Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Fitness Bit

Confession time again. I've never been physically fit. I've never been able to pass the President's physical fitness test even as a child. I've always had genetic discrepancies work against me.

I was genetically predisposed to things like asthma, arthritis, cardiac problems, and assorted other things that were not conducive for physical fitness. When it came to the roll of the dice for bad genetic combinations, I always came out on the losing end starting from birth being several months premature.

That never stopped me from trying. Does anything stop me from trying? Nope.

Over the years, I've been a weight lifter. Imagine being five feet squat in height with a partner who is 6'2" tall, lifting a patient who is twice your body weight, including the weight of the stretcher, cardiac monitor, oxygen tank, etc making it four to six times my body weight. Yeah, I was really into weight lifting.

Sprinting, I could go from seated to a 100-yard dash in under a minute. But sustained running, I would be hard pressed to run a three-minute mile. With full gear equaled to a 50-pound knapsack, it was closer to five minutes. As I have said before, I don't run for the sport of it.

Chin ups, sit ups, push ups- "fuhgeddaboudit!" (In my best Brooklyn accent). Not that I didn't do them, but max twenty-five was my limit. I just didn't bother most times. But ask me to climb a tree, or crawl through muck to get a patient or chase children, I was first in line.

So is it any wonder why I don't strive for physical fitness after my stroke? Why? I've got a bum ticker (heart sick). I still have poor lung capacity since birth. I do what I have to do and that's a lot physically. Doing exercise for the sake of exercise was not part of who I am. There's got to be a useful goal in mind other than be physically lifting patients or chasing children.

What I lack in physical fitness, I made up for brain fitness. I was the type of person who could utilize their full brain. Both left and right sides at the same time. I knew I'd never be a contender for the physical, but in the brain I could excel.

So what did I go and do? Have a stroke that damaged my brain. Now, my stroke was in the left hemisphere. Languages, math, and all sort of very useful items in daily living are centered there including control of my predominant right side. Like thinking linearly, I have a very hard time doing. Sequencing is an important factor in speaking and writing.

For example, yesterday I went for an AFO adjustment. It was 4 pm and had a day full of hospice, husband care issues, and just living. I was beyond tired. With my aphasia, the combination is a no win situation. I found I couldn't find the right words to explain what was wrong with the brace. Too much pressure on my big toe and ankle. Also the sole on my functioning side shoe had a bubble form between the applied build-up and the original sole.

All that would roll around in my debilitated brain and what came out of my mouth was, "hurt," "can't walk," "cut," and blow out." I was repeatedly hitting my brace while trying to speak. I ended up pulling my shoe, AFO and sock off, and showing the brace maker what the problem was. It was all my unfit left brain function going berserk. Luckily, he understood and fixed the problems. With aphasia, if all else fails--point. Funny thing is, I can type my words better than speaking them. That how I blog even with aphasia. A thesaurus helps too in finding proper words.

So while I'm exercising to regain my function of defunct body parts, I'm focusing on getting my mental fitness in order with online games.

To be physically fit, I don't bother and never strive for it other than get use back. I realize it's a no win task. But mental fitness and acuity, that's a goal I can work towards.

Nothing is impossible with determination.

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