Perspective. I’m healthy, my loved ones are healthy. My job allows me to telecommute, so I have a steady income. And my spouse works for a so-called “essential” business, so her income is secure, too. However, she is exposed on a daily basis to selfish and inconsiderate nitwits who frequent the establishment simply because they are bored. They bring their children and let them run wild and free, handling objects that sales associates can’t possibly keep track of. They approach sales associates without regard for 6-foot social distancing. They berate sales associates for unstocked shelves that were emptied by previous hordes of selfish human locusts…
But I digress. I know how lucky we are, and I keep first responders, virus victims, and grieving families in my prayers. And I’m making face masks, for the good it does.
I’m also fortunate that my knee surgery took place when it did; just a few weeks later, “elective” surgeries were canceled. And so far, my outpatient physical therapy continues. I’m grateful for that because my new knee is in a vulnerable window (surgery was 6 weeks ago today) where range-of-motion (ROM) and strength really need to be pushed.
Following the first three post-surgical weeks of speedy rehab progress, I had a really tough week or so that felt like a significant set-back. I had moved back into my own home (two-story, and with a tiny upstairs bathroom fitted with an elementary school-sized toilet – after staying nearly three weeks with a friend who offered me a first floor bedroom and bathroom!), and begun longer hours of telecommuting. I swelled up more, which made my leg stiffer and reduced my ROM. And somehow I badly strained my quadricep on the surgical leg, so that, suddenly, exercises I was doing the week before were nearly impossible to execute. Not gonna lie… there were a few emotional meltdowns during those couple of weeks.
One afternoon, I looked over at a couple of “Warrior Mode” bracelets on my desk. A friend sent me these when I received a cancer diagnosis in 2014. I’ve always had mixed feelings about “warrior” metaphors for illness and wellness (and prayer, and other non-military references for which it is often deployed), but I appreciated the sentiment behind these bracelets (and other gear the organization sells): the importance, for cancer patients, of keeping a positive mental attitude, 24-7-365. I’m no longer a cancer patient, thank God, but who can argue with that philosophy! I almost always manage that positive mental attitude, but that week or so, fatigue and frustration were winning the day. So I started making sure I wore those dang bracelets every day, and gave myself a little “suck it up, buttercup” pep talk each morning.
I seem to be back on track, now: six weeks after surgery, I’m able to walk without a cane, and on stairs I can mostly manage alternating steps instead of doing the two-feet-per-step slow walk. I can walk at least 1.5 miles for exercise. I even did a short rowing machine workout. But ROM remains a challenge. And so does reminding myself to get up and move around when I am telecommuting. Sometimes I sit 2-2.5 hours without leaving my desk! That’s not good. So I’ve got digital calendar reminders chiming at me throughout the day, reminding me to get up and move, hydrate, and do my rehab exercises.
In that creepy, intrusive way it has, Facebook started serving up a suspiciously relevant new Virtual Strides challenge ad in my news feed, at precisely the time I was trying to “warrior up” each morning. This one was for a Warrior Woman Virtual Run (of 5K, 10K or half marathon length). A portion of the registration fee benefits the Women in Military Service memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. Facebook wins; I registered for the 5K (I’ll walk it, of course… sometime this month).
If you think a virtual running or walking challenge will help get you moving, and maybe channel some CV-19 anxiety in a constructive way, check out the trackers I mentioned in my February post. Or sign up for one of Run The Edge’s FREE virtual races this month. Their “un-cancelled project” will offer a number of virtual “races” to replace the many that have been canceled due to nationwide restrictions on large public gatherings. (Some of my friends and I are already participating in RTE’s “Run the Year” challenge as a relay team: we’re combining our weekly walking miles to try to reach 2,020 by the end of the year. We’re on track to make it by fall!)
And finally, if you do better following a set training schedule, check out this 6-week walking-for-weight loss plan outlined by Jessica Smith. By the way, she has an excellent YouTube channel filled with low-impact, indoor cardio and strengthening workouts.