Peaceful days

Man Ray

I haven’t done much useful this week.
The must-do:s; yes, been biking and even walking! But reading and writing? Not much…
… a bit of cleaning…

One walk was involuntary. Monday afternoon after having left the grandson and the car at my daughter’s place, I began my way home. By bike, 4 kilometres. Decided to walk a part of the way since I really need to move my back, hips and thighs more.

This is not a kind of vanity, wanting to get slimmer or something more or less shallowly. This is bloody seriously! It is a long story that I will try make short. I have just written the long version and I don’t want to bore you as much as it bored me when reading it.

The story includes sciatica that emerged three years ago. It includes pain, muscle stiffness and difficulties to walk. It includes physiotherapists, biking, stretching, gym and ONE physiotherapist that actually gave me treatments including massaging all little hard nobs in the muscles until they disappeared.

It includes a slightly askew back, on the one side too cramped muscles and on the other too stretched out. It also includes increased pain and stiffness when I began poking in this mess.

It also includes laying a lot of stress behind me when retiring and moving back to my hometown… and now I could go on…. but won’t…

Biking goes pretty well now. I am satisfied but have still trouble walking. Too stiff around the hips. But I keep trying since I know it’s necessary. It seems that so far my limit is circa 1,7 kilometres at present. occasionally I have managed between 2-3 kilometres. And then on a warming pad in the sofa. At least 3 days of “handicap” afterwards. Earlier in my life, I used to walk a lot in the woods, so this now is NOTHING!!!

Two weeks ago, I decided to take a walk in a nearby small wood. The walking path appeared to be 2,2 kilometres. At 1,7 I wished I could teleport myself to the car. Then 3-4 days to recover on the heat pad. I did like the walk, though. Very much.

Then this happened…

Yes! How was it with that unwillingly walk this Monday?

I was on my way home, after driving my grandson. At first, I walked with my bike 1,2 kilometers. My plan was to bike the dull part and then maybe walk again when entering the wood-park. A lot of green stuff all around always makes me happy.

It didn’t happen that way. I biked through the wood park, but just as I was about to enter the bigger biking lane, a metallic crack was heard and the pedals just went around and around with no resistance at all.

There was a small curve there, just around a stone, and I had to succeed to round that stone in order not to fall into a ditch. Not a deep one, but deep enough to make me fall off the bike and maybe even hurt myself.

I managed, and I thanked the spirit within that I had biked really slowly and not downhill. The end of the story might have been quite different then.

What to do now? My ass and legs felt uneasy, a slight vibration haunted the muscles. The strain – not fear of falling.

Walk directly home, or to the bike mechanic? I pondered. How much longer to the mechanic? Would it be wise to wait until the next day to take my bike there? I chose to go to the mechanic at once. Maybe he would take care of it immediately, or I could leave the bike there until tomorrow. Wouldn’t need it until 2 PM – at the latest.

So I did! I walked. Slowly and tried to be as relaxed as possible.

The mechanic took a quick look. The chain had jumped off. Then he looked a bit closer, at the chain and at the wheel nave, and at the entire thing.

“You need a new chain”, he said and noticed there was something odd about the wheel nave. The wheel shield holders were… like… too short… or should I say – the chain was too long, too slacky… (I don’t know the vocabulary here)

“Yes, the chain has always been a bit slack, even when the bike was new”, I said.
“You also need a new tire so you have to leave the bike here til tomorrow”, he said.

I had already earlier told him that would be alright. The time was now about 4-4,15 PM, and at this time of year, a bike mechanic has lots and lots to do. Not everyone is like me, using their bike all year around.

So I walked. Slowly. Holding the bike basket in one hand, and tried not to think about anything. Just one step at a time. I felt quite alright, amazingly enough, but how would it feel later on? Tomorrow? Day three?

Finally home, I could hardly wait to check Runkeeper to see how far I had walked that afternoon. Guess what! 4,75 kilometres! (almost 3 miles).

I am proud! I did it!
I can’t remember when I last walked that far! And it didn’t hurt too much either! Not even the next day, or the one after that. Okay! There was pain in my feet, but that didn’t bother me. There were pain and stiff muscles in the legs as well, but that didn’t bother me either. The worst was the back, as usual, but thanks to the fact I had walked slowly, it was okay. I coped!
I stretched, and sat on the heat pad, and walked around at home making small movements several times during the next coming days.

Early Thursday morning, I went to the small wood again. I slowly walked the 2,2 kilometres. Immediately when back at the car, the muscles were shivering, but later when I stepped out of the car at my parking place, it felt good. Two weeks earlier, also early in the morning, I  had walked the same path and that time it had felt worse – at 1,7 kilometres I wished I could have teleported to the car. But not this time!

My ability to walk has without doubt increased lately, and I am both happy and grateful. Today, Saturday, my back isn’t happy but at least I know why. And when I sat in the car that morning and told myself I would take that walk – I felt so happy and really looked forward to it. It was genuinely wonderful!

I can see this mishap with the bike as a necessary kick in the ass. Help. A blessing, even. A gift that also arrived in the best possible time. Early Monday and Wednesday mornings, I would have biked to my grandson to fetch him and the car. How unfortunate it would have been if the bike had fallen into pieces then. Also at Tuesday noon had been a terribly bad time for such an event. The mishap happened at the most convenient time it could, so it wouldn’t add trouble to my grandson. Or me.

It also gave me a huge push to dare myself to walk more and longer. And as long as he needs me as a chauffeur, I can use the possibility to take walks in more pleasant surroundings than on city streets.
I think, what often hinders us to do things, is the fear of pain or, as in my case, more stiffness and that slight unsteadiness I’ve experienced. Not really dizziness, but a tiny bit like it.

But the most important isn’t How – but That I’m moving around this body more and more – and in different ways.
Dancing to Britain’s got talent is also doable…

P.S. – Yesterday my grandson told me he is soon up for the final driver license test. He didn’t say when, but I got the impression it will be due sometime in the week after next. He will tell me later. Or suddenly just show me the card.

I will miss him, our moments in the car. Almost every day, you know!

The Header Image – ALINE ET VALCOUR, Man Ray, 1950