Thursday, Nov. 16, 2006
Dear Diary:

Curiosity?

Cat?

Anyone?

The guys got one of the trainers to order these insanely heavy 20 pound ankle weights for the gym. What the official use for them might be, I don't know. When I saw the guys clustered around them on Monday I knew nothing good could come of it, and yet I just had to see what they were up to.

My curiosity will be the death of me.

Paul strapped them around his ankles and did pull-ups. The strain of lifting an extra 40 pounds on top of his body weight made every vein in his face and neck explode. Right there, that should have been a clue for me.

I wandered off to do my new gym routine, what we will delicately call a derrière day. Oh yes, the dreaded pancake butt has returned with a vengeance, an occupational hazard for a woman of my august years who spends a large part of her day parked at a keyboard.

First up – step ups. I took a 20 pound weight in each hand and stepped up on a platform and then stepped down, leading 12 times with my left leg and then 12 times with my right leg. That was one set, and I had three to do. Oh yes, the gym is all about excitement.

One of the guys challenged me that I couldn't do that with the 20 pound ankle weights attached to … wait, hold on, I bet you can't guess … yep, my ankles!

Was I going to admit that I could not do that?

Oh, puh-LEESE.

So I walked over, strapped the weights on to my ankles and then went to walk back over to the stepper. The guys had made walking with 20 pound ankle weights on look simple, of course, BECAUSE THEY ARE UNSPEAKABLY CRUEL HUMAN BEINGS WHO LIKE TO MAKE FUN OF ME.

Fine.

How to describe my gait back to the stepper? Hrm ... Well, first off, we can discard the word "walk". The word "walk" connotes fluid motion. The only way I could move my legs with that much weight on my ankles was to either do an insanely goofy sort of marching move, hauling knees high … or ... I could do a sort of Bride of Frankenstein lurching dealie.

I did the Bride o' Frankenstein to the stepper. I heard the guys desperately trying to suppress chortles at the sight of me doing this. I resolutely ignored said chortles. Since a knees high, marching motion was quite possible, I did manage to finish the step portion of the gym routine.

If I had half a brain, right then and there I would have peeled off the weights and walked away, point made, a few tiny shreds of dignity still intact. But alas, it appears that when I walk through the doors of my gym all my upper brain functions shut down and I run on the more primitive levels.

Frankly, I blame it on all the testosterone in the air.

So then the guys challenged me to do my whole routine wearing the weights. It's a challenging routine that involves two kinds of kickbacks, some lateral leg raises and culminates in squats.

Have I mentioned the words "if I had half a brain"?

Why yes, yes I have.

The fact that I proceeded to do the rest of my workout, lurching from station to station with those obscenely heavy weights strapped to my ankles, pretty much indicates how stupid I can be. But I did the routine. Barely.

And now, as I write this, I wince because my buttal region ... oh, how to put this. My buttal region is way beyond hurt. It throbs, and not in a good way. Sitting is unbearable. It hurts to lie down. This is three days after the fact.

I have broken my butt. And, because I have broken my butt and would like nothing better than to spend a day wallowing in self-pity and pacing, the week has turned out to be The Week I Will Have to Sit A Lot.

Tuesday I drove 45 minutes to the vet to take Enid in because she has a sore on her lip that won't heal. Then I raced back to the nursing home where my mom-in-law is, parked Enid in her cat carrier on their porch, and got my mom-in-law to a doctor's appointment.

I had been particularly dreading this appointment because my mom-in-law has been in deep denial over her cancer and its eventual outcome. She has had day long hysterical crying jags over something as simple as worrying about whether or not I'll have home made chicken soup in the fridge for her when she comes home. These jags have been breaking down her physical health.

No amount of soothing, reassurance or reasoning from family or the folks that run the convalescent home have been able to snap her out of it. Stress? You want stress? Watch the damaged spirit of someone you love break down a fragile body.

It's time to get my mom-in-law to a professional, a psychologist, someone who's trained to help people deal with The Big Elephant In The Room They Don't Want To Acknowledge. The thing is, my mom-in-law is in her 80's and for her generation psychologists are For The Crazy. Her reasoning runs that if she goes to see one then that would be tantamount to saying she is crazy.

If she doesn't deal with The Big Elephant In The Room She Doesn't Want To Acknowledge, then she greatly erodes both the quality and the amount of time she has left to live.

I had hoped our family doctor, who she trusts and adores, could convince her that seeing a psychologist was not a sign of Teh Cuh-ray-zee. He told her it would be helpful, but he also told her it was her choice whether or not to use the service. I think we all know what that means.

The icing on the cake? Even though she can't walk more than about 30 steps, she's convinced the doctor that she would be better off at home and has informed us all she's returning Saturday.

I have phoned her former social worker to get government support running—under our Quebec health insurance plan we can have respite caregivers come in to give the family a break, people to help with her hygiene and a registered nurse twice a week to make sure she's healthy.

That loud smooching sound would be me kissing my health insurance card.

But she's not the only sick elderly person in our area and there are 14 people ahead of her who need to be assessed first before help kicks in. If she was alone, they'd rocket her to the top of the list, but she's not, so it's going to be a busy two weeks for our family.

Part of me wants to run around waving my arms and screaming, "I'm not ready for this." Part of me is laughing because it's kind of funny. There's this itsy bitsy, four foot something 83-year-old woman with a will of iron. She sets that tiny little jaw of hers, yells at her 50-something and 60-something-year-old sons who all tower over her, and utterly browbeats them.

I sweartogawd, the earth will fall off its axis sooner than my mother-in-law's wishes will be thwarted.

For thirty five years now I have watched The Master and Studied Her Ways. If a four foot something woman can bend her world to her wishes, imagine what a woman who pushes six feet could do, if she wanted to?

Fear me.

--Marn

Mileage on the Marnometer: 700.93 miles. 10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck
Oh, man, but I am having a hard time building back stamina. Ouch.


Goal for 2006: 1,250 miles - 2000 kilometers



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