Then there is exercise. Bodies need to move.
I thought that joining a gym was the answer for me. I was dedicated and went 3-4 times a week faithfully. I did weight training. I walked and ran on the treadmill. I pedaled on the stationary bikes, huffing and puffing all the way. I was so proud of my progress and I lost exactly ZERO pounds in four months. Then came the holidays and a nasty (pre-COVID) respiratory infection that left me coughing for two months. When I finally recovered I started back exercising. It was like starting over from the first day. I had lost so much strength and endurance in that short time.
Then there was COVID.
I increased my walking. I tried some online exercise classes doing yoga and Pilates. I tried outdoor group exercise and nearly fainted in the Florida heat. From there on out I reserved my exercise to mornings and evenings. I finally found something that I enjoyed: jumping rope. No expensive equipment required, no crazy time commitments or complicated routines. I would take my dog to the park for a walk, then go in one of the tennis courts and let her run around while I listened to some peppy tunes and got jumping. I quit my gym as I felt like I couldn’t breathe while exercising with a mask on.
All was well until I pulled a muscle in my back. I had to go back to walking. It took a couple of weeks before I felt well enough to consider getting back to jumping rope. Well I never did get restarted because one night while navigating back from the bathroom in the dark I whacked my foot on a footstool and broke a toe. (What are toes for? Geolocation of furniture in the dark!).
Again it took a few weeks before my toe felt stable enough to exercise again. In the meanwhile I still had a few knots in my back so I made an appointment with a massage therapist. As it turns out there were no muscle knots and the massage therapist suggested that maybe something was a little out of alignment. I had been considering going to a chiropractor so I want ahead and made an appointment.
The day after I had had called to make that appointment was a very busy day at work. There were so many procedures that needed to be done. My coworkers and I decided to just power through and get a bite to eat between cases. During the next to the last procedure of the day I was rushing around trying to administer medication to my patient, then get out of the room as quickly as possible for the next scan when I tripped over the power cord to the ventilator and fell. I can imagine that, from the control room window, it must have looked like a cartoon disappearing act: there one second, gone the next, sucked into an imaginary hole in the floor. One of my coworkers rushed in and helped pull me to my feet.
I dusted myself off. I felt okay. I had banged my hands and knees but seemed to be fine otherwise. I continued to work and we finished the last procedure of the day. That was when I noticed I couldn’t straighten my arm out, and that it hurt to try to put gloves on, or rotate my wrist. I packed up my bags and went across the hall to the ER to get checked out. A speedy two hours later I was splinted from my wrist to my upper arm in what felt increasingly like a python over the next several days, and diagnosed with a minor fracture of the elbow.
The following week I was able to get the python removed and start the painful process of moving my elbow and wrist, to hopefully regain full range of motion. In the meanwhile I had my first visit with the chiropractor who sent me for x rays of my back, and then a follow up visit where I found out that I had fractured vertebrae.
You know that whole thing about when life gives you lemons? Recent events have made it clear that I can no longer kick doors (see “The Door Needed Kicking”) so I am going to have to resort to chucking the lemons back!
Being a nurse has it’s hazard, but usually they are not fractured bones. One of those hazards is that you are always trying to figure out why injuries and illness happen and what you can do about it. I won’t run down the list that ran through my mind, because it won’t help you or me to engage in endless speculation.
The only light in this personal series of unfortunate events is that an MRI revealed that I have only ONE vertebral fracture, so I am not in imminent danger of disintegration.
So much for exercise. Stay tuned for the further adventures in the pursuit of health and wellbeing.