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I went for a walk

I’m over visiting my friends (the family we co-bubble with) and they were going out for a walk. On my bad days, I would never consider such a thing. But, today I was feeling good.

The author and her brother back in 2007 when we walked all around San Francisco.

Around the corner from their house, the city is constructing a new roundabout. We walked there to scavenge anything that looked like junk so the girls could use tools to build a fairy house. Mostly this is because the girls wanted to use tools. We picked up pieces of wood and a few rocks as building materials.

It is a nice day outside. I don’t know the temperature, but I was comfortable in a sweatshirt. We started home, hauling all the booty of chunks of broken wood. Then my right foot and my leg seized up. The walk home was painful and slow. At least they know me and understand what was likely going on.

Now I am bundled up and sitting in the comfy chair. My legs are bundled up and my foot is raised on an ottoman with a heating pad. The arch of my foot is hurting. It is likely my plantar fasciitis.

I’m still glad I went. This is the first walk that I’ve been on since Winter happened. It felt good to stretch my legs until it felt bad. This is how I balance the competing commands of “get some exercise” and “don’t overdo it”. One really isn’t possible without the other, unless I’m just engaging in some basic stretching.

With so many things to potentially go wrong, it’s always a crap shoot. So I have to make myself move when I can. It’s easy to take something like walking for granted. Don’t.

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Waiting out the winter

My joints tell me it is still winter. So does last week’s major snow. Luckily, I don’t have the Seasonal Affective Disorder that some of my friends have – I hold them in the light. I hold myself in the promise of the light and wait for my croci to appear, followed by the daffodils.

Daffodils from my garden. Yes, that is Lemmy, a wizard, and a guinea pig behind them. Photo by author.

I actually like winter (even if my joints don’t), but at this point my knee is hurting enough to pick up my cane again. I look forward to Spring, to everything not being so brown. To gaining some more movement.

On the good news, they changed my psych meds. Yes, I have depression and PTSD. And, although the new meds make me dizzy, I am proudly depression free for the first time in 30 years. But the side effects are big. I have problems reading. For a writer, that’s a big one. Whenever I read, I fall asleep. What price for a release from depression. I’d pay almost any price.

I got my Covid-19 shot two days ago – and yesterday evening I developed fever and chills, and a migraine. Luckily it passed just as quickly, although I am not particularly looking forward to my second shot. My partner got quite sick after his, and I normally get hit by these things worse than him.

Covid or no, Spring is inevitable. Each day is getting longer. It’s nice to have some light in the early evenings. The days will warm, not much at first. But March is just three days away. While March snows happen frequently, it is March. And March (almost) ends with my birthday on the 30th. By then some flowers are up.

The carpet of violets in part of my back yard. Photo by author.

The wheel of the year spins. Inevitably. Change comes. Inevitably. I finally found a drug that works on my depression. Was it inevitably? Or did I just luck into it? My joints will ease with the warmth of the day. I hope that’s inevitable, too.

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Movement

The light is starting to return. The seed catalogs are flowing in at a rate of several per day. The very first signs of winter ending are starting to happen.

This winter has been a tough one for pain. My doctor took me off gabapentin because it was having terrible side effects and put me on another drug (Lyrica) that doesn’t work as well. Add in the cold and I am not moving much some days. This has me worried. Because I’m close to sedentary on many days. I want to move, it just hurts too much.

How do you get movement in around your pain?

Me and my partner hiking, a few years ago. I do love hiking, when I can do it.

Things that are not working for me

1) Getting up and walking around the house – some days up and down is the worst. And my house is kinda boring to walk around.

2) Yoga / chair yoga. – If I’m home alone, I fear that if I get down on a yoga mat, I won’t be able to get back up

3) Going for a walk outside – Nope – the pain in my knees and ankles is enormous right now. Walking is supposed to be the straightforward thing to do, but it’s not.

4) Going out into my garden – This one normally works for me. I love my garden. A walk around looking at the plants normally ends up with me doing some weeding or other tasks. Right now, my garden is a mess. Gumballs and sticks are everywhere. I know the only thing out there to do is clearing. So I don’t want to go out into my garden and my motivation is gone.

Things that might work

1) Waiting for spring – Is this even a valid option. Can I not move all winter and come back in the spring?

2) Some stretching in my chair – It wears me out quickly, but at least I can feel that my muscles still exist.

3) Puttering around the house – It may not be much, but folding laundry and cleaning the bathroom sink do require movement – and movement of different muscles.

Once upon a time, I went to a gym. It was grueling. They put us through a baby version of cross fit, and it hurt terribly. I did this for about 3 months until my shoulder hurt too bad for me to continue. I thought it was arthritis – and some may have been – but it turned out to be a gall-bladder that had given up. Of course, bad gall bladder in the gut hurts the right shoulder. Someone should write a book about this. Maybe I will. An owner’s manual of what could go wrong with your body and how to tell it is going wrong.

I also used to walk everywhere. Through graduate school, I walked to campus and back every day (at least a mile each way). I had a car, but it was generally easier to walk to restaurants and shops on High Street. All my friends walked (or took the bus) and it was just a normal part of the lifestyle. Then, I got a job. And walking doesn’t fit in well with the requirements of a job. Dress professionally and walk to campus? I lived way too far away. So I drove.

I’m sure both age and stopping the walking have increased and advanced my pain from arthritis and fibro. The weight I gain whenever they switch my psych meds has gotten large (and so have I). I can feel the weight pulling at my bones and hurting more. But losing it is the perpetual question. I’ve tried starving myself and that doesn’t work. I’ve tried exercising, and that didn’t work. I eat healthy food and not too much of it. The real problem seems to be getting me moving. But I cannot as it hurts too much (in a way that won’t go away once I’m into the movement.)

Catch 22

I’m sounding off here, hoping someone who reads this has solutions, large or small, that they can post in the comments. Maybe movements that may hurt less or ways to squeeze in some extra movement on days that are rough.

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Buy me a melon

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/johannahaas

Quick post here. I’ve just signed up for http://www.buymeacoffee.com. If you are reading these posts and want to encourage me – you can buy me a melon. (I changed it because I really want some melon in winter.)

You can also click like or follow me.

I’d put it on as a widget, but then I would have to upgrade to the professional plan, and that’s not happening soon.