Friday, January 13, 2017

Staying Grounded

"You've got to be tough to live this life!" ~ me, and many others

As an aging gardener living with a disability, tending to myself takes priority to tending to my garden. After breaking my leg over two years ago, I once again found myself in a position where I was losing my independence. The same independence with my personal care that I had fought to regain over 33 years ago, when I had first sustained my spinal cord injury. I knew the day would eventually come that I would experience this if I was lucky enough to grow old, but at 54, I wasn't quite ready mentally to rely on others for my care. I don't think that I really need to apologize for my absence from social media, because most of my followers know that a passion for gardening is lifelong, but I do have a responsibility to let everyone know where I've been. That said, have I quit gardening, as a few close friends have been wondering? Heck no!

Many know that I jumped back into physical therapy last February to regain strength and to work on stretching. After almost 9 months with my right leg in a cast/splint, my hip flexors, legs, back and almost everything else on my body tightened up to a point where for the first time, I've needed to take spasticity medication. I now jokingly admit that I went into outpatient rehab for a tuneup, and ended up needing an overhaul. Yes, even as active as I have been, I just wasn't getting enough of a cardio workout. The permanently torned ligament in my wrist hasn't helped, but it's something that I can and do live with.

Anyway, without too much excessive whining, I've found that getting back into tip top shape the second time around is a lot more exhausting than I can ever remember. I ache in areas that I never knew that I could feel and I often wonder will I ever get use to it? Thankfully, my sensation isn't as impaired as it once was. (Yeah, right!?) I am, I just have to tell myself this...

Knowing that my 60 visits of physical therapy (I was lucky to have that many allowable visits!) were coming to an end, I had to come up with a means to continue strengthening and getting a decent cardio workout at home. I was stoked to learn that the same advance technology that I've used successfully in rehab, was also available for home use. I wasn't thrilled with the price, but my medical team and I could medically justify it as necessary. I was thrilled when I learned that my private insurance approved my claim, only to tell me over a month after my purchase, that it was approved in error. (Yes, seriously!)

The durable medical equipment provider that I relied on for submitting a 'clean' claim, billed in error. They might as well had lit fireworks around my claim when they gave the insurance company an opportunity to change their minds when they resubmitted the corrected claim. Almost half of my debt had been resolved, now this magician must somehow win an appeal over what was an approved claim. Never before in 33 years have I had to deal with such non-sense. My strengthening will cost them less, but then again if I die from the lack of it, they'll pay less. Hmmmm... Not right, not ethical, and basically immoral. All qualities these companies seem to lack.

In addition to my workout at home, I've also taken advantage of our town's great senior center, staff and fitness machines. It's kind of cool being the young gal for a change! I also took a few adaptive yoga classes over the winter with a local adaptive sports program. All things that I'm fortunate enough to have close by and within my community!

You've got to be tough to live this life. Shouldn't the fight be towards getting stronger, becoming healthier, and encouraging others to do the same? Two of my friends are now cycling and I've had the joy of connecting with others who are also benefitting from using Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) cycling and other advanced technologies. Anyway, I will appeal and appeal again and again and put my frustration towards my workout. And in the mean time, since our greens have partially bolted and are damaged from 2 nights of freezing temperatures, I will plan our Spring garden.