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The BigFoot story is not over – until it is over of course.

Big Foot has been somewhat reduced to a visibly normal size.  At the same time, it is still bigger than it should be.  Sometimes I can walk fast but still cannot run with abandon.

Today, on the way to PT (Physical Therapy), I was walking with my cane in front of a young couple.  They eventually passed me and the young man said, “You don’t need that cane.”  And I said, “Yes, it is only for balance.”  Wasn’t he the sweetest thing? He actually made my day and I am still grinning and thrilled that someone said I don’t really need that cane.

But this story is about today’s journey through PT (Physical Therapy).

PLAYING WITH ELSA-THE-DOG

“I want to get down on the floor to play with Elsa,” I said to Anne-Marie (my physical therapist) today.  “The problem is, once I get down, I am not sure I can get up.”

Anne-Marie is a very sweet and expert therapist who will work on whatever problem I present. She understood immediately and she promptly demonstrated her technique for gracefully lowering herself to the floor with one bent knee.

I explained my own technique for getting down there.

“It’s like this,” I said. “ At home I collapse face first and chest first onto an easy chair.

Then I push off in a pre-aimed sideways fall to get the rest of the way to the floor.”

“Uh, I don’t like the word collapse,” said Anne-Marie. “Don’t collapse on anything but remember stomach in and accomplish goals with slow determination.”

O.K.  I made it to the floor in front of my therapist and anyone else who was watching of course. I got there by holding a death grip on Anne-Marie’s wall mounted ballet rails and kind of hanging my way down.  There was nothing graceful in this.

NOW HOW TO GET BACK UP!

I explained to Anne-Marie that at home I arise from whatever position I fall in by

  •  hoisting my upper body onto the seat of the easy chair,
  • swinging BigFoot as far forward as it will go and pushing it a little further with my hand,
  • then not so gracefully heaving myself up to a somewhat wobbly standing position.

Do you have a mental image of this action?

IT IS NOT A PRETTY PICTURE!

Again, my lovely therapist urged me to use thoughtful, slow, determined movements to hold onto the chair but to bring that foot around and to lean on my own bent foot to rise with strength and grace.  I will be a picture of graceful moves.  Ha!

I did it there once again using the ballet rails and arm muscles instead of abs!

I think I can do it at home.

It will be a move in the direction of physical fitness.

Not today though.

Maybe tomorrow.

I will try not to collapse onto the chair, but to lower myself, abs in and with goal-oriented determination.  If you are young you have not read this far. Getting up is not a challenge.  If you are old, stick with me.

Lowering my body to the floor and then hoisting myself up from the floor was not the only goal today but it was the major one.  After all, this session was designed specifically for Elsa-the-dog so we can play face to face on her own level.

For more pretty pictures of Dor managing to live happily ever after with BigFoot, stay tuned.

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New Foot

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Faraway Doctoring

I connected this week with my Long Distance Doctor about the last MRI test for BigFoot.  That makes 5 MRI’s in about 3 years!

I am in rural Virginia and the doc is in Big City Baltimore so it is an adventure story of sorts.  She recommended “Serial MRI’s” for comparison purposes.

Anyway, Dr. C called to review the last MRI which showed positive changes.  And there will be no more MRI’s unless BigFoot decides to act up again.  Hurrah!

Now I keep looking at my beautiful ultra-thin foot.  And guess what?  It matches the other one.

ankles (1)On Foot Preening

Feet are definitely not the most glamorous parts of the human body.  In fact, I think they are generally pretty ugly.  But they do a major job in carrying us around and I do admire a foot that maintains its shape and shows a prominent ankle bone.

Is it no wonder that visible feet beneath ladies’ long skirts in the olden days was considered ultra sexy and risque?

Some folks preen before a mirror.  I suppose they admire their faces.

But a mirror is not necessary for foot preening.   I can simply recline in my recliner to scrutinize lovely skinny toes and the spaces between them, a slim ankle and visible ankle bone, and rare puffiness even after a full day of activity.  I would be an enormous hit in the olden days right?

So yes, at any given moment you may see me in a reclining stupor admiring my own sockless feet.

P.T.

PT is short for Physical Therapy.  Don’t you just hate all this “Initial” talking?

To celebrate SkinnyFoot’s new possibilities I attended a PT session with a therapist here in Virginia (not Baltimore thank goodness) who worked “hands on” for a full hour!

This meant manipulated muscles and things that have never been manipulated before.  !

I told Anne-Marie, the fantastic therapist, “My ultimate goal is to wear matching shoes and be able to traverse (on foot) the local Walmart with no electric cart!”

And she said, “That is absolutely do-able.” 

Really?!  I am so happy and hopeful but realize there is weakness due to nearly three years of immobility.   Good results will take time.

Then Came The-Day-After P.T.

  • UhOh!
  • Stabbing pains in SkinnyFoot.
  • Aching thighs.
  • Back twinges.
  • Fear
  • Worry.
  • And a mad grab for an Ibuprofen.
  • Arrrrgh!

Was this a case of after-therapy muscle aches and pains or something worse?

Should I quit after only one session?

Or should I soldier on?

The Day After the Day After P.T.

Only one stabbing pain all day.

Walmart, here I come!

Wish me luck my blogger friends –  I am off and running – well, not exactly running really.  But I have two appointments for P.T. next week.

Now don’t laugh.  You never know where this will go.

Even elderly ladies like me can bounce back to teenage agility levels.  I don’t expect to run marathons or jitterbug but like I said, “You never know.”

Meanwhile, it’s back to preening and personal foot admiration.

And I trust you will join me and gaze mesmerized at the Before and After foot photos above.

 

 

 

 

 

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mr-trash-wheel-waterfront-partnership-of-baltimore-3 (1)

We were in Baltimore, Maryland and enjoying breakfast.

Discussing sightseeing adventures might have been a good topic of conversation.

Instead we were concentrating on Naming An Unidentified Floating Object we could see out the window!

The “thing” was a giant water wheel with no familiar or observable purpose.

Being rather shy and reserved people (from the Virginia countryside) we are usually hesitant to ask questions.  But the temptation was too great, so Bill finally asked the restaurant manager, “What is that thing?”

Not being shy or reserved, the manager gave us a mini-history lesson.

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Inner Harbor Water Wheel, Baltimore, Maryland

“That is a water cleaner, said the Manager.”  It has been here for four years.  People would dump things in the water and it was 80% polluted.  Now it is 40% polluted.  The goal is to make the water in the Inner Harbor swimmable by 2020.  Very young engineers maintain the project and it costs almost nothing to run.”

“Does it have a name?” I asked.

“What is that shell you hold to your ear?….you know – a Conch!” he said.

I decided to look up the conch shell water cleaner when we got home, but couldn’t find a thing until I began looking up Cleaning Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.    If it is called a CONCH, I find no reference to it, but here is what I did find:

The Mystery Barge is called the Water Wheel or Mr. Trash Wheel or officially – The Inner Harbor Water Wheel.  It is a hydro and solar-powered barge parked in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor since 2014, slurping up all garbage that makes its way downriver.  And it uses nothing but the current and the sun!

Historic ship manager, John Kellett, was getting sick of watching garbage in the rivers on his way to work, so he invented this giant floating wheel that turns with the current.  It places trash from the harbor onto an on-board conveyor belt which then routes it into dumpsters on board.

The “Wheel” is part of a Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore’s Healthy Harbor Plan which has a goal to clean up the harbor enough to make it safe for swimming by 2020!

Baltimore Polluted Harbor

Before Mr. Trash Wheel

On April 20, 2015, Mr. Trash Wheel removed 19 tons of garbage in that one day.  And at the end of the first quarter in 2016 it was noted that the Wheel had collected over 1,000,000 pounds of trash since its inception.

The ingenuity of man seems boundless and The Thing in Baltimore Harbor restores my faith in our ability to clean up our own messes and make life pure again.

Now if only we could figure out how to control traffic!

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Books, Diapers and Vitamin D

We seem to be going backward in time.  Hurrah!   Well, at least Hurrah for some things.

REAL VERSUS FAKE?  BOOKS THAT IS.

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There is a pending sense of relief that “real books” (the kind where you physically turn a physically real page) are back in style.

  • I still get caught up trying to tap-turn a page in my E-reader with a too heavy hand that flips three pages at a time.
  • Besides, E-book editions are now oftentimes higher priced than good old paperbacks.
  • E-readers are sending me odd messages too. “We are unable to download the book you just ordered.  Please return to your Library and try again.”  Huh?

What are your gripes about e-readers?  We could write a whole post about just those irritations..

Is there anything good about them?  Maybe we could write a whole post about that.

SUNSHINE VERSUS VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS

sunshineThe trend is toward natural sunlight which they say encourages your own body to manufacture its own Vitamin D! The benefits of supplements are now listed on the “iffy side.”

I now aim for  20 minutes in natural sunlight with unprotected skin to help Old Sol along.

Falling asleep out there however, is not a good idea.  Just ask my grandgirl, Jess.

CLOTH DIAPERS VERSUS DISPOSABLES 

 

cloth-diaper-on-baby

They say disposable diapers are now clogging up the environment with all that in-disposable content.  But cloth can be washed and rewashed.

I didn’t really know it but I used to save the planet like that but almost traumatized my infant son with extreme diaper rash. Are you ready for a Dor-story?  That’s D-O-R – not, D-O-G.

In those ancient days of yore (before Pampers), I was hysterical about poor Corky’s terrible suffering with a constant diaper rash.  Eventually I conferred with an expert.   “What are you washing them in?” asked a helpful friend (mother of 6).  “He has perfectly clean white diapers,” said I, “They are washed in soapy water and bleach!”   And that saved our boy from further agony because my friend said, “There’s your problem!  Urine and bleach don’t work.  Better to have slightly stained diapers.”

Assuming most new mothers today are savvy, the trend toward cloth diapers makes perfect sense doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, I am hoping our son (now a fine man) was not emotionally marred by those early days of a young mother’s ignorance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Year of Wonders

Water World

I just started an aquasize class offered by our local YMCA!  The other aging ladies in the group call it “water aerobics.”  This may be wishful thinking but we do jumping jacks midstream in the pool and even cross country skiing (or at least we make motions to that effect).

Sometimes I feel like I am Esther Williams though.  You may not remember her – a film star who was once the center of synchronized swimming.  If I squint a little, I think of my current “aerobics” group as my mininons and I am Esther in all her glory.  Imagination is a wonderful thing.

Social Media for the AgedAging

A charming and dedicated fellow high school graduate from my early days (those days celebrated in history books now) has initiated a new FaceBook page by-invitation-only,  a private group just for us graduates of our particular year.  I was so excited about participating that I immediately heaped a boatload of photos and stories onto the page.  It dawns on me now there are only 21 of us participating.  I think there were 600 in our class.

Rain, Floods, and Vitamin D

It keeps on raining around here in rural Virginia.  Sometimes it even floods and our local Alert System is always warning that soccer team and other sports events have been cancelled.  Bill and I are “hill toppers” so we are not too worried about being flooded.

I do get concerned about a Vitamin D deficiency!  They say, “Twenty minutes of natural sunlight on two thirds of your unprotected body parts is all you need to self-generate enough Vitamin D for good health.”  So in those brief periods of sunshine we now enjoy, I head for the deck with bare legs and arms, and with no SPF protection.

Down with a Cold or is it The Plague?

All that sunbathing didn’t help after all.  I developed a nasty cold the day after water aerobics!  Tylenol worked for a low grade fever, but I am left with a deep gutteral cough, light headedness, and the occcasional sweats.

I have however, found the ultimate cure-all, feel-better-right-away solution.   I am reading “Year of Wonders” – a story about the Plague!

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Not to dwell on the saga of my ailing foot but it has survived months in an Air Cam Boot, weeks of physical therapy, tests and more tests and about six different diagnoses.

Dwelling may not be such a bad idea at that.

Here is a photo of an obstacle course (duplicated for home use).  The real thing is at my “PT” place.  PT stands for Physical Therapy.  Have you noticed how people talk in initials now?

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Cone Obstacle Course at Dor’s House

Anyway, the orange coned obstacle course is among other torturous devices at my PT place.  It is designed to build strength and agility in a foot that flaps.

My left foot now flaps when I walk. I can hear it.

And to confirm the lopsided flapping gait,

Bill said, “You walk like a duck!”

So much for grace and pride.  Now add a dog leash for optimal humiliation!

Back to Physical Therapy, my well-meaning therapist, Brenda, puts a belt around my waist and the belt is so long it has a tail.  Then she holds the tail in case I am inclined to teeter toward a crash landing.

The challenge is to high step over each cone without falling or knocking anything down.

  • No swinging a foot outward and around instead of over.
  • No leaning on Brenda.
  • No hopping.
  • And if you knock a cone (or Brenda) over, keep going.

As a beginner at this dog/duck walk I managed to knock down quite a few cones.  Then, just as practice made perfect, they put out taller versions!  Staggering over a new set of towering obstacles was like being a beginner again.

And I was just getting good at the taller versions when they announced, “YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN!  No more leash.”

ALONE?  Are you kidding?

Nevertheless, grimly poised for action, I aimed to prove versatility, flexibility, agility, strength, balance, and the powers of a gimpy woman to convert liabilities into assets.

AND I COULD NOT MOVE!

Terrified, to take the first step without a security dog/duck leash, I was frozen at the starting gate.

Finally, Brenda took pity and offered psychological support. She followed along as a human safety net.  And I completed the arduous leash-less journey with only two fallen cones!

Next visit I plan to shock everyone with a perfect solo performance (hence the home-based obstacle course for practice)!  But what diabolical activity will they come up with next?

Did I tell you they have me picking up marbles with my toes?

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Actually, there is a Himalayan Salt Cave/Spa nearby in Forest, Virginia.

Have you ever tried reviving yourself in a Himalayan Salt Cave?  This is now on my bucket list!

And no, you don’t have to work with a pick and axe to retrieve salt from a mine.  You can just sit down and soak up the purified air or get a massage or have a family get-together!

cave_for_web

From the London’s Salt Spa Website: “Here is our spacious, relaxing and therapeutic Salt Cave, where you will experience the healing and relaxing power of our pink salt from the Himalayan Mountains.  Sit back in our Zero Gravity chairs, relax and breathe while the cave purifies, replenishes, and rejuvenates your mind and body. For the optimal respiratory comfort, we keep the Salt Cave at a stable humidity of 30-50% and temperatures range between 70-74 degrees. Fresh Blankets And socks Are Provided.”

 

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