Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bonus Feature

Yesterday Oscar didn't have to be at work until 12:30, so we got up at our usual time and spent a few hours exploring our new neighborhood. One of the first things we did was visit the fitness center.
Summit Fitness Center, Canton, Michigan
 The good news is that if I pick my path carefully, I can use the manual wheelchair to access the facilities. I cannot wheel myself up even a small degree of incline without risking permanent damage to my ill-healed hernia repair. Right now my weight lifting limit is just under 10 pounds. If I damage the remaining muscles that will plummet to 2 or 3 pounds. My primary doctor is also an internist who was able to warn me about this limit before damage was done. The surgeon that did the repair told me my limit was 20 pounds, and did not change it after my healing was botched. Again, I am so very grateful for my current doctor.
Anyway, the good news is a path exists. The bad but far from catastrophic news is that my endurance is lower than I have ever felt before. Remember before all this happened I used to hike up and down mountains for 12 hours at a time every weekend when I lived in Japan. It was somewhat of a disheartening reality check to fully understand how my overall strength has waned. Given my fibromyalgia I will need to be careful not to over do things, but after moving to the new apartment I will be using my manual wheelchair inside all day. That combined with making trips to the workout center with Oscar as back up should allow me to regain some of my stamina. We will begin attending the center in September.

Then we clocked the distance between the center and what will be our new front door. It was a bit over 4 miles, but a huge swath of it was without sidewalks.. thus being able to use the manual chair to travel in the van became very important (the ramp is too small for my electrical chair, which means I am unable to get it back on the ramp without someone spotting me. (there is 1/4-1/2 inch clearance on each side.) With the manual chair I can load myself up, drive to the center, work out, load myself back up and drive home.
At our current home there is no place I can park the van and access the ramp with the manual chair, so the handicapped parking at our new place opens up tons of opportunities for me to go around on my own. We need to get the van's brakes fixed, and I need to choose places without carpeting so I can get around easily but in essence, with the change of address great freedoms which have been lacking for a decade become possible.

As we drove around our new apartment complex I noticed some people with patios like ours have flower beds! This means the management is amenable to minor landscaping... this means we can have the huge overgrown shrubs that block our sunshine totally removed, and replace them with raised flower beds of a height I can reach them from my chair... this means I can GARDEN!!!!!!!!!!! and !!!!!!! for good measure.
Oscar and I will discuss what to plant over the winter, but just the thought of being able to dream about what to put in means that I will have a very cheerful winter indeed!. There is also lots of inside sunshine so I can have some flowers and herbs in the house, too. That I will start soon after we move in.

While driving back in the direction of current-home, we clocked the distance to Ikea and Michael's Crafts... less than half a mile! There is a short 1/2 block stretch where there is no sidewalk, but in good weather I can use the electrical chair on the grass and still get there. There is a cross walk over the only street I need to get across. (Yes Lynnie, I promise I will put a rhinestone studded whirligig on the back of my chair to increase visibility, even though I am really a lot bigger than a bicycle. :-} )

Before heading home we stopped at our local Coleman's which is a vegetable and fruit 'stand' (actually more of an open air building) There we picked up Romaine Lettuce and Asparagus that had been cut that morning  as well as some HUGE radishes and some lovely scented strawberries for Oscar. They also were displaying their (mostly) annual bedding plants. I took the opportunity to shoot some photos with my phone, and dream a bit. The double flowered impatiens reminded me that I used to take cuttings of that same variety and grow them over the winter to plant each spring (bottom photo, lower right hand corner.)Maybe I'll pick up a pot of them before they run out so I can start that tradition again... Something new to bring to our home along with an ivy plant I have had since February.


Anonymous said...

I am so glad to see you taking photographs again, they are lovely!
hugs, Ysabeau

morewithles said...

This is going to be so great for you!

AlisonH said...

This is going to be so much better. It's so wonderful to hear it all coming together for the two of you.

Don Meyer said...

A fitness Center you can get to, a garden, a place that works for you! Can't get much better. And if you work at it, your endurance will get better. Just take it slowly.