Wheelchair Frustration

I’ve been using a wheelchair for almost 5 months. I know how they work, I know the parts, how and when to take off the footrests, how to make tight turns, and how to navigate in tight quarters.

But I really hate the one I have right now. It’s still the loaner from therapy because my own chair was on backorder, which may or may not still be true. The seat is sagging, which is something called “hammocking” which throws the body out of alignment. I bought a thing designed to provide a flat base and a convex bottom that fills in the saggy part which looked like it should fix the problem, but instead I found myself sliding too far forward, running the risk of falling out of the chair more than once.

A worse problem, though, is that the wheel locks aren’t secure anymore. So the chair slides forward and back a bit when I try to stand up – which makes me very insecure about trying to stand up, which is problematic right now anyway because my legs aren’t as strong. It moves less when on carpet, which I have in the bedroom, so it feels safer when I try to get dressed or transfer to the bed, but hard floors (which I have everywhere else) are a problem. The maintenance guy at the rehab center can tighten the locks, but I’m no longer going there for out patient therapy so will need to get scheduled for the fix – and schedule transportation to get me up and back for what should take about 15 minutes.

It’s really hard using the chair when I need to carry something somewhere, like laundry or food, or move into closets to take out storage boxes. You should have seen me today moving the boxes to store Christmas stuff. I kept running into other boxes, door frames, doors, and almost a cat, knocking down coats and a few other things. My feet kept twisting because the rubber soles don’t slide on the carpet and it was hard to move around with any speed. Swearing didn’t help and I really, really missed the ability to just walk around and do things that required a lot more thought this time when every move had to be thought through first.

I miss having feet that cooperate. And I want my own chair.

Calls to make this week:

  • Call BrickStreet for an update on delivery of my wheelchair
  • Call Meadow Lake therapy to get on schedule for repair of wheelchair locks

Going for Option 3

My weight loss journey is stalled and I’m annoyed. But then I’m annoyed at myself for BEING annoyed, which is not very productive or helpful. It’s only really a plateau if you’re trying hard to lose and just are stuck in the same place or small range for more than 2 weeks. Well, how about 6 months? I’ve basically been within the same 4 pounds since January, going down to 243 and back up to 247, then down, then up, then down, then up. Of course, I’m not exactly trying very hard to lose but I’m still annoyed when I don’t.

So I see a few options:

  1. Give up completely and eat whatever I want. This not really an option because I refuse to allow myself to be that fat and out of control again.
  2. Buckle down and eat a lower calorie target, weigh and measure, move more, and eliminate all the things I’m enjoying as “treats.” I know, this is extreme. I can have things I enjoy in small numbers. Who really needs 3 donuts just because they are there? I did all of this when I started, going great guns and losing a lot fast. But it never keeps up at that rate and I knew it wouldn’t. I just really don’t want to do this.
  3. Relax and decide to keep doing what I’m doing as early maintenance. Without working overly hard at it, I seem to have found a weight range that I can stick to without too much trouble, where my body feels pretty comfortable (except the knee), and that I can sustain while giving myself permission to have a Jersey Mike sub (always #2, the Mike’s Way) or a Dairy Queen kid’s cone just because I want to, without going crazy.
  4. Beat myself up for failing to lose.

I’m just torn. Because I feel as though I am failing if I’m not actively working to lose weight. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. I’m really bad at maintenance, or at least my history with it is. I’m great at losing huge amounts, then gaining it all back again. And I so do not want that to happen. I cannot let it happen again. That is a definition of failure more profound than failing to lose more.

I’m great at beating myself up for eating something “bad” even though I know in theory that no food is bad. There are just some foods that are better for me to stay away from, generally food with lots of carbs. But beating myself up just makes me depressed and sad, reaching for food for comfort. The whole “go to the gym and get those endorphins going” thing isn’t ingrained to replace it.

But since giving up is Not An Option and working hard to really lose doesn’t seem to be one either, I am choosing to commit to maintaining in the little range where I am now. Saying it is one thing. Doing it is something else, and it’s really all up in my head. I know how to do this – I’ve been doing this for months. I just need to give myself permission to choose Option 3.

The reality is that I have maintained a loss of 65 lbs for 9 months. For someone who doesn’t maintain well, this is huge. I haven’t been at this weight for over 7 years. There’s damage in my body that I can’t change from carrying massive amounts of excess weight for most of my life. But although I am still morbidly obese, my blood pressure is normal. My A1C, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels are normal. My BMI dropped 11.2 points. I’ve made significant changes that will make my life healthier and easier. I need to give myself permission to celebrate those changes and to recognize that the only person judging me right now is myself. It’s time to get over it.

Checking in and Catching up

I forgot to get on the scale this morning. That sounds so small a thing to have thrown me off but it did. Almost every day since I started Noom in January 2020, I start the day by peeing and then getting on the scale. It’s gotten to just be habit, as a way to get information, instead of a judgment. But today I just forgot. I slept badly because of neck and arm pain and too many things parading through my head, and was awake before 4am. Instead of getting on the scale, I went right to the living room and started guzzling water while updating the scheduled church newsletter with something I remembered while in bed trying to sleep. And then it was 6am. After drinking 50 oz of liquid, there’s no way I’d get on the scale. But it threw me off.

It’s been a while since I checked in with my body. My right side is kind of a mess from top to bottom: neuropathy in the foot, torn MCL at the knee, sciatica, neck and arm pain. The left side has a weak hip and more sciatica, but that’s not much. Two days ago I went to the hospital for a steriod injection in my right SI joint and a right knee genicular nerve burn (neurotomy). The meds to help me relax and not remember what happens didn’t work as advertized; there was no relaxing and lots of remembering. The burn itself was a new kind of pressure/pain but if it makes the knee happier, it will be worth it.

Now that I have been fully vaccinated and am 3 weeks past my second shot, I’m starting to get out more. I ate out in a restaurant with a friend last Friday, the first time I’ve done that in a year. I got antsy from being around so many people after a year of limiting exposure, but the food was great and it was a window of normal after a very long time of isolation. This weekend I’m off to my brother’s house for a weekend, my first trip there in 9 months. As he said, it’s time to unbuckle the seatbelts and start to move around the cabin. I’m taking baby steps and we’ll see how it goes.

In other news, I bought an air fryer and have been having fun trying to figure out how to use it. Mostly so far this has been cooking frozen foods such as prepared chicken and salmon, egg rolls, or reheating leftovers. Tonight I’m trying a new air fryer recipe of marinated chicken thighs (remember, I found a whole bunch of those when I cleaned out the freezer). We’ll see. But so far I think it will be a good tool and will help me do my small-scale one-person cooking without heating up the whole oven every time.

I’m also planning additional work on the house. Two years ago it was replacing half the windows and my renovation. Last year it was replacing the other half of the windows. This year I’m hoping to replace all or most of my landscaping, swapping out a very dated set of “solid green wall hedge” style with something shorter, cleaner, and more spaced out. I’m excited about making some changes and having time to enjoy them, as well as adding value to the home. I hired someone to draw out a plan and come up with plant options that will work with me making final decisions. So many plants were killed in the long freeze in February that nurseries are having problems filling orders, so that may be a factor. But at least I have a plan.

And on the inside of the house, it’s time to get my air ducts cleaned out and the carpets cleaned. I have no idea when the ducts were cleaned last but know it’s been at least 10 years, and the cats throw up a lot trying to get rid of hairballs, so both cleanings are past due. This home ownership game is expensive.

To Do Lists With Lots of Things

How To Write A To Do List That You'll Actually Stick To

It’s been a rocky month or two, food wise. Oh, I know all the things to do. I just don’t want to do them. I want to eat things that have no business being in my house but inexplicably are. Well, of course there is an explanation: I bought them. A year ago I wouldn’t have been tempted by them, flying high on successfully transforming my eating and my body. But that’s come to a standstill and I’ve been up and down the same few pounds – which seems worse when you weigh every day than it probably actually is.

So what’s going on? I’m stressed on multiple levels. And I’m comparing myself to friends or even strangers in my Facebook weight loss groups who are doing great. I know it’s not a competition and that comparisons are odious. We’re each on our own journey with ups and downs that don’t match up with another person’s ups and downs. But it’s depressing to see them doing well when I’m not. There are a couple of options: eat better, own up to what I’m doing and stop beating on myself, stop following the Facebook groups if they are making me nutty.

But mostly I think I’m bored. I’m really, really bored. I’m tired of wearing masks and staying alone, but I’m also not quite ready to get in groups and party. I’m tired of eating the same foods all the time. No one is making me do that, I can make different choices, but I’m not doing it because same is easy and I know how to fit those foods into the calorie allotment I have each day. I’m ready for a vacation from work which I haven’t had in longer than I can remember. But I don’t know what I’m going to do with it other than not go.

I like lists and structure and plans. So I’m making some to help me move forward and feel in control.

Things Already Done or Scheduled:

  • Unfollowed the two weight loss Facebook Groups until after Easter; will reassess then
  • Threw out snacky food in the house
  • Made haircut appointment
  • Scheduled Mah Jongg group lunch and game day
  • Scheduled landscape designer visit tomorrow to come up with redesign plan
  • Scheduled Pain Management procedure for SI joint injection and right knee nerve burn

Things to Do in the Next Week:

  • Work out menu options for meals that can be swapped out.
  • Eat three different breakfasts and three different lunches during the week.
  • Make a date to go to visit my brother at the ranch in the next month.
  • Schedule times three days a week to go to the gym.
  • Schedule a session with the gym staff to get oriented on new equipment.
  • Check the April calendar at work and decide when I can take three days off to make an extra long weekend.
  • Weed closet of clothes and jewelry to take to consignment shop.
  • Take 2 boxes of papers to be shredded.

Other Things To Get Done:

  • Call electrician to fix broken outlet and check out porch ceiling fan
  • Get front exterior faucet fixed
  • Buy and plant flowers in pots for front of house
  • Talk with TIAA to rebalance portfolio
  • Clean carpets
  • Take cats to the vet for shots

Random Sunday Things

Apartment update — throwing around “my brother the lawyer” was very helpful in working with management.  They are implementing his advice, at least most of it, and have said they are commited to doing the repairs to my satisfaction.  Which is a big improvement over what they said on Wed.  Friday they chopped out the wet wall and baseboards and patched in new, covering a much bigger area than I expected, and Monday I’ll get paint.

I don’t know what’s happening with the carpet but they ripped out enough carpet pad that I know SOMETHING is happening.  Whether that ends up being both whole rooms or just pieced sections, I don’t know.  I’ll probably have to move the poor kitty to the study again on Monday so she doesn’t get in the middle of the noise and activity and freak out.  For now she’s curled up on her little footstool next to mama, making us both happy.

Friday I had an appointment with the sleep doctor, the first since I moved last summer.  Although I’ve been on CPAP for over 3.5 years, I’ve been having problems in the last year waking up in the night and not waking up as refreshed as I did when I first got the CPAP.  Since I am an expert diagnostician with a medical degree from Google, I was pretty sure that my air pressure needed to be adjusted up higher.  I’ve gained back so much weight since the pressures were set that it was a good bet, and the doctor concurred.

What was annoying was the conversation about my weight problem.  Did I know that it would be helpful for me to lose weight and that lowering my BMI would have an effect on my required air pressure, not to mention improve my health?  Noooooooo, no one has ever mentioned it.  Would I be interested in information about weight loss program in a neighboring town that only costs $1200 for personalized plan?  No, I wouldn’t.

It makes me so mad that they tell me this every time I see a doctor, even when I volunteer up front that I know I have a weight problem and that it’s not helping.  See?  I’m Self Aware and have listened to people tell me in the past that I am a failure and need to work on this and then everything will be fine.

I grumbled loudly about it to the sleep tech who did a mask fitting after I saw the doctor.  She’s doing WW herself and we commiserated about it.  But then she did say that the doctors have to tell us if there is a weight-related factor to any physical problem, because otherwise they are open to liability for NOT having said anything.  So I should expect to keep hearing it.  In a funny way, that did help.  It’s not pointed at me for being stupid and a failure, it’s just doing their job.  I can listen and get upset, listen and get motivated, or listen and ignore the stress levels.

We also talked about WLS and the effect on sleep apnea.  Her experience with patients is that there’s a big improvement quickly, not just from the weight loss, although that’s certainly a major factor.    I may not get to a place where the apnea is completely gone but it could get low enough that the CPAP isn’t really needed.  It would be great to not be tied to the hoses and masks every night.