Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Let's Get Physical, Physical

Yep you guessed it. The blog today is on physical exercise after a stroke. Yeah, right! Sure it is. I hear you. "A couple of weeks ago ago, you said you don't exercise."

I might have given up my gym membership back in the dark ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth, (er, um, 1984) but that doesn't mean I don't do physical exercises.

I do own a stationary air cycle and one of those ritzy NordicTrack, all-in-one, FreeStride Trainer. It was an impulse buy before my stroke. Now this equipment is getting a good dusting before I use them again. After all, with the decubitus on my foot this past twelve months, it's been kind of hard to stand let alone exercise with them. I'll be using them again soon now that they aren't an issue anymore. (Yahhh! Whoppie!) I've kind of been looking forward to it. I may not be able to work out as long as I once did, but with time, I should be.

But it's not like I haven't done any physical exercises since my stroke. I've done loads of balancing, lifting, walking, reaching and a host of other exercises in both physical therapy at the hospital and at home, and just the day to day maintenance of my urban homestead. Not to mention, the care of myself and my darling hubby.

I do do all the grocery shopping for the household. I'll place a bag on my spastic arm too. I don't need no stinking, fancy weighted bands. The bags work just fine. I explained in another blog how I lift and carry those 24-pack bottles of water into the house one handed. Bending, lifting, balancing, walking all in one fell swoop just with this one semi monthly task.

And that's just groceries, earlier this month I went searching for new/old shirts for my hubby. For a man, looking good is equaled to feeling good. His old, medium sized shirt were swallowing him. I bought a couple of XS shirts for him at the second hand store. He refuses to wear pajama shirts but wants to wear his normal dress shirts. He wants it, I get it. I searched through the offerings of three second hand stores close to home and brought home my finds. These stores are huge and have aisles upon aisles of clothing racks in varying sizes. I found three in his preferred colors and style. It only took me three hours. My pedometer read over 100,000 steps! Now tell me, I didn't exercise. It's not a fancy one like the FitBit but a manual job where I hit a button for each step I actually take. If it ain't broke, don't replace it.

Every day up until last month, I walked out to the chicken coop and the rabbit pen to feed and water them twice a day. Last month my five-year old hens and my four meat rabbits took the journey to their next stage of their life...into my freezer. The walk is about thirty feet from my back door. I'd clean up their areas...more bending, balancing, lifting, and walking back and forth to the composting station (10 ft).

Oh, there was also screening the rabbit waste because it will fetch a pretty penny from local gardeners as fertilizer. Then shoveling, shimming, and shaking the mesh filled wooden frame. My meat rabbits (when in full production 10 rabbits at a breeding) and Angora put out enough to fertilize my garden for a year monthly. The profits went towards extra feed stuff like dried papaya, black oil sunflower seeds, and cranberries for them (their treats). I won't even go into my fodder feed system now for their regular feed. But for both rabbits and chickens, I spent $68 a year in wheat seed to sprout. That's it besides oyster shells courtesy of my daughter's oyster roasts for the chickens and hay for the rabbits.

There is the garden. Now a raised, raised bed garden. They had to be built first. My
grandson didn't have all the fun doing this. I helped too. More bending, balancing, lifting, and walking.

Mixing in the compost from the composter. I sift mine to get all the uncomposted chunks out. That way my plants get what they need the most. My screen does double duty between the rabbit manure and the compost. More shimming and shaking, and balance training. My contractor son-in-law put a cross bar on my wheel barrow handles so I can operate it one handed. I'll water, weed, and harvest daily, and then process what I harvested. Whether it's cooking it for dinner, freezing it, canning it, or dehydrating it. It's all upper body exercises and strengthening. Standing and balancing, if I don't have my butt parked on a stool at the counter. I'm pretty well tired out from the previous exercises.

But before harvesting I need to start the seeds which means I need a couple five gallon buckets of my potting version of the soil blend I put in my garden beds. I add my organic fish remains fertilizer to moisten the soil. Want to know how to make it? Buy my book, Are You a Survivalist or a Prepper? (Catch that shameless plug?) But before that, I need to make the starting cups. I'll either use egg shells or make ones out of newspaper or waste toilet paper rolls. I don't eat at KFC enough to start all my plants in the Snack and Go cups. Yes, I recycle or repurpose everything. The plastic tray is a repurposed cookie container from the bakery department.

Already time to pluck again
After a stroke if you have fatigue syndrome, like I do, you have to gauge your activity with your energy level. By now, after two years and counting, I pretty much know which activity is the most draining for me and plan my day accordingly. On days when I have  hospital based physical and occupational therapies, I will be totally wiped out until after my nap. On those days, it might be a two nap day to make it to bedtime energy wise. So I do the bunny grooming on those days. Buddy is great and loves to be brushed or maybe he just loves the extra treats. He'll let me do anything to him for the most part and lay perfectly still on the towel covered table. But on the nontherapy days that's when I choose to do my heavy duty gardening and cleaning their areas about four times a week.

So to say I'm not exercising is a lie. But now that the garden is still in its Fall/Winter growing stage, the meat rabbits and chickens are gone until Spring, it's time to break out the NordicTrack and air cycle for winter time exercise. Of course I'll be wearing my old, heart rate monitor, as uncomfortable as it is, so I don't stress out my bum ticker. No sense letting the strength I've built up over the Spring and Summer lag because it's cool-ish outside. At least that's the plan.

I can't leave y'all without a blast from the past...
(Standard YouTube License)

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. My pedometer says I take 2000+ steps when I grocery shop.

  2. I tend to frequent smaller stores than the mega marts. Quicker to find what I need and get home. The second hand shops are a different story. Everything is in a vague direction...over there.

  3. Final journey to your freezer - that made me laugh!


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