Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'll tell you where I'm going when I get there

Living in an aging body is sometimes like driving someone else's car--the machinery is pretty much the same, but the vehicle has unexpected quirks.

With two new knees, I find myself underestimating, then overestimating, just what I can do. Years ago I worked deligently to keep fairly strong, with a normal amount of stamina. The intensity of the exercise dropped off as the knees worsened; walking was no longer a pleasant pasttime. While I continued to exercise, I couldn't do most of the really good cardiovascular exercises. No stationary bikes. No treadmills. And as my knees worsened, posture changed, which meant my lower back was affected. No situps. No crunches.

A couple of times in physical therapy, I have started to tell the therapist that because of my knees I couldn't do the next exercise he or she has required. Then, Oh! and I remember: new knees. I can do that.

I know it will take much longer to regain strength and some stamina, and I only know to go on. I have no idea where I'll end up. None of the professionals do, either, so they prophesy no limits. And we all know that some other aging and sometimes misused part of my body may fail next, affecting the outcome.

Living with my calcifying knees has had one happy ouutcome: I really know how to conpensate. I don't have to get the task done the way everyone else does. Usually I can find a way to do most things when I want to. It just takes longer.

I have some lovely mounds of dirt to spread in three beds, one of them raised, and I have some onion sets. Time was, that would have been an afternoon's work. From the soreness in my muscles after a bare half-hour's work, I think this is going to take a bit. And some thinking to see if I can figure some different ways to get it done.

It is lovely to be out in the dirt and smelling the plants, feeling sun on my back from time to time. And oh, gardening has found muscles the physical therapists have not yet begun to reach.

As I write, the two dogs are asleep at my feet. They have begun to play. I have learned it is best to keep one in, one out and rotate for about half each day. That way they both get one on one time with me. Brody isn't into toys. Gracie is. For the last two days, she and I have been playing tug on her rope again while Brody is elsewhere. He gets talking and petting and belly scratching for his turn, and every now and then, a glimpse of a toy. I think he will learn.

When I'm not quite so sore, I've got to start walk training again with both. Separately for now. Brody needs self-confidence for socializing. Gracie just needs to keep her delighted paws and grinning, lolling tongue to herself. Coming from both ends of the spectrum, you see, to a center of doggie decorum.

Where will we all end? I don't know. I've never been here before. I've always loved to explore. Looks like I'll be doing that for a good while.

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