Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Find Your Own Pace

Last night was my first swimming class and it went fairly well. As suspected, the instructor wasn't stellar, but I wasn't exactly helping him out much either. Being in a new pool, wearing swim goggles for the first time, my fear of hitting my head on the gutter, and my usual panic because I don't know how to breathe when doing laps all played a part.

He literally had us jump into the deep end and start swimming. After doing two lengths of the pool (in my herky jerky -- when the heck do I breathe?) style, my heart was pounding out my chest. I actually had a little moment of panic, because I thought my blood sugar was plummeting. I had my Gatorade within reach on the pool deck, but once I caught my breathe, I felt much better. And never had that problem again.

He gave me pointers on things, but really nothing could be truly fixed until I mastered breathing, which he didn't go over.

So, after class I stayed at the pool for another hour and practiced what Janet Evan's suggests in her book, Total Swimming : blowing bubbles out of my nose while my face was under water. I did this for about ten minutes before it started to feel normal.

Then I realized that since I had never swum with goggles before, I was closing my eyes. So I practiced opening my eyes underwater. All of a sudden a world of tips and tricks opened up to me. That line on the bottom of the pool is for you to follow, and the "T" shaped mark at the end of the line warns you that the wall is approaching.

And then I spent 15 minutes teaching myself how to do a flip turn. I looked like an idiot, and I got water up my nose every time, but eventually I was able to swim to the wall, do a flip turn, and continue swimming. Success!! (Note: Out of the 6 other adults doing laps, I was the only one doing flip turns.)

Today I woke up relatively sore all over (especially in my upper back) but started the morning watching swimming videos on YouTube and learned a few more pointers that I look forward to putting in to practice.

Part of me wants to go back to the pool tonight to practice, but a bigger part of me knows it is smarter to rest up for tomorrow night.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Get Your Feet Wet

In my ongoing quest to improve my aerobic activity and to try new things, I have decided to take swimming lessons at a nearby community center. The price and location is right and I look forward to learning more so that I can add swimming to my week.

In addition to the classes, I have requested Janet Evan's book, Total Swimming, from the library. It includes various workouts and tips for improving.

I think I need to purchase a swim cap and goggles, but other than that I should be ready to go! Classes start September 24th but I might do some practice swims before then. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Find Your Way Back To Normal

On Sunday, I finally got the rush of energy that had been eluding me ever since my Mom's Total Hip Replacement surgery. It took 20 days to feel normal again. The only problem was, it was midnight. I tossed and turned and eventually moved to the guest room so my husband could have a chance at getting a good night's sleep.

Other signs I am feeling back to normal:

* Worked out for 15-60 minutes for the last 3 mornings
* Scheduled a massage
* Emailed/called friends
* Looked at job postings

and most importantly ...

With all the fetching I did for my Mom, my normal activity burn went up so much that I was having two low blood sugars a day (this happens on European vacations too). This got me thinking: I sit way too much. And so now that I am home full time again, I am trying to move around more. Sometimes I sit on the exercise ball when in front of the computer, or take frequent walking breaks and I've decided to add swimming lessons and other activities to my evenings. Activity generally makes me a happy person, so I can only imagine that more of it will make me even happier.

Note: At 3 weeks post-op my Mom is doing great. She can walk around the house unassisted most of the morning-afternoon and only uses the walker when tired. We have ventured outside most days and have even found a safe way to walk to one of her favorite restaurants.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Get The Right Tool

It's been almost 2 weeks since my Mom had her Total Hip Replacement (THR) surgery. There were a few bumps along the road, and she has a few more weeks of healing ahead of her, but it should be all smooth sailing now.

One of the major things I learned through this experience is to get the right tool for the job. But that sometimes you don't know what that tool is until you are actually in the thick of the situation.

For example, my Mom picked out her walker weeks before surgery. Because of this she was able to get one that was tall enough to fit her, and skinny enough to get through the doors of the condo. But she also needed a raised toilet seat, and something to use in her walk in shower. Her sister sent a raised toilet seat and Mom had some crazy idea that we could haul a lawn chair into the shower and then she would put the toilet seat on that chair so that she could take a shower safely. But I was having none of that.

After watching what the nurses used, a commode, I had the brilliant idea to just buy one of those, no matter the price. Turns it out it was only $60, was pre-assembled, and works great for both the toilet and the shower. It has been so great, I would have paid $1k for it.

So it's been a mixture of preparedness and adapting on the fly. And as I said, it seems to be working out well.

Thanks for all your happy thoughts and well wishes for my family.