Friday, March 8, 2013

Gym Tales

(Another blog from my archives...)

He walked out of the elevator with his wife by his side.  Gripping his walker, he willed his weak left leg to move forward.  Each step took time.  His wife looked as if she had all the time in the world….  Wearing a ball cap, backwards, he looked straight ahead as he walked.   There were no emotions visible on his face, just determination…

Probably in his mid-fifties, he thin and muscular, as if he was very active—physically—before his stroke.  His hands grip the walker as he moves, his knuckles white from the effort.  At last, he reaches his destination: a weight machine that will firm and strengthen his triceps. 

Slowly, thoughtfully, he moves as close to the seat of the machine as his walker will let him.  Finally satisfied that he can make it, he grabs the machine and plops his rear end in the seat with a thud.  Hovering nearby, but not “babying” him, his wife moves the walker out of the way.

She pulls the handgrips up toward him so he can grab them.  He moves quickly to place his right hand on the grip, firmly holding the machine.  His wife picks up his left hand and places it on the grip, smoothing his fingers around the rubber grip.

He tries to life the weights, but it is too heavy.  His wife reaches down and moves the pin, decreasing the resistance on the machine.  Again, he tries to lift the handlebars and he is successful.  His right arm bicep and triceps are flexed and doing most of the work.  His left hand stays in place on the left grip.

His wife walks over to the nearby chairs and sits down, waiting for him to finish with the machine.  This is repeated many more times as he works on other machines in the gym.  I have seen him at the gym many times, and he uses the machines that strengthen his core and his upper body. 

As I watched him, I was awestruck.  I have cared for so many stroke patients in my life, but few with this level of determination.   Few who have continued to work out after finishing physical therapy.  Few who had a wife who would help.  Few with a caregiver who could assist without taking his dignity away….

There are many other “tales” at the gym.   Tales of overcoming debilitating physical conditions.  Tales of triumph after tragedy.  Tales of determination, and will, and hope. 

Tales that make me smile…..


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fruit Loops...Redux

(I've decided to share some "oldies" with you.  Blogs I wrote a while back and am revisiting today.  This one is from a couple of years ago, maybe more.  And it was summertime when I wrote it.  Warm weather sounds good, doesn't it?)

Fruit Loops....

So, just to make your day: the generation gap is alive and well. I thought you might like to know.

Of course, I have a reason for saying that. La Belle Noelle, Princess of Quite a Lot, is spending the weekend with Grandma. So far, we've had a lovely time. Mostly playing but hey, that's okay, too.

We went to the grocery store this morning. Bought everything we need for the weekend: Fruit Loops, potato chips, and stuff to make ice cream. We're going to make “cookies and cream” ice cream by following the recipe for vanilla ice cream, then adding chopped Oreos to the mix for the last five minutes.

I think it is very important to eat healthy, nutritious meals, don't you? As far as Noelle is concerned, we have three of the food groups covered: dairy products, Fruit Loops and Oreos. I think I'll make sure she takes a daily vitamin today and tomorrow and hope for the best.

We also went shopping for “accessories” this morning. There is a store in the mall that she loves to look in, and found several things she thought she had to have. I asked her to wait and look at Penney's, since I had to go there, too. She agreed.

And then, an “aha” moment for her: Grandma did NOT buy her everything she wanted. I explained that I cannot spend that much money on her when it is not Christmas, not her birthday, and she didn't do anything to earn the money.

Apparently, that got her thinking.... She did choose a couple of items, which I did buy for her, but she had to choose, and she had to put several things back that she really, really wanted....I wouldn't buy them. If you know me, you know how hard it was for me to deny her anything.

But I did....

And so, she thought about what I said. “You didn't earn the money...” must have stuck in her head. Just a little while ago, she came to me with a proposition: she would do some chores around the house and I could give her some money for her efforts. Okay, fair enough.

And then, the generation gap reared its ugly head. She offered to clean the kitchen counter, dust the family room, and fold clothes. She wanted $25.00 for her efforts. Uh, NO, I don't think so. I tried telling her about the state workers who have had their pay reduced to minimum wage. I got a blank look...

In my head, I'm adding up all the money I have spent today.....No way is twenty minutes' worth of fussing around the house worth what I have spent already. So I stood firm. No. No $25.00 for work I do for free. For myself.

She has now been working for an hour and 10 minutes. The last chore was to use the Swiffer Sweeper on all the wood floors. This is a big house, so that was a big job. She also watered the container garden and swept the kitchen floor....

She offered to “rearrange” the stuff on the bathroom counter and make it look better. I said no: I wouldn't be able to find things after she leaves. She offered to dust the inside of the car. I said no: it's in the triple digits outside, and even more inside the car. I don't need for her to get sick.

Ah, she's straightening up the family room now, putting all the Wii stuff away. By the time she's through, it will have been an hour and a half, almost, that she's been working. I will split the difference with her and give her ten dollars.

Ten dollars for the opportunity to learn one of life's important lessons: nothing's free....