Phannie

Phannie
Photo taken at Winchester Bay, Oregon.

Friday, August 2, 2019

On The Road Again; the Psychology of Getting Back on the Horse

At Lebanon KOA, Lebanon, Missouri...

I have discovered I have had some mild psychological effects from my mishap in Fredericksburg and the aftermath of surgery and physical therapy I have experienced. Perhaps most evident among these is the realization that I'm feeling my age more than ever. While I have worked hard at doing my shoulder therapy as prescribed, and my progress has exceeded expectations, I am much more mindful of my limitations in motion that, unfortunately, have been creeping in, including the onset of arthritis that has shown up in my knee and hand. The cumulative nature of these makes me acutely aware that the seeming indestructibility of youth is far behind me, having been replaced with a running calculation of sorts--a constant risk assessment of whatever activity I might be contemplating.  Here's a hypothetical example:  I am standing alone on smooth ground, but close by is an area strewn with boulders, rocks, fallen tree limbs and other detritus that could be hazardous to walking without tripping over something. Suddenly, a gust of wind blows the hat off my head and well into the rough area. Do I walk into the rough area to retrieve it?  I think not; I can afford another hat. Before the fall at Fredericksburg, I probably would have gone after the hat.

This realization is something new; I never really felt old and vulnerable before the accident, and it's getting harder to push these thoughts aside as I recognize the decreased mobility and dexterity issues in several parts of my body. But push them aside I will, to the best of my ability; I refuse to "go gently into that good night," as Dylan Thomas wrote. I'm just going to try to be much more careful in my movement and wise enough to know my limitations.

Because of my desire to keep the old man out, as Clint Eastwood explains his vigor in old age, I was determined to carry through with our longtime plans to drive Phannie to meet friends in Missouri and then continue to Michigan. And so we did, departing Conroe as planned, except a little later into the hot summer than we had anticipated. The bright spot is that we got to spend more time than usual with the kids and grands! The trip was cleared by Dr. Hayes and the therapists, after I promised to adhere to the daily exercise instructions they prescribed until returning. 

As it turned out, there was no need for apprehension on my part, as I had very little difficulty with the physical activities involved with departure, driving, fuel stops or overnight parking and hookups. That's not to say that my shoulder is back to normal, as there are still some arm movements that are restricted, but I found that I can use it much more than I expected.  

So far, I have kept my promise about the exercises, and these workouts have now become part of my daily routine. Oddly, I almost look forward to these, as through doing so, I can see slow but steady progress in regaining mobility and strength in my arm. Once on the road with a couple of overnights behind us, things really began to feel more normal again. Yes, there were the little grunts and winces as certain of my movements reached their pain threshold limits, but it was so good to be "out there" again. 

Along with being thankful for the restorative care given me by medical professionals and especially by my dear Sandy, I cannot help but be more mindful of the vast number of people whose medical conditions are so much worse, circumscribing their ability even to walk, much less drive a motorhome around the country.  I never really appreciated what it might be like to lose a limb until after the fall when my arm could do nothing but hang limp at my side preceding surgery. I am so blessed compared to so many, and my heart goes out to those whose mobility is permanently impaired.

The following photo will give you some idea of my progress after a couple months' therapy after the surgery. Instead of my right arm hanging lifeless before, I can now reach up to Phannie's door lock with little effort. For those of you who have had this kind of surgery, you know what a victory that is...and it's getting better all the time:



 We were excited to meet up here in Lebanon with our Arkansas friends Carolyn and Larry, who are also gospel music fans. They are fun to be with, and we always have a lot of laughs:



The concerts have also been great. The Collingsworth Family, one of our favorites, was here, among others, and gave a fine performance:



We will be leaving here on Sunday and join other longtime RV friends in Hannibal, Missouri. Most of these folks have come off the road for various reasons, so we don't get to see them as often. This will be a very special time for us.


Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I fail to appreciate it each day as I should.

We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing. 
 ---George Bernard Shaw

"I get up every morning, and I just don't let the old man in." ---Clint Eastwood

18 comments:

  1. Glad to see you on the road again, and using the arm........ I do feel your pain, as the old saying goes! Don't fret if you find that you have trouble shuffling cards, I have one of the battery operated ones!!!

    Be careful, and enjoy being on the road. We won't get back on the road until mid-September, but it will be a 7 week journey!! Can't hardly wait!

    Regards,
    Richard

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    1. Thanks, Richard. A battery-operated shuffler! Why didn't we think of that before?

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  2. I have found that getting down on my hands and knees lets me go on into spots I will no longer attempt to walk into. The one most encountered is getting out of a sand trap on a golf course. I just throw my putter out and crawl up the embankment then stand. The keeping on is more important than the how pretty you keep on.

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  3. oh my....everything will be ok. I think that is why I have continued my walking these past 30 years...I know if I stop I will be done for! Stay strong...take care.

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    1. Thanks! You have been smart over the years to take good care of yourself.

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  4. Nice to hear you are back on the road again. That was an amazing ordeal you guys went through, who would have seen that coming.

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    1. Yes, and it's one I really don't care to repeat. That's why I try to watch what I'm doing nowadays.

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  5. Slowing down a bit and getting to know your limitations you can still keep on going. Glad you are back on the road again and enjoying the good life. Safe travels.

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    1. Thank you, George. I never miss your positive posts.

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    2. Thank you for following along, I enjoy your posts as well, we are living the good life.

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  6. Robert Schuller has been quoted as saying, "Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities." Your hard work in your physical therapy program has paid off well, Mike, and it's absolutely wonderful to hear that you and Sandy are back on the road. Your gratitude for your much improved situation is palpable, and serves as a reminder to appreciate the abilities we have and remain mindful of those with greater challenges. Enjoy your journey and travel safely!

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    1. I don't know which is more appreciated: Your kind sentiment or the elegance of its expression. A dilemma worth pondering accompanied by a couple more jelly beans, I think. But I don't have to wait to say thank you!

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  7. Sounds like you have the right approach, being practical on limitations makes sense, but take every chance to do something fun and adventurous. After all there is only one time around and I hope to be surprised and laughing when the end comes:))

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    1. I think you said with much more economy of words what I wrote with perhaps far too many. Thank you!

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  8. Mike you look great , so glad your feeling better,and going to see ed and gang in Hannibal.Safe travels and God bless you both .Bob here in Md

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    1. Thanks, Bob. It's going great, thankfully. We had a great time here in Hannibal; I'll be posting about it soon.

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