Saturday Plans go Awry

The good news about today is that when I finally got around to getting dressed, I put on a bathing suit under my clothes, went to the gym, and did 30 minutes of water aerobics for the first time in months.  The bad news is that I ate a whole bag of gingersnaps – not all at once, but still.  TOTALLY mindless eating which I wouldn’t have done if I had not bought the bag in the first place.  The fact that they were reduced fat gingersnaps helps a tiny bit but not much.  The texture and flavor and bite of the ginger that satisfied something I was craving.  I just need to find something that does the same thing in a less self-destructive way.

My plan for the day was to go to an orchard some 20 miles from here, one of those “pick your own fruit” places where I could stock up on peaches and apples and other good stuff from the farm stand.  But the real draw was their sunflower maze:  3 acres of 12-foot sunflower stalks with a maze carved out for walking and getting lost.  They also have a corn maze but it’s the sunflowers that call to me.

I don’t really know if I can walk around a whole 3 acres full of sunflowers but I want to at least see them.  I’m going tomorrow and try to beat the heat and crowds.  There are supposedly viewing stations to look down and see the designs in the mazes as well so I have that option if I just don’t think the knee will hold up for the walking.  After a whole summer of wearing mostly my pink Birk sandals, I’ll dig out the walking shoes and socks so I’m well supported.

My little brain has been sidetracked by Hurricane Gustav which has become a Category 4 storm and is projected to make Cat 5 tomorrow.  My parents told me that in East Texas they are expecting to lose power at some point because of rain and wind damage messing up power lines; this happened to them with Katrina and Rita both.  They’re stocking up on dry ice tomorrow to help keep the cold things cold, and Dad replaced the batteries in flashlights and lanterns.  I worry about my friends in New Orleans and hope they are safe, along with so many whose lives were uprooted or lost in Katrina just three years ago.

Sunday Afternoon in the Pool

Don’t drop dead of shock, but I went to the gym this afternoon and did 30 minutes of water aerobics in the pool. By myself. Without anyone holding a gun to my head or bribing me with brownies for going. I have to confess that it felt good to be moving, and safe in the water. Safe for my joints and safe from too many prying eyes, although there were some swimmers who looked askance at someone waving a noodle and water weights.

Why did I decide to go after 6 months of assiduously avoiding the place? Probably because the weather has changed and it’s time to pull out summer clothes, and most of what I have either doesn’t fit well or fits but I hate it. I’ve had a hard time finding clothes to fit in stores so spent a chunk of time last night ordering online from sites with better track records of larger sizes. Of course, that means being prepared that a good chunk of what’s ordered isn’t going to work out, so I usually buy extra so I have more choices.

Along the way it occurred to me that an alternative to being annoyed is to actually do something about my body shape to make it easier to find clothes. Not specifically to lose weight, more about the inches and where they are currently padded. Losing weight will probably be a by-product but my real goal is to make sure I can shop for and find clothes I like better.

I think maybe I’m going to look for a second bathing suit.

Nursing My Sore Knee

Knee Cryo/cuff combines compression with coldThe Evil Princess of Exercise skipped out on water aerobics tonight. I’ve been doing a lot of walking, standing, and stairs in the last 2 weeks and my bad knee is very cranky, to the point that bending it hurts like hell and straightening it means that bending it later hurts more.

I decided that, although water exercise is the only realistic thing I can do, an hour of hopping around in a cold pool wasn’t going to cut it today. So I came home, popped an extra anti-inflammatory, and piled on the frozen peas. And ordered myself a heating pad that plugs into the car lighter so I can warm up the knee while parked outside the gym before going in for a workout.

When I finish this post, I’m going to dig into my files and find my post-op exercises and start working them again. I’ve lost range of motion since the surgery – I can’t do much of anything on the recumbent bike or bend it as much – and I want to be sure I don’t lose more.

My dad commented when he was here and walking behind me at one point that I walk the way he did before he had his knee replacements. This isn’t a good thing and although I knew I was kind of lurching around some of the time, I hadn’t realized that everyone else was seeing it, too. Which is pretty silly when you think about it.

I had a great visit with my parents, who went back to Texas yesterday. I’m not sure what we’ll do the next time, because we did everything! Art and natural history museums, walks around Yale and downtown, trips to Mystic Seaport and Litchfield and East Rock Park, and Sunday’s steam train/riverboat trip on the Connecticut River. We had great weather and easy travel, and my new blow up aerobed worked out beautifully.

It gave me great pleasure to do all the cooking and give my mom a little vacation, although it was weird to not have leftovers. Cooking for three is different than cooking for one person who doesn’t care if the separate parts are ready at the same time. We ate fairly simple food (meat, vegetable, potato) with light-dessert most days. My mom rarely snacks while my dad demolished my box of Healthy Choice fudge bars. I was somewhere in the middle and felt pretty snack-deprived, although I wasn’t really all that hungry. It was the habit of them, I think, that I missed.

Now the house is quiet except for the sound of rain outside. I’m home alone with my sore knee and the frozen peas and the time to think about who and what really matters.

Almost Ready for Company

CountdownI’ve been counting down the days before my parents come, using my list of Things That Need to be Done. It’s broken down by room and I’ve been trying to get one done a night. But I hate working around the house when it’s dark outside and after I’ve been gone all day doing Work. I figured that having a way to break things down would make it at least manageable.

One thing, well okay, two things, I’m doing this week have nothing to do with the parents’ visit and everything to do with personal boundaries. Yesterday I went to my water aerobics class and added an extra 30 minutes before we started, so I must have walked miles in the pool. It really was a hard workout but I’m getting to know what the exercises are and how to do them without hurting the knee but still feeling it in the muscles. Of course afterward the whole class hopped into the whirlpool and chatted some more.

Although I know I’ll be ultra-anxious tomorrow, since they come on Friday, I’m still going to tomorrow’s WA class. I need to set that time apart for myself to do something physical FOR myself. I’ll have to miss at least one next week but I deserve the workout and I’m going to carve out the time to do it even if it means not cleaning something that no one would probably notice anyway.

The other thing I did for myself was go to Weight Watchers for a weigh in and stay for the meeting. We talked about butterflies, and how to be able to fly we first have to be willing to let go of being a caterpillar. There were 6 things on the list, most of which I’ve already forgotten because I have a memory like a steel sieve. But I noticed that when the leader asked us for ways we could work on “Believe in Yourself”, we all sort of drew blanks. We could come up with motivational things but I think we really didn’t believe all that much in ourselves and that we could do what we’ve set out to do.

I know this is true for me. I believe that I am a good person, a good friend, and have lots of positive qualities. I’m not saying I’m a schmuck or evil because I’m obese or because I’ve gained back some of the weight I’ve lost. But I’m going to have to think about this one, what it means to believe in myself and live that out. I think it could be an important piece.

For now, though, I’m waiting for the dryer to stop. There is wine waiting to chill, the study is dusted, the bedding for the Aerobed has been pulled out of the storage chest, and the freezer had lots of protein. I have a batch of browned ground turkey, onions, peppers, and garlic ready to thaw and use in meat sauce with pasta for Friday’s supper. A basket holds tour books, maps, and brochures of things to do.

I haven’t seen my parents since Thanksgiving and can’t wait to see them. The visit is really about the time together, not about whether I’ve fixed the perfect meal or dusted everything that doesn’t move.

Water Aerobics and the Dentist

Water aerobicsI ventured into new territory this week with an hour-long water aerobics class in the pool at my new gym. Never having taken one before, I of course looked up exercises online in advance so I’d know what to expect – I’m not big on surprises where body things are concerned.

We filled up our hour with 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training using these cute little yellow barbells with baffles on the end to grab water for more resistance. Yesterday we used those noodles with exercises, too. Let me just say that it’s a lot harder to make those behave than you’d think. The cardio work included pool lane walking forwards and backwards, jogging, hopping, marching, different versions of jumping jacks and other things I’ve already forgotten. But believe me, we were busy.

The group is small – five one night and four the other – and I’ve been told 10 is the biggest it gets. Which means we won’t be as likely to hit each other in the pool while we’re flailing around trying to stay balanced. Since we’re all blind at bats in the pool without our glasses, it helps to have people nearby to watch to figure out whatever we’re supposed to do next. The best part was hanging out in the very hot whirlpool after class for 10 minutes or so, getting warm and just chitchatting.

I was very aware yesterday that my right knee hurt while we were doing things. Not vicious, sharp pain but more a sense that it’s just not like the other one. I’ve been aware of it all week as I walked and did my regular life activities so it’s not surprising that I was aware of it in the pool, too. But it did reinforce that trying to do a serious workout is going have to happen in the water which is much easier on the joints than using weight machines or even the treadmill.

Another part of my body was also trying to get my attention: my mouth. I’ve had a low-grade toothache off and on almost since I got here, but I’d been checked out by the dentist in Boston before leaving so wasn’t inclined to go find a dentist. I hate having people put fingers in my mouth and inflict pain which pretty much describes a visit to the dentist.

ToothacheThings have been worse in the last week or so with the toothache accompanied by an earache; I even had two short dizzy spells which were a bit unnerving. Since I have a dental degree in addition to my other ones plus I have access to the web for research, I decided that everything was probably tied to a tooth infection of some kind, pressing on nerves and giving me the earache and vertigo.

The actual dentist, who I found by doing a Google search, decided something different. My teeth are newly cleaned and cavity-free, with healthy gums. But my back tooth is apparently moving and there’s a gap between it and the one next to it. Bottom line is that I need a new crown to replace an old one and build up some of the space to keep them touching so I don’t end up with periodontal disease. That’s very good incentive. I just wish crowns didn’t cost $1,500.

So I’ve been listening to my body. Putting it in the pool, feeding it healthy things, getting treatment when things weren’t quite right. I’m contemplating whether to see someone about the knee or just deal with it; I already know it has arthritis, degenerative joint disease, and very little padding between the bones. There’s not much they can do but I’m keeping my options open.