As any of you who are Friends with me on Facebook know, typically I am not at all shy about letting my fiscal conservative political views be known through the pictures and articles I re-post from other Friends. I’m also not shy about my support for various groups (Pagans, Gays, Children, Animals, etc.) when there is a clear violation of rights, and the abuses seriously need to be addressed. So those are my liberal leanings, but I don’t consider them liberal. I consider them Correct and Just Actions to eliminate unjust bigotry, evil, ignorance and just plain meanness. I say what’s on my mind, and I try to explain some of my views, but with many I don’t bother. My opinions are mine, and I’m keeping them. Which brings to mind the saying about assh*les and opinions, everybody has one.
So…enough of politics. I’d like to talk about me again. Yup, I said me again. It’s been said by many a professional writer and editors, beginning writers should stick to writing about subjects they know. With me, that’s going to be chickens, dogs, me and a pig. I may throw in some cooking or gardening in the future. I may even decided to interview another friend, as I did with that wonderfully talented and kind musician, Kjell Braaten ( https://www.facebook.com/Kjell.Braaten?fref=ts). Always props to his creative efforts. Anyway, I simply do not know what the far future brings, only the near future, and that is me!
Just this past August, I got news from a cardiologist that rather changed my world, and how I’m going to deal with the world at large, not because I want to, but because I have to. It seems the years of chronic bronchitis growing up, and a bout with pneumonia have left scar tissue in my lungs making it harder for me to get the oxygen I need. This, when paired with my Sleep Apnea, has caused the lower right chamber of my heart to enlarge slightly because it’s having to work so much harder to supply my body with the necessary oxygen. My continued up and down battle with weight has not helped any at all, either. My doctor wants me start walking on a treadmill every day for at least 30 minutes a day with supervision. As doctors never ask you what your living and financial situation may happen to be (They just say, “I want you to do this.”), I never even bothered to ask him how he thought I was going to accomplish that regimen.
- I do not have, nor can I afford, a treadmill.
- Mother needs a new oven, and that’s going to come first if I’m to have the diet he wants me to have.
- Where am I to put one if I could get one? Where I live is not my house.
- I tend to be most active at night. I always have been. I doubt my parents would be terribly thrilled with my walking at 3 A.M. Although, I’m sure they’d be expecting it.
- Yes. My insurance covers a membership to a specific gym, but the insurance does not cover the gasoline to that gym which is a prohibitive distance away from where I live.
- It’s not my car or insurance.
- I’m hard-headed, and I miss serious working out. If I were to go to a gym and see all those wonderful machines I’d not be allowed to use, I’d be miserable. Thus, I’d be even less likely to go to the gym.
While on the subject of gyms…I stopped by Anytime Fitness (a 24 hour gym) much closer to my home to see if they’d meet my needs. I spoke to a very nice young woman named Shayla (I have no idea if the spelling is correct.), and she was quite honest with me. She refused to even discuss a membership with me. She felt, considering what I’d be paying to use only a treadmill, it would simply be too expensive for me and bad business for her to charge me even their most basic fee. In the end, I’d be paying as much to go there as to drive to the free gym. She suggested I take that money and try to finance an affordable treadmill for home. She really impressed me with her honesty, kindness and her attempts to help me find a solution to my dilemma. Because of this, I’m going to give them a shameless plug. I liked what I saw of the gym, and they have classes for folks with specific interests. SO…if you live in or near the Cocoa, Fl area, and you are in need of a gym, check out Anytime Fitness at 2311 State Road 524 #100, Cocoa, FL 32926. They are also at www.facebook.com/AnytimeFitnessCocoa.
Anyhoo…in the early morning hours of September 11, 2013, a day of national mourning over the loss of thousands of lives in the fall of the World Trade Center towers and the lives of first responders lost in their fall, and to illness in the years following all of the search and rescue operations, I set a personal challenge to meet and exceed what the doctors want of me. The only thing my doctors all agree on, is that in order for my health to stand a chance of improving, I must start walking, either on the treadmill or just where ever I can, so this morning I did. I started walking.
To be specific, I started walking at 5:51 A.M., and my goal was to reach the corner market 1 1/2 miles away and back again. I wasn’t sure how long the 3 mile round trip would take me, or even if I could do it. I certainly didn’t want to be waking anyone with a phone call to get me home, but I knew what I wanted to do. I’d been wanting to try it for quite some time, but there was always someone around to stop me by telling me it was too much, that I couldn’t do it. When I made up my mind to do it in the dark hours of this morning, no one was awake to stop me. I wish I could say I got off to a smooth start.
When I first went out the front door, I had a dog wanting to go with me, and I had to tell her she wasn’t coming, to go back to bed. She was so disappointed, but I have to admit, what I was going to do is a bit dangerous. It’s a dirt road upon which too many idiots drive way too fast, even when the road is in bad shape. It had been raining, so I knew it wasn’t going to be in top condition. I didn’t want to take a black dog out with me into the dark and risk her safety, too. Dealing with her, I forgot my Rune walking staff, which I remembered after I’d very quietly locked to door behind me, so I equally quietly let myself back inside to get it. After I’d locked the door behind me the second time, I realized I’d forgotten a flashlight. At that point, I decided I could do without one. Right about the time I reached the entrance of our driveway, well under the oak trees all over our property, I re-realized just how damn dark it is out here with no street lights.
No. I didn’t go back for a flashlight, I decided to forge ahead without one. I’m glad I did. When I was free of the influence of our security light, the stars were absolutely amazing, and where there were no tree limbs to obscure their light, I could see fairly well. As I made the first 1/2 mile trek just to reach the main road, I began hearing signs of life around me just out of sight in the bushes. I heard small things moving away, and a few things that sounded medium sized, too. Some things, I knew, were watching me from just a few feet away, and I had no idea what they were. I just smiled in my heart knowing they were there, and kept moving, for their sake’s as much as mine. As early as it was, I saw in the distance the tail lights of some neighbors as they were leaving home, beginning their day. That gave me some pause in courage as I thought of what it might be like walking on the main road, but I kept going.
When I reached the main road, I looked both north and south, and to my surprise, I saw no headlights in either direction. This lack of activity gave my courage boost, and I quickly crossed the road to the wide shoulder on the other side. Loving the stars, the continued sounds of small animals and the coolness of the clean air, I set for myself a pace I knew would be tough, but it’d get me warmed up and my heart rate pumping. I was loving my walk. I was feeling alive like I hadn’t felt since my last night time walk too many years ago. Another point in favor of choosing to be walking at night is the currently prohibitive heat/humidity we have right now, although the season for it will soon be winding down. If I’d tried this walk during the day, I’d probably make it to the end of the next door neighbor’s driveway and have to turn back from the inability to breathe and the feeling that I was going to drop at any moment. I’m not a wuss, but no ambulances please!
My walk was going quite well until I finally had a vehicle coming from behind me. I can’t really fault the person for using high beams, but once they realized I was there, it really would have been nice if they had back them down. I was walking blind. For that reason, and because I was stupid for not freezing in place, I fell into a cut the county road grader makes in the shoulder, so water can drain from the roadway. Boy, did I go down! Both knees hit the bottom of the cut, and both elbows hits the top edge of the cut with a solid thud! That person had to have seen me go down, but there wasn’t even a blip in their tail lights to indicate a tap on their brakes. Nice, huh? But that’s part of what makes walking out here in the woods alone at night dangerous. I’m not going to say it didn’t hurt. It damn well did. I’m also not going to say I didn’t consider turning for home because I did. Then I thought about how disappointing it might be for any of my gods or goddesses who might have taken a notice to my determination to meet the criteria of perseverance in the Nine Noble Virtues. Then as I stood facing the road, with home to my left and my goal to my right, I realized that it was actually myself I was concerned about disappointing by not persevering. With this in my head and perseverance in my heart, I made a right face and headed towards that beacon of halfway success…the corner market.
With time passing, and the locals waking, when the next few vehicles came by, I stopped and faced the road to make sure they could see me. As it turned out, my blond wood Rune walking staff glows in the light of high beams. (It’s quite the beacon of my presence, so I now have a hard and fast procedure for alerting drivers I’m there.) After each vehicle passed by me, I quickly resumed walking, keeping up my pace.
Finally. Finally! I had reached the market, and I pulled out my phone to check my time. I was quite shocked to find the 11/2 mile hike had taken me, including my fall and my stops for passing vehicles, only 20 minutes! This was beyond anything I had hoped for, much less dreamed of doing. I was incredibly happy, but I was also thinking, “Now I have to get home. Can I keep up this pace? Will I make it, even if I slow down?” I rested for all of 7 minutes before turning around.
Well, I did slow down a bit. I had to. The world was waking up, and it was just too beautiful to fly by. It was still fairly dark in the bushes as I turned for home, but there was no mistaking the cursing of an otter as I disturbed it’s morning routine. I merely laughed and made noises back at it. In the morning light, I slowed to identify tracks I saw in the dirt of the road. Ah, a turtle had crossed. Later, I slowed to identify the tracks of… Well, I couldn’t figure out what those were. A bit further down the road, I stopped long enough to move to the shoulder the remains of a little snake that hadn’t made it through the night. Sometimes, I really hate other drivers, especially the speeders through the country. Then I laughed as I heard my first song bird of the day. The roosters had been singing their songs for awhile before that moment. Now, however, the day had truly begun.
When I saw the sign for my trail, I picked up my pace for the victory that awaited me, and when I reached the track that would lead me home, I made the turn eastward to face into the rising sun. As I fast hiked, I saw other animal tracks, and thoughts raced through my mind. ‘Heh…glad that raccoon wasn’t at my house.’ ‘Wow. Moles sure are tenacious about crossing roads to get where they’re going.’ ‘Oh! Rabbit tracks. Keep going you idiot, or you’re going to fall over! Aim for the chair in front of the carport!’ And aim for that chair I did.
Collapsing into the chair I’d barely reached, I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket to check my time. Yes. I had slowed down. Yes. It had taken me longer. The return trip home had taken me 21 minutes! So much for pacing myself. But I’d done the first time out what no one had thought I could do without working up to it. I’d made the 3 mile round trip to the store and back, and I’d done it in a grand total of, with the break included, 48 minutes.
With the deed now a fait accompli, when my parents finally made their appearance into the day, I told them what I’d done. They weren’t terribly thrilled, but they were quite happy I’d succeeded. They now know I plan to start taking early morning walks to the store and back on an attempted regular basis, but health issues what they are, I can’t promise myself anything other than I’ll try. I won’t lie. I know I pushed myself much harder than I should have, and that would be one reason the doctor specified that he wants me to be supervised. The other reason being the condition I was in when I reached that chair.
It’s now the early evening of September 12th, and I’m still feeling the hike I took on the morning of the 11th. I don’t know if I’m going to make the next hike as planned as soon as tomorrow morning, Friday the 13th, or not. I was planning for a schedule of every other day, but this one might be too soon. If I don’t head out in the morning, I’m shooting for the morning of the 14th. I’m not sure I can explain it, but I need this.
I need to feel, once again, like a person who isn’t labeled “disabled”.