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Archive for May, 2011

Last Day Of May…Already?

I’ve said this before, what really…where is the year going? The 6th month of the year starts tomorrow. How are you doing with your goals so far from the new year’s eve? I don’t remember mine. I don’t think I made any resolutions really this year. If I did, it was just to stay moving. I’ve been doing that for the most part.

The last few weeks, my exercising has been hit and miss. Mostly, I’ve been on track though. I got my mile in today, and this one seemed to go a little faster than usual. My time is still a lot slower than it was. I’m not focusing on speed at the moment, just to stay moving. I did 35 minutes on the elliptical. I think a while back my fastest time for a mile was 33:10 or 33:20. Today, my took me about 35:10. But, like I said, I’m not concentrating on speed right now.

My confidence and walking are still pretty much in the tank. My walking isn’t too bad, but it could be a lot better. I’m doing my best not to worry about what may happen. That’s easier said than done though. The mind plays awful tricks on you. It’s also very difficult to switch that particular mindset. I’ve been practicing positive thinking, but no matter how many positive thoughts I may say or think to myself, those negative thoughts creep in and overpower me. Then the self fulfilling prophecies happen. If you think something is going to happen, then it most likely will. Along those lines, why is it that negative self fulfilling prophesies are more easily to happen than the positive ones?

Anyway, enough deep thinking for now. Like I said, I got my mile in, and am currently making my way to Buchanan, VA. I have roughly 28 miles to go, so it will be a while, unless I do more than one mile a day (once I get back into the daily mile routine). Here’s the virtual walk pictures from today and also one from last week that I never got around to posting.

Mile 272.6

272.6

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Mile 273.6

273.6

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Still seeing cars and activity as I’m passing through Lexington. Might be a quiet 28 miles until I hit Buchanan. Keep moving everyone, and a big hello to those that I recently found out were reading. Smile Don’t be shy to comment below!

Catching Up On Miles

I don’t know what is going on, but the last few weeks have really flown by. I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday. I just got done watching the Biggest Loser finale. I was happy with the outcome. I couldn’t pick a favorite this time. I liked all three finalists. I was bummed that there was no marathon episode. That’s probably my favorite episode of the whole season. I don’t know why they didn’t do one this time around. If I were a part of the final four, I would get everyone together and run one anyway. It’s been a Biggest Loser right of passage for several years now.

It definitely does not feel like it’s almost June as far the temperatures go. We’ve been lucky so far, in that we’ve only had a handful of days that have been over 100 degrees. And the highest it will be in the next 7 days is 98. We even have a high as low as 84 on Sunday. Fine with me.

The last several weeks I’ve been slacking on exercise. That needs to change. I did get one mile in today, and when I looked at my fitness tracker, my last day of exercise was 5 days ago. What? Whoops. Like I said, the weeks are flying by. No wonder my endurance is lacking lately. I haven’t been consistent at all.

Here are the last three pictures from the virtual walk site. Exciting pictures this time around. People, cars and more!

Mile 269.6: Woohoo! A person walking to check the mailbox.

269.6

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Mile 270.6: Buildings and cars!

270.6

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Mile 271.6: Police car on the left, and a…horse and carriage on the right! How awesome is that!

271.6

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

I’m entering Lexington, VA even though it still says I have .44 miles to go. Looks like a pretty fun and active city!

Have a great day!

The Week Is Starting Off Right

Got my strength training done early like usual when I first got up. I didn’t get around to my mile on the elliptical until after lunch, around noon. But I did get it done. I’m still dealing with a tiny bit of left over anxiety, but not much at all. I plan on getting on my elliptical every day this week, no more slacking. And I’ll be doing my strength training also. One day down.

The weather is really…odd to say the least right now. We’re usually in the upper 90s or low to mid 100s by now. The high today? 79. The high Wednesday is supposed to be only 75. Feels like the Twilight Zone. Not that I’m complaining of course. We’re also supposed to get rain and wind (more wind…joy). They’re calling doe snow in the mountains. Snow…in May. Very strange. I’ll take it though.

My mile on the elliptical today went well. I was slow again, took me about 36 minutes to do the mile instead of my usual 34. I’ll speed up again eventually, I’m not in any hurry. As long as I stay moving, that’s the important thing.

Here’s when I am on the virtual walk.

Mile 268.6

268.6

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Another bright day in Virginia. I have about 3 and 1/2 miles until I hit Lexington. I’ll get there this week.

Back To Normal

After all the drama of the last week and a half, I’m slowly getting back to normal. After the shower incident, I’m still dealing with some leftover anxiety issues. I now have a secure safety bar installed just outside the tub. So, that is definitely good. My anxiety still flares up when I go to get in and out of the tub. The bar’s not going anywhere, but my mind keeps playing nasty games with me. Onward and upward though. The kinks will get worked out in time. Baby steps.

Today, I did one mile on the elliptical, after having done nothing for 10 days. It felt good to get back on. I felt a little uncomfortable for the first fifteen minutes (just like several weeks ago), but then it worked itself out, and I was more stable. I’ve done no strength training for the last several weeks, but will get back into that on Monday. I really wanted to focus on my elliptical today, and I didn’t want to be sore or tired when I did.

It’s so strange how a small fix can increase your confidence level. The new safety bar is making me feel a lot more confident and self assured. I did need to wear my shower shoes (pool shoes, whatever you want to call them) today, but the relief has been huge. I was worried constantly after what happened, worried that the new permanent bar wasn’t going to work right, worried about this, that and the other thing. Things are now situated the correct way, and I can relax. I need to get over this last bit of anxiety that is lingering, and I’m taking those steps (thus the shower shoes).

Now I can get back to my working out again, and keep racking up those miles. Here’s the picture from my mile today on the virtual walk site.

Mile 267.6

267.6

 

Copyright 2006 Lawrence Berkeley Lab

It pays to keep fighting. A few weeks back, I was down and out, and now I’m back to my old self. Keep moving, that’s the key!

Safety Bar Update

I will not be using my suction cup safety bar at all anymore. My anxiety levels go through the roof as soon as I even think about getting into the shower. Yesterday, I was so nervous about it, I had a panic attack even before I got ready for my shower. My husband came into the bathroom with me (in the middle of my panic and crying attack), and again we tested the bars out. Sometimes they stuck on really tight and were fine. I got in and out of the tub several times. Other times it would pop off with little or no pulling. It was really random. And when it would pop off, I would panic more.

We scrubbed the wall clean, and it didn’t help any. Still not sure what is going on, but I will not be using them anymore. Later that day (once I had calmed down…I’ll explain that later), I had my husband help me in and out of the shower. We attempted to use the bar again, and it popped off.

Earlier in the day, my husband talked with his dad about what happened, and asked again about a safety bar that drills into the wall. Apparently, a few years ago, when we first asked about it, there was some confusion. He thought we were talking about drilling a hole into the tub itself, not the shower wall. I wasn’t around for that conversation, but apparently that’s what the misunderstanding was about. Tub wall/shower wall. So, yes, a shower bar that drills into the shower wall is a go.

My main concern now (yes, I worry a lot) is finding a stud in the wall. If there’s no solid stud, I’ll be stuck. I know the towel racks in the bathroom have fallen off because the studs in that room are in strange places. But inside the shower might be another story. Only time will tell. We’ve got a shower bar ordered and on the way from Amazon. It’s supposed to get here sometime Wednesday. Until then, I’m holding off on exercise and if I absolutely need a shower, I’ll have help. Not planning on going anywhere in the next few days, so I can survive with no shower until then.

So that’s the update for now. I’ll keep you all updated as it happens. But, no, there’s no way I’ll using the suction cups anymore. My anxiety is just too much when I think about it. I still think it’s strange that they worked for several years, and are now giving me problems. No idea.

Shower Safety PSA

This is the PSA (Public Safety Announcement) that I said I was going to blog about in my last post. First of all, let me say up front…I am fine. I’m not hurt, I just had a really scary moment on Thursday.

Let me start at the beginning. About three years ago, I wanted to become more independent as far as me showering by myself was concerned. To be more exact, getting in and out of the shower (tub) on my own. I used to have my husband help me in and out. It was determined that the studs in the wall outside the shower were not sturdy enough, or not in the right place…something like that…for a regular safety bar to be installed. And the walls inside the shower were made from some materiel that if water got into a drill hole (from a safety bar) there was a possibility of mildew or mold growing inside.

Anyway, since a regular safety bar was pretty much out of the question, I started looking for alternatives. I came across suction cup safety bars. I had never thought about safety bars being stuck up using suction cups. I read reviews of a few bars, and I bought my first was through Amazon.

First Bar

This particular safety bar had “safety colors”. When you stuck it on the wall, and if the color was green, you were good to go. If it was red, you had to re-attach it. I used that, but over time the safety colors started to lie, and I got uncomfortable using it. It didn’t seem reliable.

I then got a similar safety bar as the first, only it was like a double bar, one on top of the other. Same thing happened though, and I was uncomfortable using it. It kept sliding off the wall, and I re-attached it multiple times during my showers. It even fell off without touching it. So that was definitely out.

The third time I bought a bar, it was one a really liked.

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It was a lot smaller than the other kinds, but a lot more stable. I’ve been using this particular bar for the last two and half years or so. I’ve had no problems. I’ve bought three of the same kind actually. The first one broke because I dropped it. The second one has lasted me at least 14 to 16 months. I bought the third one in January or February, because I wanted to have a backup just in case something went wrong.

Another reason I bought the third one was because I was having balance issues galore, and I was being paranoid. Anyway, about a month ago I started using the newer bar. It works fine, but it seems to make a strange noise that the other two didn’t make when I first got them. When these safety bars come loose, they make a kind of squeaky noise. I know I should probably reattach it just to be safe when I hear that noise.

Now we come to this past Tuesday. Got in the shower just like normal, did my thing. I needed to stand up while in the shower at one point, so I give a quick tug on the bar just to be safe. It squeaked and popped off the wall. Normally it just squeaks but doesn’t pop off. OK, so I reattach it and give it a light tug again. The bar sort of slides along the wall and pops off again. Wonderful, I’m going to be stuck in the shower until my husband gets back from work.
Not so fast, that’s why I have the second bar as a back up. I never thought I’d be using the older bar as a backup, but I did. I put the other bar up, and it was OK. I finish my thing, and get out. No problems.

I let my husband know what happened, and he went in to investigate. He comes back and said he did everything he could, and the bar would not pop off. I said, “show me.”. Not that I didn’t believe him, I just wanted to see so I could ease my mind. So we both go in and I watch him. He could have done pull ups with these things. He twisted, he pulled, he yanked…but they stayed in place.

Now comes Thursday. There were a lot of “I should haves” that day. I should have brought my shower shoes with me. I should have brought my phone with me. I should have slid my shower seat forward more before getting in. I didn’t do any of those things. Way back in the back of my mind I always hear a little voice asking “what if the bar pops off as I’m getting in?”. It’s not always a loud thought, but some days it’s louder than others. It was a very quiet thought that day, and I pushed it out of head. After all, I had seen how strong this bar is.

I attach the newer bar to the wall just like normal, and give it a quick tug. It was fine. I step in to the tub with my left foot first and as I’m bringing my right leg in, before I get my foot to the floor of the tub, I hear a *pop*, as the bar pops off the wall. So here I am with my left hand on the wall of the shower, my left leg in the tub, and my right foot almost down. I put my foot down, and think “did that just happen?”. Did the bar really just pop off?

At this point, my body is not situated where I want it to be in the tub. My left foot is closer to the right side of the tub, and I want to move it over. I’m leaned over to the left more than I’d like and I’m scared to move it since I have no safety bar on the wall anymore. It hasn’t really hit me yet that the bar is off the wall. I’m thinking “this can’t be happening” and then it finally hits me. I begin to panic. I start breathing fast and actually start to hyperventilate. After a little while, I get a hold of myself and tell myself to calm down. I say to my self, “Yes, this is happening. This is the real deal, Tee. Just breath.”

I take a few deep breaths and I start to assess my situation. I’m standing on both my feet, even if it is a precarious position. I look for my shower seat. It’s not close enough for me to just plop down into it (it may have been close enough, but I didn’t want to risk it). I’m still holding the safety bar in my right hand. So, I throw the safety bar on the floor. I put my right hand on the wall. I look at my left hand and think, “OK, what can I grab for that is somewhat stable. The top of the wall where it sort of juts out No, not enough to grip really. The shower head pipe where it attached to wall. That’s it. So I take a breath and slowly move my hand to the shower head pipe.

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Once my left hand is somewhat secure, I take a look at my right hand. Where can I move my hand so it’s more secure. I don’t want to grab the shower curtain, that would only cause the curtain rod to fall, and then I’d be sure to go down. The shower wall sort of rounds out on the side and blends in with the normal wall. Good enough place as any. So I work my hand over to the curve of the wall.

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Now for my legs and feet. Prior to my shower I had been sitting outside, so I was hot and sticky from the heat. So my legs are kind of stuck together and don’t want to pull apart. I again take a deep breath and slowly try and move my left foot over. I sort of have a “hitch” moment when my legs un-stick, and I feel like I’m going to fall, but I don’t. At that point, I know I’m going to be OK. I didn’t fall after that hitch like movement (hard to explain what that “hitch” feels like). I move my left leg over and am definitely more stable. I get into a better position, let go of the shower head pipe and wall, and sit down (why didn’t I move the seat forward more before this?).

I made it. Big huge relief, let me tell you. I haven’t been that scared in a long long time. There’s a difference between being anxious and scared, at least there is to me. I’m anxious quite a lot about a number of things. But I actually got scared when I was in that situation. I did panic when the realty of the situation hit me, but I managed to reign that panic back and deal with it. I’m not sure how long this entire scene lasted, but it felt like at least 30 minutes. It was probably only two minutes at the most.

I sat there for a while just reassuring myself that I was OK. And I never cried…not once. My legs felt like Jell-o for the rest of the day because of the adrenaline leaving my body, but I was OK. I told my husband what happened when he got back, and we’re trying to determine what I’m doing so the bar is popping off. He thinks I’m attaching to a not fully flat part of the wall. He’s probably right, but why is it happening all of a sudden? He again yanked on the bar, and it actually did pop off for him once. I think it was on part of the ridged portion of the wall though.

I’m trying not to let this incident effect other areas when I have balance issues. So far so good. My walking isn’t being effected by what happened. I had a glitch in the laundry room, but I’m chalking that up to having no shoes on. I catch myself thinking about the “what ifs” of what happened. What if the bar popped off when my right foot was higher in the air, or while my left foot was first going in? I need to stop dwelling, and move on from it. Yes, it was scary, but I got through it. It most likely will not happen again. I can’t start thinking that it will. It’s going to be hard, and I know my mind will flip out on me when it’s time for my next shower, but I’m going to be OK. From now on, I’ll make sure everything is where it should be…the shower seat in particular. I’ll have my phone with me, and I’ll be wearing the shower shoes (even if I don’t need them).

Moral of the story is, be careful when you’re in the shower. Bathrooms are dangerous places. I don’t care if you have the best balance and agility in the world…be careful. Take the precautions needed to be safe. And if you do have a disability or other problem that effects your balance, use a shower seat and make sure you have a safety bar.

I wanted to get this out, partly as a warning to everyone to be careful, but also just to get the story out of my mind so I can move on. I’ll be doing my best to not think about it from now on. Be confident in my movements and think positive about what will happen.

Pass this story on to whoever you want to. Share it with your friends and family. This really shook me up.

My Escape From Real Life

In a previous blog, I mentioned that it felt odd sometimes for me to say “I have cerebral palsy”. I have a few escapes from that “reality”. I read…a lot. I watch TV shows, and I play computer games. I use these outlets to forget about my “issues”. But I realize there’s one more thing I use an escape from my disability. My elliptical. I didn’t realize this until Sunday. I had a really rough time on the elliptical Sunday.

I didn’t realize how much I used my elliptical as a sort of escape until it was almost taken away from me. I first voiced that thought as I updated my mileage on the SparkPeople virtual walk/run team. I didn’t even think about it until I wrote the following board post: “Thanks for the congrats guys. I appreciate it, especially on those rough days. Today was MUCH better. My balance was a lot more stable today. I only did a mile, but I want to take it slow. I’m just really glad my balance was better today on the elliptical. I was going to get depressed otherwise. My elliptical is kind of like my escape from my disability. I really don’t want that taken away from me.”

I stopped right after I wrote that and thought for a while. Yep, that’s really how I feel about the elliptical. It’s a piece of workout equipment I am able to use totally on my own (other than a stationary bike, but I’m sitting down on those so it doesn’t really count). I can get on and off with no help, and I can go for as long as I want and feel perfectly fine. Sunday when I was having the major issues on the elliptical, it got to me. I don’t know why I had such a rough time with my balance that day. It could be the wild winds we’ve been having off and on for months that’s causing it.

The wind seems to be the most likely culprit. Since January, we’ve had strong winds off and on. Not every day, not even every week, but more often than usual. When the winds are high (and I mean gust of 50 mph or more), it stirs up all the dust and pollen and other crap in the air, and it cause my sinuses to go haywire, and I get more headaches during wind storms. My husband says that he feels off balance also when the winds are high. He also gets sinus problems and headaches at those times.

So, I’m blaming the wind partially for my latest bought of balance problems. I don’t want any of my “escapes” to be taken away from me, but my elliptical is probably the number one thing I don’t want to lose.

Stay tuned everyone. I have a very important PSA post coming sometime tomorrow (Friday), so be on the look out.