Feed the Tree – Belly
I was tempted to call this post “Weak legs”, but that would have diminished, by association, my last (“Strong arms”) post. And that’s something I sincerely don’t want to do. But weak legs is what I have. I wake every morning and lie flat, stretching my calf and thigh muscles, which are stiff and achy like I’ve done some serious exercise I haven’t done. For the first few minutes after I get up I feel pin legged and awkward, walking to the bathroom on unbending wooden limbs.
I love the moment when the hot water hits me as I step into the shower. Except that I’m always a little nervous the steam will unstick the dressing over the catheter in my chest. Last week when I went for my tests, I casually flicked the ends of the tubes out of my shirt and the entire dressing collapsed. Fortunately, the nurse was there to put it all back together. I really don’t want that to happen at home as I’d have to go through a whole palaver of sterilising the skin before I could redress it. I don’t know for certain that the steam of the shower is responsible, but I have enough suspicion to make me nervous. The other underwhelming feature of the shower is the sensation of water on bald head, which is not as good as water on hair. I don’t know when my hair is going to come back. No sign yet. If anything, there are parts of my body (without going into too much detail – though by saying that I kind of already have) where I’m still losing it. Too much information?
The upside of the shower though, which outweighs all the negatives, is that the heat unlocks my leg muscles.
I’m trying to strengthen my legs every day, loosen my back, gently push my stamina, and by so doing keep fatigue at bay. I thoroughly intend to return to the physical condition I was in before this insane charade started. Today, I walk right round the park. That’s about a mile and a half. The blossom is coming out on the trees, and the daffodils are opening up. It’s quite lovely, though I still have to wear my hat. The downhills are easier than the uphills, but the whole experience is more liberation than tribulation. During the walk, my legs feel fine, but I’m conscious of other muscles – those which are still learning to relax and let my spine be straight. This is a progressive experience. My back locked up badly again the last few nights I spent in hospital (because I felt crap and didn’t get out of bed). A week ago I was loosening up the muscles around my shoulders. A few days ago it was the muscles around my abdomen. Today, it is the muscles across the front of my pelvis. My muscles are clearly used to me walking more apelike, and less manlike.
Day by day, I’m going through my very own ascent of man:
Another day in my life. I wish me many more like this.