But the fact of the matter is that I AM doing it, or at least I have been doing it since December 27, a one mile walk around Lynn Circle (the circular street I live on in a senior complex and measured by driving my car around it to make sure I wasn’t stretching the truth when I said I walk a mile.)
Actually, I am doing it because as I was going through some tests to see if I did or didn’t have Pulmonary Hypertension, the pulmonologist asked me if I exercised. How I hated to tell him that I did not, that I never had, that I didn’t enjoy it even one bit, and would only do it under duress. Instead, I said, “Doc, to be honest with you my exercise is limited to making my eyes go back and forth over a written page.” He got a chuckle out of that and I listened carefully to him just in case he was going to tell me I should do it. But he didn’t. He simply went on with his testing, and finally I got the evaluation back that ruled out PH, much to my delight and relief.
And it was then that I decided I’d take on a self-inflicted regimen to walk every day, my way of saying “thank you” to whatever powers that be that I am healthy, or at least a lot healthier than I thought I was during the last few years!
But for me, it’s not a simple job of just walking out the door and heading down the road. I have to be prepared! Since it is winter, I am dressed warmly. In my left jacket pocket I have a pack of Kleenex, my house keys, two Hall’s Breezers (for my dry mouth) and my cell phone. In my right pocket I have my ID card, my little digital camera, my gloves and my iPod. On my iPod I use the Stopwatch function to see how long it has taken me to walk the mile, and then through my ear buds I listen either to a Chicago album or a Cal Tjader Jazz album. I pump the music loudly into my ears, rationalizing that if I turn it up loud enough I won’t even realize I am doing something I don’t like to do.
I try not to stop. (One of the tests for PH is how far you can walk before you have to stop and gasp for breath.) I begrudge a shoelace coming untied or a nose that needs wiping from the cold air – I find I can do neither of those with stopping and removing my gloves – but I do understand that this stop has nothing to do with my breathing! I DO NOT begrudge stopping to stare at a Cooper’s Hawk that is sitting in a tree adjacent to Lynn Circle, watching some nearby crows. (He was there again today so I stopped to get my camera out, only to realize that the battery was being recharged at home! RATS!!)
The only other time I have willingly embarked on a walking program was when back in 1980 Jer and I decided we were taking a retirement vacation early and going to Egypt, Jordan and Israel for 3 weeks. I didn’t want to miss out on anything when we arrived, least of all scrambling up the pyramids, so for 6 months we walked every morning to get ourselves in shape. I have no such motivation any more, except, when I let myself think about it, perhaps the motivation this time is keeping myself alive in a healthier condition. My dad died at 93; I hope I don’t live that long but if I have inherited that gene from my dad, I sure want to be in decent health!