LIVING “OLD” IS NO OPTION
HER BODY WAS SCREAMING FOR HELP
I made a new friend today. She had her second knee replacement four months ago and had driven over to the local senior center to join a group of gabsters — friendly women who like to talk. I’ll call her Teri to protect her identity.
At home she still uses her walker to get around, hunched over and frustrated (according to her). But she came to the senior center without it walking tentatively with only a cane. I was dismayed to learn that her rehabilitative physical therapy was greatly lacking. She was many years younger than me and apparently being treated by her medical team as if she was approaching the century milestone.
I know that everyone’s body heals at its own pace, and it’s vital that each one of us listens to our body and acts accordingly. Teri was listening and her body was screaming for help. Her walker was too short. Her physical therapist, said Teri, had not given her a program to continue at home. And after quizzing her on her exercises at rehab, I was aghast that she hadn’t even been given the side-step routine that I call the crab-walk to strengthen the muscles around her knees.
After bilateral knee replacement, a hip replacement, rupture and revision I know a little bit about re-building those traumatized muscles. It takes time. Sometimes it hurts. But with every bit of temporary discomfort comes greater independence and freedom. Everyone can work toward a better version of themselves at any age — I’ve outlived my expiration date by 15 years and I’m in much better shape now than three years ago due to my replacement parts.
There is no magic pill to shave off years and gain new independence, but the key to doing so is simple and available to all. It takes only three decisions on your part.
First — Decide to think of yourself as an injured athlete not “old.”
Second — Decide to tell your doctor and your physical therapist (get a good one) to stop thinking of you as “old and on your way out,” but to think of you as an injured athlete fighting your way back to independence, one willing to put in the hard work.
Third — Decide to do exactly what they tell you to do.
That said be sure to ask the “why” and “what for” behind every pill and each routine. (You need to understand your body.) Put yourself and your body’s new routine first every day. Listen to your body and celebrate each small step toward flexibility, strength and endurance. And live boldly. I know you can do it!
Living “old” is not an option for happiness.
April 28, 2019