Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sitting my ice pack, worrying about Omi

My grandfather was supposed to call me tonight. I keep looking at the clock, counting forward by four hours and backwards by twelve. My grandmother is in the hospital again. Her latest chest infection, a by-product of her advanced COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), has failed to improve.

COPD is a terrible thing. My grandmother can take a breath in but then can’t breathe out. Imagine a mucus-filled sponge that keeps you from being able to exhale. After seeing my grandmother’s condition continuing to worsen over the past few years, all the while knowing she was still smoking, I despise cigarettes with a new fury. What kind of monster keeps someone so tethered to it, even as it kills them?

Since I have been exercising my lung capacity has changed. Now when I take a deep breath, it feels like the breath goes all the way down below my navel, where it bulges pleasantly, kissing the shoreline of my pelvic floor before flowing back up and out again. So easy.

That said, this is the first time I have ever blogged while sitting on an ice pack. My gluteus medius are in spasm. Ie - some of my butt cheek muscles are freaking out. This is what is causing the majority of my lower back and hip pain. I am supposed to roll on a tennis ball to try to get them to ease off, but all I have is a golf ball and it hurts like hell.

I am frustrated because it affects everything I do - walking, bending, standing. It gets worse after I work out, and my hip flexors don’t feel like they have gotten any stronger with all this exercise. I am afraid it won’t get better, that this will continue to hold me up and I won’t be able to move forward. I need to feel like I am getting stronger, better.

John and I have spoken about the kinds of things we want to do in the coming year. I think of the things that I can’t do now that I am desperate to be fit enough to accomplish. I want to bag a Munro. Eventually I would like to climb Ben Nevis. And walk the Great Glen Way. I want to be able to have complete confidence in my body, to hike, flex, climb or hop.

Since our visit to Canada I have been determined to change my relationship with food. After seeing my grandmother’s decline I am equally determined to do my best for my body, to build its strength and stamina. To let my lungs celebrate breathing, because lately that is what it feels like they are doing. My chest feels wide open and clear and even my heart feels lighter.

Now if only my damn ass would cooperate, I could move on.

The clock says 20:53. Plus four hours is 7 minutes to 1 a.m., minus 12 hours is 12:53 p.m. B.C. time. He still hasn’t called.

8 comments:

ellen abbott said...

I wish the best for your grandmother. And I know what you mean about trying o be fit. I have osteoporosis and I refuse to take the medication so my main defense is exercise to keep my bones and muscles strong. It's tough though to keep up the self discipline to do it 3 times a week as I am supposed to. Lately I've only been averaging once a week. And I can feel the difference too.

Cathy said...

I hope you've heard from him by now. I hate cigarettes too. My father smoked for years but rarely around us thankfully. He quit cold-turkey when a good friend had a heart attack and he's never looked back. My husband did the same thing when he wanted to start dating me. I told him the smell made me ill and I wasn't fond of cancer as a good friend had died of lung cancer from second hand smoke. She had never picked up a cigarette but her husband smoked and he's still ticking along.
I hope she gets better soon and take care of yourself. Try lying on your stomach and pushing up with your arms and just stretching your back. It may help a bit.

Angie Muresan said...

Best wishes for your grandmother. I have a dear friend with COPD and it is awful.

i'm the maaaaaaap! said...

it must be so hard for you right now. i am sending peaceful loving thoughts for you & your famillia. and, don't let time defeat you (or "befeet you" as ava would say). you are progressing with your actions on your body. some things just cannot be seen right away. sometimes not until a year later...then you turn back & will be positively beaming & shocked at how "easy" it all was. it'll be the investment of your life, i am sure :)

Angela Recada said...

I'm wishing your Omi all the best. COPD is a terrible thing.

My dumb 18 year old son, who knew better at age 8, is now a smoker, despite all my efforts. He makes me so angry. I hate cigarettes.

You are wise to take care of yourself and begin good habits while you are young.

I hurt the same muscles as you when I was in my late 20s, and still have relapses. Exercise, and deep breathing to bring oxygen to the muscles, helps me a lot.

Michael said...

Such obstacles we have to jump! I wish you wellness and the will to continue. Like you said, just to breathe deeply is worth it. And all the other stuff too.

Dale said...

Baby those muscles & let them heal up! When you've gotten as far as real spasm, they need gentleness and time. Don't work out, and don't stretch aggressively, until they're happier. Do work them with a tennis ball. The golf ball may be too much, too hard and too poky.

And spend as much time as you can on your back, with your knees up.

Sorry about the COPD. It's hard to witness, I know. xoxo

Sapphire said...

aaww ... your grandparents sound wonderful! I hope he has made contact by now ... that is a worry!

Also just love your writing ... it is as sparkly and inviting as a clear cool pond on a hot summer's day.