Here I am at my parents house waiting for the home health care people to look over my dad. Over the past 48 hours, he has grown quite weak. I arrived yesterday to take him and my mom to his weekly doctor appointment and was shocked at how he looked. He needed assistance to get out of a chair and assistance to walk. By the time he got his clothes on and headed for the clinic he had perked up a bit. He made a good show of it at the doctor, but the doctor could tell that he was not doing well, and he suggested that we may need to put dad back into assisted care.
As you can imagine, this is pretty unsettling. He had been doing well up until this point, although he had been having problems with his colostomy. When he first arrived at the convalescent rehab home two months ago, he couldn’t walk, couldn’t get out of bed unassisted. By the time he got released a month ago, he could walk unassisted, could get in and out of bed and chairs without difficulty. He had a walker, but didn’t need it to move around the house. But he has also laid around a lot and because he hasn’t had the daily focused physical therapy, I think he has become weaker. Perhaps that is what it is.
I spent last night here at my parent’s house because if dad got into trouble, he would need someone stronger than my mom to help him out. This indeed happened last night. He wound up on the floor and couldn’t get up. It was good I was there to get him out of a bind. It is pretty apparent that mom can’t take care of him by herself and so he will probably need to go back to the convalescent home.
All of this makes me reflect about my own health. I have never had much athletic ability, but I do enjoy (somewhat) walking, running, swimming, weight lifting. But I have never been consistent with it. Hot and cold am I when it comes to any discipline.
But if I project myself 30 years into the future, I need to consider what sort of shape I will be in if I continue to be inconsistent with my self care. My dad was a strong person before he went through this trauma. If he hadn’t been as strong as he was, he wouldn’t have made it. What will happen to me when I have some sort of health trauma? A heart attack, a stroke, colon issues? My Ulnar Neuritus and shoulder problems have been enough of a trial for me, thank you very much. And I’m only 52.
Yes I could get religion and put myself on some sort of intensive campaign to get into shape. But more realistically, the only thing that is going to work for me over the long haul is being attentive to the little things I do each day–the small choices. Do I sit in front of the television or computer screen two hours in a row, or do I work a small walk or chore in there? Do I sugar snack in the mid-to-late evening or do I have a glass of water instead? Do I remain consistent in the shoulder strengthening exercises I need to do twice a day to keep my torn rotator cuff from getting worse, or do I just blow it off ? Do I choose to order bacon cheeseburgers when we go out to eat, or do I only do this as an occasional treat and order more greens instead?
Choices. It all comes down to choices. And I want to be healthy and strong five, ten, twenty years from now.