while I went to the cash-spitting machine.

 

Just as I retuned another curier arrived with more medical supplies, this time a huge stock of my appliance and the various accompaniments for the tummy bag, which should last me, oh, 6 weeks at best, a month realstically.. Carer A arrived bavck in a little under an hour, with chair this time. Just enough time to put all the medical supplies away. Carer B very kindly put everything in it’s on place complete with labels a few months ago, which has made the world of difference. Carer A trooped out to the mini-recycling centre with I don’t know how many trees worth of card. He’d more than earned his megre wages by this point, but the four hours was up anyhow, leaving me just enough time to finish this before my ‘hungry’ joes  lasagna is ready! Off to eat before I have to collect prescriptions and medication..It never ends….!!