Thursday, March 28, 2013

Scintilla#13, Day 14

So I'm a couple of days behind the scheduled prompts, but I'm not the only one. And they're really timeless anyway. So here we go:

1. Talk about a time when you were younger and you embarrassed your parents in public, the one that still shames you.

2. We exert control over ourselves and others in many ways. Talk about a time when you lost that control. This can go beyond the obvious emotional control into things like willpower, tidiness, self-discipline, physical prowess - any time that you felt your autonomy slipping away.

I was pretty much the child who did what she was expected to do. While I probably embarrassed my parents, nothing immediately springs to mind, nor am I still cringing over anything.

On to #2.

Who doesn't struggle with will power? Or perhaps we should call it won't power; "I won't eat that dessert. I won't eat candy. I won't take that drink. I won't smoke another cigarette."

Uh huh. I've been there many times over the years. Lost a few, won a few. I suspect some battles will continue the rest of my life, or at least until I don't care any more.

But let's talk about physical ability this time. I've had a few surgeries that kept me quiet and hampered my abilities, but I always found a workaround that allowed me to continue functioning. When I broke my elbow in 1972 and couldn't do much with my hair, I got an easy haircut that I could blow-dry with one hand, one that turned out actually to be one of the best styles I've worn. When I was tethered to a wound-vac in 2002 and couldn't go anywhere, I ordered groceries online and had them delivered. When I broke my right wrist in 2010, I learned to use my left hand to eat and to use the computer, and was still able to cook one-handed.

This last time, though, I was totally non-weight bearing. And older. I needed help to bathe. I was pretty useless in the kitchen other than sharing information. I couldn't go outside to feed kitties -- I couldn't even carry their dishes of food. I was mostly dependent upon my husband for the eight weeks I was in a cast and had to be totally off my feet. And I've never been dependent on anyone for very long.

My wonderful husband took over all the tasks I usually did, including cooking which he hadn't done since we've been together. He fed kitties. He shuffled dirty clothes into the laundry room and into the washer, although I was able to help some with that task and could at least fold clean clothes. He made lists and went to the grocery store and to WalMart -- both places he has tried to avoid going for years -- and never complained. He made sure I had water and the phone and the TV remote within reach, and retrieved mail and papers every day. And the biggie: he faithfully emptied the bedside commode (that was such an enormous help) every day, without complaint or comment. I am so grateful for him!

I had to learn to just BE, not DO. I had to give up the guilt about not doing 'my' chores, about putting so much on him. I had to learn to focus on me and my recovery, and to keep a positive attitude. And I did; so much so that I don't want to revert to doing-doing-doing stuff now that I'm back on my feet and generally mobile. And that's a good thing.

 I want to be one of those senior-senior citizens who is reasonably well and mobile right up until the day I wake up dead. I don't want to be bed-ridden and dependent upon others for basic life skills, not my husband, not my children, not on anyone. And with nearly three weeks of physical therapy now under my belt, I am discovering what a huge difference strengthening exercises have made in my body, my ability to walk unassisted, and my attitude. So as much as I have hated going to gyms and doing 'work-outs' in the past (yoga being the one exception), I am going to continue going regularly to the gym after the PT is over so that I continue to build on the strength and balance that I have achieved so far. It is finally clear to me that I must....MUST...take responsibility for my physical shape if I want to continue to be mobile and independent for the rest of my life.

Over the years that physical ability has lessened: once upon a time I could skip, dance for hours, jump, and shop without pain or limitations. I can't do that now. But I can keep what strength and ability I have recovered if I continue to exercise and tend it. That is another huge lesson that has come from this surgery and recovery.

"Once in a while you get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right." ~ Scarlet Begonias, Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter.

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