390. Vacation

One of my favorite vacation pics ever.  FL April '07

One of my favorite vacation pics ever. FL April ’07

Team Tanimal’s Recreation Director (J, you just got a promotion from PT28/Mall Therapist) Googled “Fun things to do when you’re [physically] disabled.” I thought it was hilarious but was also touched. Sniff.

I cannot enjoy most things I used to and am bound by strict parameters – e.g. time of day (the earlier the better), existing appointments (I’m already heavily scheduled), proximity to an acceptable restroom, recommended water and food intake, accessibility etc. I realized after going to Aruba for Thanksgiving that flights over 4 hours mess with my head (even more so than it’s already compromised), and flying to Oregon gave me bright red spots on my lower legs even though I did squats whenever I could. Booo. My preventative measures failed. But I’m getting better so maybe these won’t be problems in the future. At this point, though, I’m not too interested in doing a trial run.

301.  Post-Vacay Recap:  Aruba

301. Post-Vacay Recap: Aruba


Even riding in a car for a couple hours a couple weekends ago triggered the return of my pain (this time it was the right shoulder and hip). Daddy preached at E&R’s chapel – Side Note: excellent job, Tanpo. I enjoyed your thoughts re. Moses – and I used the eraser-end of a mechanical pencil to poke myself in the shoulder the whole time since my Theracane didn’t come to church with me. I also fell asleep after the return trip home with my right leg dangling off the bed. This is a version of a stretch that M37 and Trainer D favor – it’s obviously better when a professional is helping you, but sometimes you do whatever you can.

Happily, I was able to sleep the pain off sans medication. This is a phenomenon unknown to me thus far and I welcome it! That said, it still makes me nervous that going away has its ramifications.

It’s also almost impossible to unplug mentally now. This is not my hobby. Nor is this my career. I am not an endurance athlete or a weekend warrior. This is my life.

I would love to take a vacation from all of this. The question of how to do that has weighed heavily on my recently since it’s summertime and parts of Team Tanimal have been taking well-earned time off.

I am a great advocate of taking time away from work. My first boss used to have to struggle with me to get me to go on vacation and forget about things for a while (I was not overly proficient at setting business continuity practices in place), but my last boss was more successful although I still insisted on being around at quarter-end and year-end to close the books bc I quailed at the thought of potentially unreliable remote access. (!!) In general, though, I think it makes people more effective if they get a break, and I need my people to be at their best.

In the meantime, I’m doing what I can. I figure it might be better to just spend an hour with my friends or my babies. But an hour is never enough – I always want to laugh more and am constantly exceeding my limits and paying the price later. You know by now that I love to laugh but you can probably imagine there’s always a bittersweet undercurrent.

So now I’m settling for a few minutes. I am so thankful that God is restoring the gift of music to me. Now that I’ve got my piano back I listened to the songs I recorded before I got sick and the familiar tunes, while they made my cry at first, are truly soothing. The rolling bass sounds I can’t produce anymore were what I was searching for in the hospital when I heard myself play for the first time and was absolutely shattered. I can sit down now and play with minimal forethought. Happily, most of my musical memory is intact; it’s just the motor skill and vision issues I’m working through.

Click for "I'm Taking Requests" medley

Click for “I’m Taking Requests” medley

I can also “run” on the AlterG with less effort. I still re-align myself every couple of minutes, think left-right for my arms and legs, and try hard to breathe appropriately, but it is SO much better than when I was first learning to walk. A reader recently left a comment on “152. 10 Tips for Learning to Walk Again” and remarked on how hard it is to remember to do everything all at once…but when you do, “it’s magical.” True – I remember thinking the same thing when I was an inpatient. Except the “magical” part – there was nothing magical about that experience. Dr. A(6) Frankenstein told me I needed to train my muscles how and when to fire. Update: they’re firing, albeit imperfectly.


359.  Running With Myself

359. Running With Myself

The AlterG remains one of the only “safe” places for me now and I enjoy my time (20-30 minutes) thoroughly. I have also started doing modified yoga and tai chi moves for a few minutes at a time bc my PT is a yoga enthusiast and shows me how to do things to improve my balance and I used to do tai chi (badly) before I got sick. But it’s a few minutes when I can stand outside alone (Mom or Dad can see me through the window) and look at my reflection in the glass and just breathe. Yes, I’m checking my alignment but thankfully that still comes naturally. It’s only 5 minutes but I congratulate myself on not falling down – I couldn’t do this a year ago! – and I thank God that things are different now. I used to look out the window from my hospital bed and watch the wind move the leaves on the trees. Now I’m standing on my deck and enjoying the breeze on my face.

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6 thoughts on “390. Vacation

  1. Listening to the video of you playing the piano made me cry. You are an amazing lady! Your attitude is a real encouragement to those of us who are so well.

  2. On behalf of the small (and unlicensed) pool of mall therapists in the world, I will speak up to say that I am so pleased with my promotion! 😉 😉

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