I’ll see less of you next week!

That is our little catch cry at the end of Weight Watchers meetings and I often say it with grim determination that doesn’t come to fruition.  We also say as we high five the people next to us at the start of the meeting, “you are looking great”.  It sounds bit corny as I type it (sorry C when you read this!) but it really does lift the mood at the start of the meeting and it also means the meeting ends on a positive note.  It was positive all round for me this week because I lost 2.5 kg!  Even more high fives at the scales!

I actually thought that I wasn’t doing too much different but then we I gave it some thought I really have started doing things differently.  The biggest change is that my exercise has gone from  zero to 30 minutes most days and lots of incidental stuff.  I’m spurred on the “incidental” department by my trusty pedometer.  I haven’t yet reached the desired 10000 steps in a day.  My highest was 9000+ but my average each week is steadily rising.

I am also trying to be very mindful about what I eat and to a certain extent get the boys to think about what they are eating too.  This morning I told them that they had to have something for breakfast that wasn’t a ham and cheese toasted sandwich.  I don’t have anything against ham and cheese toasted sangers but to Daniel in particular they area food group of their own!  So Daniel ended up having an orange and a mandarin which wasn’t ideal but we did discuss that fact that he probably had a Vitamin C force field around him.  Eric bravely tried oats and didn’t finish them but it is all a good start and at least they are thinking.

The fact that we are very short on cash certainly has an impact on what I’m eating as well because I’m eating at home wherever possible, cooking my own food and only having very well considered takeaway.

I’ve now got a very good looking graph on the kitchen wall and I’m hoping to keep it looking good.  I’d really like to have a different “tens digit” in my weight next week!  The photo of Vera?  She is my next secret weight-loss weapon.  Once we get here a collar that fits she and I will be pounding the pavement regularly!

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Step by Step back to “normal” life

Or as normal as it ever gets!  I’ve officially been cleared to work again, I’m no longer wearing splints and walking longer and longer distances until i start limping again and need to stop.  I did alarm the physio with a very swollen left ankle (the fractured tibia one) on Friday night so I am taped up for the duration of the long weekend but flesh coloured tape is much less conspicuous than big black lace up splints.

There are so many things you take for granted until you have your mobility taken away from you.  I’m really enjoying things like:

having a shower standing up

carrying things around from one place to another

walking around places

being able to get up off chairs

getting my own cup of coffee and indeed getting cuppas for other people

walking along hand in hand with my little boy

DRIVING – even though I have to use Anthony’s car for the time being.

I’m in the process of transitioning from convalescence to supply teaching again and I feel as if I am launching myself onto the world as a whole new person.  A wise person told me that all these thigns happen for a reason and I found that statement hard to take as I hobbled around on crutches. But now, as I find myself on the way out of it all I believe she may have known what she was talking about after all.


What do I really need right now?

Thanks to a very generous friend who has negotiated her way through peak hour traffic to pick me up last Thursday and the Thursday, I’ve been able to re-join Weight Watchers and start again.  I know that quite a few people who know me well will be saying to themselves, “Here she goes again. What will be different this time?”

Well, there are quite a few differences already.  I’ve got a Chronic Condition Health Care plan set in place by my wonderful GP which will give me access to an exercise physiologist (a cross between a personal trainer and a physiotherapist).  My GP will be keeping a closer eye on things and the nurse who is part of the practice will keep up with me too.

I am still seeing my wonderful physio as my ankles continue to heal and he and I have been discussing possible exercise options for now while my ankles are still quite wobbly and weak and later when I can do more weight bearing exercise.

I’ve been to the gym and was quietly pedalling the recumbent bike as I had been instructed by the physio when the trainer asked if I would like to join in a weights circuit with three other ladies.  After a bit of encouragement from him, I did join in and much to my amazement, I was able to complete a 45 minute circuit with very few modifications.  It was the most amazing feeling to do that successfully.

I’ve got a great circle of friends who are “in the loop” about my efforts and are encouraging me every step of the way. Eric is right behind me cheering me on and Daniel, who still lacks tact and diplomacy at almost 8, has asked whether my big belly (which he illustrates by holding his arms out wide) to going to shrink up to the size of his belly.  Probably a bit extreme but he is being positive in his own way.

One of my friends is going to join the same Weight Watchers meeting as me so I will be meeting up with her each week.  I can’t say how glad I am about this.  Not only will I get a free pampering session and she a 3 month movie pass due to a membership promotion but I will look forward to seeing someone each week who is truly on my side and has much the same dry sense of humour as myself.

However the number 1 things are weighing in each week (which involves fronting up the the very formidable Carol) and staying for the meeting.  I certainly won’t paraphrase the meeting content here because if you want that you should really go to Weight Watchers yourself. But when we recieve information, we all process it in different ways and take away our own responses and hopefully, action plans.

This week was all about monitoring hunger signals.  We discussed the difference between being so hungry that you would eat almost anything to having eaten so much that you feel like your clothes would burst.  Ideally we should aim for something in between.  That is going to happen for different people in different ways but for me hunger signals are controlled when I eat small amounts often during the day, keep moving and maintain my water intake.  Please excuse me for a moment while I uncap my trusty water bottle and take a big swig.

 

 

 

 

Ah, that’s better.

We have discussed many mantras and saying that we can use to keep our goals in mind and to stay on track.  It was recommended that we have a saying that describes ourselves at a healthy weight in the present tense and includes some tings we can do or have achieved.  Mine is:

I am slim, fit and focussed.

Then I thought more about what would help me to monitor my hunger signals and indeed, lots of other signals from my body and I came up with this:

What do I really need right now?

Some of the answers to that question in the last few days have been:

salad instead of chips

baked fish instead of crumbed fish

more water instead of more coffee

one small dessert that I really liked instead of just eating dessert whenever it was offered whether I really liked it or not

doing my physio stretches

walking a few more steps

keeping up with my pain relief so I could keep up with moving more and healing faster

not staying up for the end of the movie/tv show but going to bed when I needed to

taking a nap during the day when I needed it

doing something pleasurable during the day

talking to people who woud help me with making good choices

So far in one week I have lost one kilo.  But that isn’t really important in the big scheme of things because I have gained so many other really important things.


The View from Here

The camera worked for long enough this afternoon to get a shot of my very unattractive ankles in socks and splints.  They look a bit powdery because I need to put on prickly heat powder before the socks so I don’t get driven mad with itching and it certainly makes me glad not to be in plaster.

Today hasn’t been a good day.  I’ve been down, teary and tired all day.  It was a combination of things.  I was still pathetically exhausted after my trip to hydrotherapy yesterday, today was bit of an anti-climax because I wasn’t going anywhere and I’m not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.  Hydrotherapy will only continue once it is approved by Work Cover as I already had had the five automatically allowed physio sessions while in hospital.  It is really my only prospect of getting out of the house because we will be reimbursed for the cab fare.  I’m not able to drive yet and I don’t know how long it will be before I get behind the wheel.  If I was to get taken somewhere like a shopping centre I would have to hire a wheelchair and then have someone to push it.  The potential “someones” are either a bit old to be pushing me in a wheel chair or they have small children to deal with.  We can’t afford to spend any money on cabs that will not be reimbursed as my work prospects are going to be limited once again and for who knows how long.

Dh is working full time 5 days a week and may be doing overtime on Saturday and of course the boys are at school.  They will be off on holidays at the end of next week but we will still be housebound because it is too far from here to get to any public transport and we cannot afford cabs.  The book club girls took me out last night for coffee and book discussion but I came away from that realizing that everyone is still really busy and the fact that I am out of action doesn’t change that.  So while plenty of people have asked, “What can I do to help?”, I’ve really only been able to ask for people to bring the boys home from school and even that was quite difficult to organise.  Life goes on as normal for everyone else which means they don’t have time to stop for visits or cups of tea.  Everyone balances multiple roles and has a busy schedule including me when I’m not on crutches.  So I can hardly ask someone to pick me up and cart me around in a wheelchair and no one really has spare time to spend here with me.  I think all of that hit home for me this afternoon and I felt really black.

The flood of phone calls and text messages that happened while I was in hospital has dried up to almost nothing.  I’m lucky if I get two texts in a day and no one has time for phone calls these days.  There isn’t really much to say either because I don’t know when things will improve with my ankles and there is nothing happening here at home.

I also realised that I wouldn’t be able to get to Weight Watchers tomorrow night as I had planned because the boys have hockey training.  I cannot ask them to miss it as they missed out already last week while I was in hospital and it is on every Thursday so with great sadness I changed my Weight Watchers subscription to “on-line only” even though I need it and the meetings especially now more than I ever have before.  My weight has made this whole injury thing even more complicated and I really can’t see things improving while I am so sedentary and while I am relying on everyone else to supply me with food.

Dh really is doing all he can.  In fact he has been quite legendary since I’ve been home.  He sets up the lounge room each night ready for me the next day with the TV left on stand-by, the remotes all put where I can reach them and most importantly, makes sure that the floors throughout the house are almost completely free of clutter.  We are both terrified of what could happen if a crutch slipped on something that shouldn’t be there and went out from under me.  He gets the bathroom ready for me to take a shower each night with the transfer bench half in and half out of the bath and everything where I can reach it.  Then he puts on my socks and splints for me afterwards in the lounge.  I get a coffee made for me in the morning before they leave and yesterday he left a ham and cheese sandwich in the fridge and the sandwich toaster out on the bench.  I was so glad to find that when I got home from hydro!

As for the boys, the novelty has well and truly worn off.  They are usually very put out when I ask them for anything or to do something for them because it takes them away from their all important computer games.  And of course, their projects and activities must always come first.  Eric was very impatient for me to get to the computer and help him fix a flyer he was making this evening and kept coming out to ask me when I’d be there despite the fact that I didn’t have my splints back on.  The flyer was about him offering his services as a cross country coach for the the other kids at school but that’s another story!

My parents came to help out today but even that is a mixed blessing.  While I truly love that our bathroom got cleaned and the sheets on my bed were changed I didn’t need to be told that I must not apply for any job until I am off crutches, that knitting is waste of money (again!) and that I really must do something about my weight.  (If I didn’t already know the last one it was brought home to me when I had to crawl up our back stairs on the night of my fall!).  I know they mean well and they are really the only ones that are in a position to offer us any help but some moral support and encouragement would be nice once in a while.

That is the end of my whining for now.  There are some good things happening.  Unlimited time to knit, stitch, read and watch TV. Time to read lots of stories to Daniel.  I get to sleep in because there is nothing to get up for and I would be in the way during morning rush hour anyway.  I have a couple of projects to tackle –  writing and researching some pieces for the school magazine and doing the “end of season” achievement cards and certificates for Little Athletics.  The latter is an enormous but tedious job but I certainly don’t have the excuse of not enough time to do it.

It’s awful to say this but I am dreading today (I’m writing this after midnight which shows how ell my sleeping pattern is going).  I’m going to miss a couple of my regular Thursday activities, my ankles will still hurt and I will still have the long day on my own.  But I guess I just have to take a deep breath and think “this too shall pass”.


The Getting of Wisdom – the painful way

Long time no blog!

I have a lot of material for a lot of blog entries but I’ll begin by telling the story of how I can to be here, ankle splints on both ankles, crutches leaning against the desk and two ankles deciding whether they need to be dosed with painkillers anytime soon.

It was an ordinary day at school last Friday until on my way to playground duty I fell down three steps and found myself in a lots of pain.  Somehow I managed to hobble through the prep playground and then to the school office.  Both ankles were hurting but the left one was very bad.  The beautiful office staff ran around getting me set up in sick bay with a pillow and ice while I waited for dh the come and get me.  Later that evening after an x-ray and ultrasound they concluded that the left ankle was badly sprained.  I was issued with painkillers and crutches and sent home.  That’s when the real trouble began.

I found that I couldn’t put enough weight on the right foot – even with crutches – to get my left ankle in plaster and the rest of me up the stairs.  I tried the “backwards on the backside” method but that didn’t work.  In fact I actually slid down a few more steps in the throes of trying that maneuver and the boys heard me utter some words I have told them never to say.  I ended up slowly and painfully climbing the stairs on my knees.  At the top I was stuck on our verandah.  I couldn’t flex my feet enough to stand and dh couldn’t get me up.  The pain was so bad that I was seeing stars so I had a drink and a rest, then hauled myself onto a stool and then finally into the house.  I took myself to bed for a very uncomfortable night trying to get comfortable despite the plaster.  I was up early the next morning because of the pain and once I had painfully got myself from the bedroom to the lounge my left ankle was screaming and my right ankle has swollen right up.  I persisted for a few hours but eventually realised that this simply wouldn’t work.  I rang my wonderful GP who said she was ordering an ambulance and contacting the hospital so I could go back.  It was considered far too dangerous for dh to attempt getting me down the stairs again.

This is the part in which we staged an emergency services floor show for the street and my humiliation continued.  2 Ambos arrived and asked me how much I weighed.  With that information they decided that they would not be able to get me out and that they would have to call ANOTHER ambulance that had a marvelous device called a “stair chair”. Well, Eric thought it was marvellous – I was just scared!  It took an hour for the second ambulance to come so the first team of Ambos and I watched Video Hits (as you do).  Then, for the amusement of the neighbours I was toted down the stairs on the famous “stair chair”.  I’ll have to google the thing to see what it looks like because I didn’t actually see it.

Then I had 6 nights in hospital where it was eventually determined that the ankle we thought was uninjured but sore was actually sprained and that the one we thought was sprained was actually fractured.  I graduated from plaster and elastic bandage to splints on each ankle and from forearm walking frame to crutches.  When I was able to do the hospital practice steps four times (to allow for the 12 steps at home) I was allowed to go home.

So now I’m at home, migrating from bed to desk to recliner and working out how to live life on crutches.  I’m getting used to planning everything in great detail before I move anywhere and best of all, I have HEAPS of knitting time.


Change in Normal Programming

It has always been my intention to keep this blog as an upbeat, positive way of sharing things that work for me in my roles as museum educator, wife, mother, crafter and so on.  However in a change to “normal programming” I’m going to share about my week because while things didn’t really work for me, I am still alive and able to tell the tale  and along the way I have learned a few more things as you often do when life throws you a “curve ball”.

First some background.  I’m overweight, have high blood pressure and have recently been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea OSA which means I can wake up to 29 times in four hours of sleep.  Last Sunday night I had a follow-up sleep study which determined what sort of mask and c-pap machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) would work best for me and the settings at which the machine should be set.  I wasn’t all that thrilled about needing the machine – after all it is a very unsexy look for someone about to turn forty but I did understand the need for it and the fact that I have been feeling drowsy when driving was making me quite anxious.

So on Monday I had a day off to recover from the sleep study which went well but only involved about 3 hours sleep because of difficulties with their monitoring equipment.  Then on Tuesday I drove to work in the rain ready to start dismantling and packing away a fairly large activity area that has been used for a recent event at the Museum.  While packing boxes and pushing stuff around on trolleys I started to feel very unwell with severe chest pain.  Ended up having a night in Ipswich hospital and a night in the Wesley Hospital, several blood tests, several ecgs and a stress test which thankfully have all shown a healthy heart.  But with episodes of chest pain still happening I do have to get things further investigated and I have an appointment with my wonderful GP tomorrow to begin that process.

Some things I learned:

  • The staff at Ipswich hospital are fantastic including a wonderful cardiologist who explained all the connections between my various issues and insisted that I get the c-pap happening asap.  Thanks to him I was able to get things moving at the Wesley and came home with a c-pap machine on Thursday night.

  • If they are not sure what to give a new patient for dinner at Ipswich hospital you can be presented with a plate containing three types of puree.  In defense of the hospital kitchen however I was probably the only one in the room with teeth.

  • Some people say very helpful things and some people say very unhelpful things.  Unfortunately the people you would most want to say helpful things don’t.

  • Ambos are not amused by stories of people with acute chest pain being driven to hospital by one of their colleagues.  Even when I told them this particular colleague was a legend they were still unimpressed.

  • If you don’t have a change of undies in hospital they have very attractive paper ones – think of an adult sized huggies. (This was the highlight of the whole episode for Daniel)

  • When you enter a toilet shared with three males to find wee all over the seat and floor the urge to get down on your knees and clean it up does happen until you remember that you are NOT related to these three males.

  • Hospitals have Wonderful showers.

  • The new cardiac wing at the Wesley is like Heaven on Earth.

  • On the purely practical side it is probably a good idea to keep a change of clothes and one set of medication in the car or with you at all times especially if you work somewhere that is some distance from where you live.

  • Husbands don’t think a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant are warranted for an overnight hospital stay.  But dirty looks from emergency department nurses do wonders!


What Would You Tell Your Best Friend To Do

I’ve got a rather nasty cold/upper respiratory tract infection – sore throat, coughing like one thing, head full of gunk, constant headache, aches and pains – in fact I think even my fingernails are hurting.  The trouble is, there is never really a good time to get sick.  There is a lot on at work getting ready for an event that starts next week and of course the demands of this household are never ending.

But this morning I had to bite the bullet, call in sick and retreat to the bed/recliner for the day.  It felt bad doing it because I already had the mental list of things I wanted to get done today and no doubt my memory would have been jogged when I opened up my e-mail and saw even more reminders.   But today I needed to let it all go and I asked myself what I would tell one of my best mates to do and then I did it.  I slept a lot, watched TV, did a bit of knitting and spent a bit of time on line.  I did tidy some things up and empty the dishwasher but I didn’t do washing or heavy cleaning.  I kept up with my fluid intake and the salt water spray for my nose.  I didn’t wonder if I might need the asthma inhaler – I went and got it out and used it.

I’m not better yet but it has been so nice to just not struggle and surrender if even for just one day!