Monday, May 09, 2011


I've been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster with my knee...not wanting to shell out a co-pay, just so an orthopedist can tell me what I already know: that I need to lose the weight and that RICE alternated with heat and ibuprofen are the basic treatments for osteoarthritis...while also wondering if I'm being a know-it-all. I probably am, but after one too many visits to my general practitioner for one thing or another where she ends up confirming what I figured out online, it becomes harder to get off my high horse. And I know my body...I'm not enjoying significant pain, just aches and stiffness with intermittent weaknesses; and after skipping the Y for like, April, I'm not ready to think it's something else until I've been back at the exercise for a month or so.

So I laid out a fitness plan for May, and I'm actually trying to follow it. There's stuff planned out for basically every day, but there's wiggle room...the yoga days are becoming off days too frequently already, but I am back at the Y, in spite of the delicious/damn OT at work. However, no one should have to suffer through the Y on a Monday's packed to the rafters with guilty yuppies who just had naughty weekends...makes it hard to even get on the machines.

So I declared Monday my walking day. It's been too damn long since I've been in the fresh air. Had to walk to the store on Saturday, because we had a flat tire and needed quarters to top off the spare, and it was like getting reacquainted with the outdoors, in all its glaring splendor. Felt good and lousy at the same time, because I didn't think to wear my knee brace, so my knee gave me nice stabs of intermittent pain there and back that had me wondering just how much cartilege is left in the damn thing...

Also, I signed up for the Heart Walk in September. I'll beg for dough for that in another post. My reasoning: a) I wanted to sign up for the Arthritis Walk, but they already had Jacksonville's this year and Charlotte's happens before I move, b) the AHA may deal more with heart attacks and strokes, but I can always hope that some funds go to research to prevent/detect aortic dissections better, and c) I needed a goal. I don't buy that you've necessarily walked 2 miles if the elliptical machine says you have, so I knew this would get me outdoors more.

I set out tonight with just enough daylight left to get me up to the Episcopal church and back, which I thought was 2 miles (Daily Mile says it's damn!). The brace changes my gait, and this isn't a bad thing. My stride can be long, which snaps out my legs and doesn't do my knees any good either. With the brace on and my knee's current inconsistencies, it's a much more careful gait that follows my posture better. I don't break any speed records right now and I'm fine with that; was still a good cardio workout. I don't wear an iPod either, because while I feel safe in my neighborhood, it's not the same thing as trusting your neighborhood to be safe. Plus there's quite a few cyclists that time of night, who can't safely use the access road; and we have a homeless guy who rides in our area too...appears harmless, but also talks and sings to himself. So I like to have my wits about me.

So I watched for people and traffic and my wheels turnedturnedturned in my head about how deeply furious I am with myself for letting my body break down like this and how important it's becoming that I get healthy. If anybody tried anything while I was out and about, I wouldn't be able to break into a run right now. When you're big, you feel invincible, even if it's flab; you develop a hearty ego and feel like you can handle anything. That's not the case at present. I'm developing an empathy for Les and Mom, understanding a bit better the frustration that accompanies disability. The difference is mine is avoidable and can be remedied, at least in part.

My knee wasn't stiff this evening; the day's stiffness had been lubricated away by the walk. That was a powerful lesson, because it's very easy to not want to exercise when it's aching or stiff; but remembering that with care, you can do some good, is vital.

Tomorrow's healthy lunch and snacks are prepped, and I'll hit the Y after work. I feel proud and strong.

Image from here.

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