Thursday, February 22, 2007
Celebration of Walking
It was such a gorgeous warm and sunny day today, so I clipped on my pedometer, strapped Ursula Oxygen around my waist like a fanny pack, picked up my walking stick and started down the street. I've just recently started tracking my daily steps, with the encouragement of my buddies at Quilter's Lounge. I'm afraid I had given in to the fear of being a semi-invalid and hadn't done much walking for some time. I used to love to walk, and even hike and backpack in the mountains, but with severe arthritis, being on oxygen due to impaired lungs from Sarcoid, in addition to excess weight put on as a result of being on Insulin for Diabetes, I had gradually become quite sedentary. When I put on my pedometer a few weeks ago I was lucky to get in 1000 steps a day around the house. Given the amount of snow, cold and ice we've had this winter, I've been mostly stuck in the house because of fear of falling. The fall I had on Tuesday was my fourth bad fall in the past year.
In an attempt to build up my endurance I've tried to increase my walking 1000 steps each week, doing my walking mainly at the Canon City WalMart. So it felt so good to be able to walk outside a couple of times this week. Tuesday, before the fall on my back doorstep, I was able to walk 4 blocks north, a block west, 2 blocks east, and 2 more blocks south back to home. I had forgotten how good it felt to walk in the fresh air. The sounds, the smells, and the little details of a few green shoots pushing up out of the ground in places, mica sparkling in the crushed rocks, dogs barking at me through the fences, llamas begging for carrots, or speaking to and waving at my neighbors was a delight. Wednesday, due to a headache and muscle aches and pains from the fall, I rested and didn't measure my steps. The fall was a fluke and no way related to the walk I took earlier. I really resented that such a thing would happen when I was feeling so good about accomplishing so much that day.
Today I walked again and made it another block north (to the edge of town) before turning. I've felt great today, except for a bit of soreness in my right hand, a huge, ugly purple bruise on my right hip that hurts to touch, and an extremely sore spot on my head when I forget and brush my hair there or open my mouth wide. When I got home from my walk today, I pulled up a chair on the patio to sit a while because it was just to nice outside to go in. I heard a couple of keee's over my head and looked up to see two Red-tailed Hawks circling above. I felt that was a special reward for taking the walk, in addition to the good tingly feeling the walk gave me. I am amazed at how much my crooked natural walking stick helps my stability while walking. I don't think I could keep my balance without it and it doesn't interfere with the rhythm of walking.
My goal for this week was 3000 steps a day; on Tuesday I did 3237 steps and today it was 3735 steps. The best part is that I am actually getting some aerobic steps walking outdoors. I have to admit that by the time I got home today, my right leg joint at the hip was feeling stressed. Starting from practically nothing I am taking it slow in building up to the 10,000 steps that are recommended. It's ridiculous to get to the point where this is all I can accomplish, but that's what I've done to myself with negative thoughts and self pity.
The part that bothers me the most is that up until 1992 I was used to walking all over this town without even thinking about it. This is when I was diagnosed with Diabetes and my health decline started. At that time I also walked every day on the River Walk along the Arkansas between Florence and Canon City. Walking there was sheer joy, with all the critters and birds to enjoy as well as the interesting people I met on my walks. Now I am hoping that I will get to the point that I can walk the River Walk again.
Unfortunately, my lungs will no longer allow me to hike in the mountains because even with oxygen, my lungs can't function well enough in the high altitude. Of course, the altitude here is a mile high (5,280) and where I used to hike it was at was 8,000 up to 10,000. (My Pulmonologist tells me that if I were at sea level I probably wouldn't have to be on oxygen. I'm a Native Coloradoan I don't want to live at sea level, just visit.) But instead of giving in to my limitations any longer, I am going to at least push the envelope and see what I can still do. Thank you, Debra and the rest of you Loungers, who aren't lounging. I didn't realize that accomplishing my lifetime dream of making quilts would lead to improvement of my health. "Just goes to show, you never can tell."
The weatherman is predicting another bad blizzard for this weekend, so it will be back to WalMarts for a while; but, Spring is coming.