Friendship Motivation

November 18, 2010

I wasn’t particularly excited about about getting to the Arthritis Aqua class this morning. I could easily have persuaded myself to stay home. Knowing friend Mary would probably be there and expect me to be, I hauled the body out of bed, shaved the legs, donned the swimsuit and headed to class. Once on my way I’m never sorry. Thankfully the friendship connection was just the motivation I needed.

Yesterday’s Effort – Lots of ironing but no exercise program. After the leg swelling of the night before and seven days in a row of water classes or exercise routines I thought a day off could be just what I needed.

Today’s Effort – Arthritis Aqua class with Debbie – 45 minutes. One bathroom scrub down and lots of standing at an art show opening.

A Circus Act?

November 16, 2010

In the Arthritis Aqua class this evening Teresa had us “perform” a new exercise while we were using the floatation “donuts”. “Keeping feet together, bend knees up and our, like a monkey on a stick.” Sure enough, the movement made us look like the old-fashioned monkey on a stick toy.

After feeling like a trained seal on Sunday, today’s “Monkey” made me think perhaps we are training for the circus.

Yesterday’s Effort – 75 minutes of water therapy and arthritis exercises. With Michael home sick I decided to skip the arthritis “chair” class in the morning. Did a few stretching exercises at home.

Today’s Effort – Arthritis Aqua class with Teresa at 5pm with an additional 20 minuets afterwards.

Feelin’ Like a Trained Seal

November 14, 2010

For some reason a number of non-swimmers had their chairs turned towards the busy therapy pool his afternoon. I have a hard time thinking of geriatric therapy exercise as a spectator sport.

As I worked on my sit-ups with floats there was something about the repetitive motion that made me feel like a trained seal at an aquarium. I can only hope I was halve as entertaining.

Today’s Efforts – 60 minutes of water exercises plus bubbles.

Priorities–Making Time

November 13, 2010

A year ago I would have sworn that life was too complicated to find time for a daily exercise routine. Since my knee issues created the need for regular water therapy priorities have changed. Between rehabbing from meniscus surgery and trying to avoid knee replacement I’ve committed to doing all I could through exercise. Fortunately nothing in my life stands in the way of that commitment.

Bob has been completely supportive and has even joined the effort. More than half the time he joins me in classes and personal workouts. The reward is that at his annual physical his triglycerides were better than they had been for years. He’s also more flexible and walking a bit straighter. Aches and pains still remind him of age but they seem more tolerable and manageable.

Currently one of our first conversation points each day is when are we going to the Buck Center. We compare our schedules for the day and commit to a specific class or time for exercise either together or singularly. This new habit was not only necessary but rewarding.

Making time has become the priority!

Today’s effort – 65 minutes of water exercise – all the elements of the routine Mandy laid out and many of the Arthritis Aqua+ exercises. Plus, 7 minutes in the jetted pool.

Pain & Frustrations

November 12, 2010

Attending the arthritis exercise class for the first time this week, I found that I even had a hard time doing some of the upper body exercises, a new experience that does not please me. Is it because I missed a couple of classes, was a total couch potato last weekend, the weather as been cold and damp this week, I’m experiencing more pain? Or, some unknown variable?

Later in the day, during the Arthritis Aqua+ class there was grinding knee pain during some of the weight-shift exercises – something that is usually eliminated in the water. Discouraging.

Determined to prepare a complete dinner since Michael would be home tonight. I was practically in tears by the time all was on the table. I tried to space the effort with rest periods between prepping different dishes But, even so, I was muttering, “I can’t do this anymore,” by the time we sat down to eat.

Pain and Frustrations – I don’t want to live like this.

Getting Used to the Reality

November 11, 2010

I waver between accepting the need for a knee replacement and depression over the situation. Even in the pool there is sometimes a distinct pain upon bone-to-bone impact. At those moments the question is “when” not “if”.

I find that I’m constantly thinking about all the things I would like done before surgery. My understanding is that there probably won’t be much physical work except rehab for the first couple of months. While I know that I will have all the help necessary for my care I also know housekeeping won’t be the primary focus for either of the men in this household.

I need to keep focused on organization, housework and the physical conditioning.

Today’s efforts – morning home exercises plus Arthritis Aqua class. And, for morale a much needed perm.

Reality–Aging Part II

November 10, 2010

As if my knee isn’t enough aging reality Bob is also dealing with a health issue. During his annual physical he mentioned the fact that he experiences times of breathlessness. These usually occur with some level of exertion such as mowing the lawn. He feels he needs to stop the activity and sit down for three to five minutes to regain stability.

Our physician ordered an echocardiogram and a stress test for comparison to previous tests. The echocardiogram was done a couple of weeks ago. The report Bob received was that he had a heart murmur but nothing had changed in the last two years.

The following week he went in for the scheduled stress test. The technician looked at his chart and said he couldn’t do the test because Bob had a “sluggish aortic valve”. A cardiologist was consulted resulting in a recommendation to reschedule for a chemical stress test.

A few days later Bob briskly walked a block to retrieve the card after an evening function. He reported needing to sit for several minutes before he felt it was safe to drive. Worrisome!

So, Tuesday afternoon we appeared at the South Denver Heart Center for the two-and-a-half hour test. I know Bob was worried about the possible results. The testing went well with no issues.

An Aside  – I was reminded of a few years ago when my mother’s doctor called and said he needed to order a chemical stress test for Mother and he felt like I should be there. Mother was 93 or 94 at the time. Judy and I flew to Florida. When the chemical to speed up the heart rate was administered Evelyn looked up at the doctor (she was totally blind but had an uncanny ability to look directly towards the person she was speaking to) and asked, “Have you every killed anyone giving this test?” She definitely felt it was a possibility.

The doctor’s office called this afternoon with a report that there was no problem with the heart. While that’s good news there remains the question of what is causing the breathless spells. I know we’re not comfortable letting the  question go unanswered.

Oh, the joys of aging.


November 9, 2010

Even with a positive attitude the affect of aging sometimes forces itself to the forefront of our consciousness. A follow-up appointment with my surgeon confirmed the reality of my knee situation. Comparing the x-rays from April and today shows that there is no longer any spacing in my right knee joint. I’m now working bone-on-bone.

After we completed the series of injections in September I really couldn’t tell if improvement could be contributed to the shots or the increased exercise routine, including intensive water therapy. I’ve faithfully continued with the exercise program and in the last week there has been a definite degree of joint grinding and pain with certain movements. The ability for weight bearing on the right leg has diminished significantly. Sudden weight shifts are impossible and the cane has become a more constant companion.

The doctor says the only solution is a knee replacement, the timing is up to me. He feels that I could wait up to a year; but, do I really want to live with the limitations and pain for that long. I won’t schedule the procedure before the first of the year because I’m out of physical therapy funds from Medicare for this year and PT is an essential component for successful joint replacement.

Meanwhile I’ll step up the exercise/fitness program and weight lost in order to be in better shape for post-op rehab. It’s all a reality of aging – as the doctor said, “You’ve reached the mileage limit, it’s time for a retread.”