Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thoughts from a former minion

Five weeks after my husband Art's total knee replacement, we are almost back to our normal lives. He can't drive yet - probably will be given that permission when he sees his surgeon on Friday - but he is getting rides to most of his regular places, especially the early-morning ones. I watch him overdoing it and then paying the consequences, but I leave it alone. It's his recovery, after all. He has reduced his need for pain meds - only a couple of low-dosage pills a day now - and returned to our senior exercise class on Monday.

We've had house guests for the last two weeks. We have a daylight basement with a bedroom, living area and bath, and three sets of people have stayed there since July 5. We go about our lives, they go about theirs, sometimes sharing the kitchen or an occasional meal. The first couple, Ed and Jeri, live in North Carolina and spent a week with us, visiting their grown children in Seattle each day. The second set of visitors, Jamie and Dyan and girls, are family of our next door neighbors, whose smaller house couldn't accommodate everyone for sleeping. The third visitor, Joost, was a couch surfing teacher, originally from the Netherlands and currently working in Oman. Our house works out well for summer visitors to Seattle, and it returns the hospitality we experience when we travel at other times of the year - even though our guests are different people from our hosts. Check out Homelink and couchsurfing for these interesting arrangements. The last houseguest left on Thursday, we had one night of "just us", and now our 12-year-old granddaughters Mary and Malayne, just returned from a week of camp, will be with us for a week.

I am learning to pace myself.

As part of my "what's next" inquiry, I bought a book put out by Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel). It's called Master Class; the author is Peter Spiers. You can order it on Amazon here. The idea is that, for "living longer, stronger, and happier", the interviews they've done have revealed that people are most likely to achieve that state through a combination of socializing, moving, thinking, and creating. I'm thinking back to my first two post-retirement years - our group and individual travel, our exercise classes, our book. I guess I stumbled into the possibility of living longer, stronger, and happier, and I want to continue on that path.

What about the aches and pains? For some reason, I thought I'd be just fine, thanks, as I got older. And I am - except for the aches and pains. An old SI joint injury that acts up from time to time; twinges from an ankle I sprained badly a few years ago; annoyed feet from compressed nerves in my back from a bad sit last year. This year, part of me thought, well, I'll just wait until all these issues clear up. Then I'll get going again. It has now, finally, dawned on me that this is who I am now, with my particular aches and pains. It's time to move along, accepting them - maybe even embracing them - as part of the 63-year-old me.

It feels better, somehow, to have arrived at a place of near acceptance. And, as I said, I am learning to pace myself!






14 comments:

Barb said...

this is certainly the way I am with my knee-it will never be perfect so I have to learn to function as I am. I'm defintely gonna check out that books

Terra said...

We retired about the same time, and I love the retirement life. Keep busy and creative, as you say. I am glad your husband is doing well and soon able to drive again. I like your travel idea about being and having house guests.

DJan said...

Well, you have been through the worst of the minion experience. I must say my aches and pains are so much a part of me that I don't even notice them most of the time but would sure wonder if I woke up some day and they weren't there any more! :-)

Out on the prairie said...

Your gentle life sounds fun. The sharing of your home makes for unique conversations.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I am struggling a bit with this identity thing right now. Inactivity, forced by the injured leg, is causing added problems, mostly the reactivation of fibromyalgia. So everything huts. I need to move around, to exercise what I can, without injuring my left leg (or my right foot as I did the other day!). But I am not a young person tragically forced to move like an old person (as I sometimes think). I am a 69-year-old person trying to be a little stronger so I can get back some of the other aspects of me. Thanks for a great post.

Sandi said...

Wow, I don't know if I could have all those strangers in my house, although it sounds like you have a good set-up for it. I imagine it will be nice to have the granddaughters!

I sure know what you mean about the aches and pains. At 61 I am finally learning that I can't just sit around and wait to feel better. It isn't going to happen!

Thanks for sharing . . . I'm going to go do something now!

Sightings said...

I'm interested to hear about Art's progress. My sister got her new knee a little more than 2 wks. ago. She's progressing well -- she said she walked a mile today -- but is still in lots of pain. Nevertheless, she's already talking about getting her other knee done, so she must be happy with the results.

And, yeah, my knees hurt too. Not too bad, but there may come a time ...

Retired English Teacher said...

I think it takes a very special kind of person to have others stay with you as you have done. I don't know that I would be able to do that. Then again, it seems your house is set up better to accommodate than mine is.

I'm glad Art is moving along so well. He has sure done well with this recovery.

I know what you mean about the aches and pains. Some days are worse than others, but I find the best thing to do is to keep moving.

Arkansas Patti said...

So glad Art is doing so well. He must have stuck to the therapy and exercise. Usually those who don't do well, don't follow instructions.
You do learn to work around aches and pains and just accept your new companions. Things could be so much worse. Sally is right. Move it or lose it.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I'm so happy that Art is coming along well in his recovery from surgery. All those aches and pains are rather unexpected, aren't they? When I retired two years ago, I fantasized tap dancing my way through the months and years, not taking arthritic knees and feet into account. But, as you point out so well, we keep going, find new ways to be active and creative and enjoy life to the fullest. It sounds like you and Art are having a lovely retirement lifestyle!

Janette said...

I would love to open my house to house guests. So far my husband is only comfortable with family and friends. We have plenty of room!

Sounds like the knee is coming along. Tell Art to keep up the good work.

Ms Sparrow said...

I have long spells of aches and pains but, much as I hate the hot weather, it makes for a lot of pain-free days. I am loving that part of it--especially with the kids here.

busanalayali said...
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busanalayali said...
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