P: “What time are you off to the gym?”
L: “About 9. Why?”
P: “Just wondering when to do my walk this morning.”
L: “Why don’t you wait for the girls and go with one of them?”
P: “What time do you think they’ll be up?”
[There is no reasonable response to this question. Teenagers. Week one of school holiday. Late nights. etc.]
P: “I could always go on my own.”
A few minutes later…
P: “OK. I think I’ll go for my walk.”
L: “On your own?”
L: “OK. Have you got your phone?”
And with that, I regained a little bit of my independence.
Little things can make a big difference… I am able to leave the house on my own; a rite of passage I thought I’d bagged when I first nipped to the local newsagent for a treat, or the corner shop for a forgotten essential, back in the day (“Mum, I’ll be back in five minutes!”). I’d guess that I was about 8 years old when I first did this, but it feels a bit young.
Things were different back then… Mars Bars were the size of bricks (certainly more than a chap could eat in one sitting) and you could pick up a couple of packets of Hamlet Cigars for the builders while you were there!
A Mars Bar and a Brick circa 1980
Anyway, the point is, some things have to be re-gained, re-learnt or re-earned. I guess a lot of growing up, a lot of learning, is about being able to take things for granted… walking, reading, writing, mental arithmetic, riding a bike, driving a car, etc. You should take these things for granted but for one reason or another some people can’t.
I’m OK walking. For the first couple of days after leaving hospital I was tentative. My chest wasn’t sore, but it was a bit tight. I definitely wasn’t 100%. I’m still not 100%, but I’m moving in the right direction.
Gentle, controlled exercise is the name of the game for me. I’m building up strength to start my Phase 3 Rehabilitation (incorporating tailored gym routines, education, etc.). The target is to get to walking 30 minutes twice a day by the time I start these sessions (just 2 more weeks).
We don’t believe in “No pain, no gain!” “Pain” is not a target state for me at the moment. I carry a magic spray that will come to my rescue if I do feel chest pain at any stage, but I really don’t want to go there!
That said, we live on the side of a hill. It’s not possible to walk more that 5 yards from our front door without encountering a slope. Doing a 20+ minute walk incorporates many slopes… as long as I don’t feel pain, get out of breath or “over do” it, I’m fine. So slopes introduce some variety and a (little) challenge.
I felt a strange sensation last night…
My legs ached slightly. Just a little. It wasn’t a scary ache. An “I’ve done a little bit of exercise today”-type ache. It’s the first time I’ve felt it since my Heart Attack. It felt good. I know I can’t push myself, but it’s the first sign that my “little” walks are doing anything more than getting the old ticker pumping.
Until recently, I’d always taken it for granted that my heart wasn’t my weakest link. I look forward to earning that back too!