In the closing hours of 2015, I want to share my parents with you. Many of you have met them before on these posts: I’ve written about my mom doing pushups, my dad riding and adventuring, and both of them helping me out on my first 100M trail race.
Mom had hip surgery just before Thanksgiving – a re-do from hip surgery 2 years ago (really wonder if many docs keep track of their later failures). Because it was a re-do, it was a more complicated surgery. She was no weight-bearing on that leg for minimum 6 weeks. I went out for Thanksgiving, and stayed for a bit to help out. I was there when she was released from the re-hab facility, and helped to get her settled at home, just in time for Thanksgiving. She was able to get around a little, with a walker, putting no weight on her leg – not easy! Through this process she showed, once again, a great example of diligence and patience.
You may remember her from earlier posts, about how I taught her to do pushups at age 70. She started off doing easy wall pushups, and gradually progressed to incline, and then modified pushups on the floor. But she didn’t stop there. She kept building her strength until she could do full pushups – a lot of them.
In recent years, she’d fallen off of pushups because of pain in her hips. But she had learned the importance of upper body strength for daily tasks, so she still kept in pretty good shape. And that strength paid off with this surgery! Not only did it help her overall recovery, but her solid upper body strength made her rehab possible. Before she could be released from the rehab facility, she had to be able to get in/out of a chair/bed easily. She had to be able to get into the shower, transferring from the walker to the shower bench. She had to be steady as she scooted along with her walker. All of this was completely dependent on her upper body strength. All the PTs were amazed at how easily this little 78 year old could pull and push herself around so quickly after major surgery.
Once she was home, she kept up her hard work. She did her exercises with care and regularity – the PTs quickly got bored with her because they didn’t have anything to correct. And she walked. Every day. She went slowly and carefully. She didn’t overdo it. But she pushed herself. Each day she tried to go just a little farther, even if just a few steps.
And all the while, she was helped out by my dad. He watched over her, helped with whatever he could. He helped get her in and out of bed/shower/car. He ran errands, he cooked, he cleaned.
Caregiving is hard work! It’s easy to get so busy with caregiving that people forget about their own self-care. But Dad worked on that. Almost every day (we did miss a few), he got down to the pool or the gym and did his own exercise. Not always his full exercise, sometimes there just wasn’t time. But he would do something. He walked on the treadmill, plus I gave him some new strength and balance work – made sure he kept up the strength necessary for caregiving.
They both were models of all the things I stress in my training: diligence, patience, gradual progression. Well done Mom and Dad!
So, in these closing hours and into the new year, I hold both of them up as great examples for all of us to emulate.
May your New Year be healthy and strong!