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
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”.
I’m playing along with Danielle at Hello Owl this week as she hosts “My Place and Yours”. I lit up when I saw this week’s theme of stripes because I have some beauties! I got these stripes for the bed for Christmas. I’m loving all the different colours. They will soon be joined with new stripes as I knit my “Dream Blanket” to go over the end of the bed – but that’s a subject for another post.
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!
The boys are on holidays and I am not, but we are dealing with it. I did flex off from work today so I could take Eric and his cousin Emma to a “Softie” workshop at Threads and More. It was really Emma’s 8th birthday present but we sent Eric along for company. I know children should learn to make their own fun and be able to amuse themselves in the holidays. But I think it is good to have some structured activity in there especially if it involves learning something new and producing something you are really proud of.
As for the rest of the holidays we’re farming out the boys to various different places and dh will have some time off. But to keep our sanity we will still be going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, trying to eat regular meals, trying to keep up with the laundry and the house. Because we didn’t have sporting commitments last weekend I took the boys and two friends to work so that they could experience the event that I’ve been working so hard on and that took up most of Saturday. It was just marvelous to be able to stroll around after them and interact with all the different elements that I had been working on. As it is a “Great Train Robbery” Daniel spent a total of two hours (in two different sessions) in the police station going through evidence and was thoroughly absorbed. I’m going to have to make sure I keep his investigation sheet which was filled with wonderful Daniel hieroglyphics probably known only to him. Eric was just as enthusiastic but was also keen to do the Blacksmiths tours and a few other things so I think I could safely take them up there during a non-event period and they would still be well occupied.
I’m planning another trip to the city museum on the weekend but we’ll have to fit it in with Eric’s sleepover plans. I’d also like to see a movie or two with the boys. I’m just getting used to the fact that we don’t have to do everything during the day and that they can handle some late nights if necessary. Our holidays are going to be very different from now on but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.
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.
Day 14 of my new job today and life is now very much full on. I am loving it however. I’m working with some really cool people. We’re are bringing joy to many, many people and my brain is getting a good work out with lots of problem solving, creativity and detailed planning to do each day. I’m gradually getting into a good sleep routine which will ultimately help everything else. I’ve joined a new gym near work so I can easilt incorporate exercise into my schedule amd I’m planning to cook more meals once I get the sleeping routine down pat. I’m expecting that all to be a bit easier once the boys are back at school next week because at the moment they are often still up and about when I go to bed and not awake when I’m getting ready in the morning.
I think morning is set to become my best time of the day again. I try to get to work as early as I can manage so I have a pleasant drive with the sun behind me and hardly any traffic to deal with. I love arriving at work, swiping my security pass so the big metal gate opens for me and then walking to my office through the museum. As I go through the museum doors it is almost eerily quiet and dimly lit if I’m there before the museum has been powered up for the day. I always take a deep breath in to savour the scent of old machinery and smile at the dear old engines I have to go past to get to my office.
Coffee is normally the first thing on my agenda, followed by a check of the e-mail, calendar and task list, an informal chat with my team about what we are working on for the day and then a little later we meet with the VSOs who are on the front line for the day.
I’m using Microsoft Outlook for e-mail, calendar and task lists and I am really liking it. I record tasks and prioritize them as soon as I can after I get them and then I can change my priorities during the day if necessary. I can also arrange my day so that I am doing the things that require more energy and brainpower in the morning and then some more mundane stuff in the afternoon. I have a heap of resource materials and museum activities to go through but I’m approaching it the way one would eat an elephant – one bite at a time!
One challenge is looking at the work I am familiar with – education with different lenses such as marketing. Virtually all communication about the activities of the museum has to go through marketing and/or the government department we belong to. The organization is starting to adopt social media but is approaching it very carefully. I’m hoping to make use of my own personal learning network to generate more interest in and more visits to the museum.
So all in all, it is falling into place nicely. I’m looking forward to doing an activity with school groups near the next school holidays because I know I am going to be really well prepared and well resourced. It is going to be so satisfying to know that I’m putting my best into it and I’m sure it will reap rewards in terms of great learning outcomes for the students who participate. I’ll keep posting here when I can, depending on my energy levels!