Today I will go on a walk.
For the last 3 days my ability to walk normally has steadily increased. I’ve practiced walking up and down our block and think I’ll be able to handle a proper stroll around our neighborhood.
Here are the rules:
1. Tell husband and kids what time I leave and what time I need to be back by. They know my route and can find me if I don’t return on time.
2. Pass the hedge with the pink flowers and pluck one to carry. Drop a petal on the corner every time I pass it when I circle the block. Once I drop the stem, either go home or do one or two of the bonus blocks. Then, go home.
3. If I start to feel funny, go home immediately.
These are the rules I normally follow. The flower has four petals. I know if I have completed one loop around a block, but I can’t tell you if I’ve done 2, 4, or 8 loops, so the flower keeps me on track (unless I forget to drop a petal, but I’ve created a habit, so that’s rare).
I have only had to be found 3 times, I think.
I frequently break rule 3. Sometimes that’s a disaster, but usually it’s ok.
I don’t take my phone because I don’t like carrying things. During the week, it wouldn’t do any good because my kids don’t have phones and we don’t have a landline. My husband’s office is far away, so would I call? I leave my kids my phone and they lock me out of the house. They can ride their bikes to find me (I circle 3 blocks, 3 blocks away) if I don’t return.
What a boring post, right? Anyone interested in a middle-aged woman walking around the block?
For me, it takes planning. It required my full attention. It is an accomplishment after struggling to stay supported on my legs for the last few weeks.
I sometimes see another middle-aged woman jogging. Her loop is two blocks to my one, so she breezes past me a couple of times if our workouts coincide. I want to call out to her, “Hey, I’m working just as hard as you! Last year I was jogging too!”
Why do I need this validation?
Because I know what I look like, and my outsides don’t match my insides. My effort is massive but invisible. Sometimes I need a cheering squad. These walks are my physical therapy, minus the therapist rooting for me.
Yesterday I picked up books and Christmas movies from the library. The librarian commented that it was good to see me walking well again. It’s a tiny library, requiring only 10 steps from the door to the request shelf. But she had been working last week and had seen me struggle.
So few people have. My relapses and recovery have taken place in isolation. It’s been lonely, falling down at home, falling apart at home, no visitors in the hospital or even afterwards. Nobody knows how hard it’s been. Not really. My big news might not seem like much to anyone else, but here’s the headline:
Yesterday I was seen and today I will go on a walk.