Observations by my grandchildren always inspire me. The first wakeup call came from my 4-year old granddaughter, Lily Doolittle. One day we were walking in the garden and out of nowhere Lily pointed to my baggy pants and asked, “Where’s your butt?”
I was surprised but admitted that I no longer have a butt, a consequence of chronic neuropathy. Lily was astute enough to inquire and underscore the fact that my physique is pretty puzzling.
I did not have an answer but from that day on she has called me “Beepa,” apparently 4-year old speak for “buttless.” Lily remains the only grandchild who calls me Beepa. Her comments inspired me to get my butt back.
When we were swimming in Hanover one day, our ever-inquisitive six-year old man-child, Isaac, took exception to my bloated belly. After some debate, we arrived at a new nickname; “Fattay.” I think this was designed to inspire me but you never know…
Kids do say the darndest things! Entertainer and beloved TV host Art Linkletter’s motto was, “Kids say the darndest things.” Sometimes, we forget, or choose to ignore, the wisdom of the straightforward things children say.
I have a few grandsons that always have questions about my new heart. Some queries are pretty thought-provoking. “Where did it come from?” Or, “What happened to your old heart?” Isaac is especially persistent.
All the boys seems confused about my age because they know I received a very young heart. Eventually, we arrived at a truce about my this topic. We talk about the “old” me and the “new” me.
This summer I told them the old me was 68 years old. The new me is 26 years young. That silenced them for a few hours until Isaac required a more definitive answer. He wanted to know why, if I was so young, I couldn’t run around with them like their mother and father.
New Year’s Resolution
I was hard-pressed to come up with an answer. After some self-evaluation, I had to agree with Lily and Isaac. It was time to get back in the game.
Why couldn’t I play golf? Why couldn’t I walk uphill or be steady afoot? Why couldn’t I repair my core, shed pounds in the middle and rebuild my butt?
I had become “lazy.” It’s hard to explain because being active has been a large part of my life. My exercise routine was a bad one. I would walk on the treadmill, a poor imitation for walking outdoors, and lift weights the way I was trained.
My routine was unrewarding and boring. Instead of building me up, it was breaking me down.
Along Came Justice
What a great name for my trainer! The first time I met Justice we discussed my goals and medical history. After we identified my two basic goals; to not fall in 2014, and to be able to navigate stairwells with confidence, we headed to the floor. Justice only wanted to see one thing.
He handed me a very light pole and asked me to hold the pole above my head with arms extended. Then, he wanted me to do a squat. I asked him to stand behind me because I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t fall.
I nearly did. I did one wretched squat and tried another. Justice said he had seen all he needed to see. He must have been thinking, “What have I got myself into here!”
But, not being one of my grandchildren, he didn’t say too much. He said he would see me Monday and that we had some work to do.
On Monday, he introduced me to my new core-building friends; A balance ball, a stabilizer roll, a floor mat and some resistance bands. In the very beginning, that was it. I had never worked with these tools before.
Later, he added a few light barbells and a ball. The basic routine has expanded. It now takes a little more than an hour. I walk 30 minutes to and from the Tampa downtown YMCA for every workout. That used to take about 45 minutes each way.
I am careful on the stairs but Justice has a plan for February. My butt is not back but my belly is disappearing (-7 lbs.) I do not worry about falling but remain careful. I feel strong. There are some other vibrant benefits that are ever-present.
Importantly, my appetite is returning. That has long been a problem. I have a meeting with the cardiologist this month and I think she will like what she sees. My goal is to get off some the medicine or at least get more manageable levels. Stay tuned!