The “Reboot” continues… (Part 3 of 3)

If you are jumping into this series in the middle, things will make a lot more sense if you go back and read the entries from the beginning of this month:

or if you like to play it fast and loose, here is the brief “update” to kinda sorta bring you up to speed:

[ Cue the deep voiced dude who does the voice-over . . . ]

Game of FitnessPreviously on the “Game of Fitness…” 

Our intrepid adventurer had begun a reboot of his journey to health and fitness:

  • He went for a walk in the park on day one
  • He rested and prepared for an upcoming visit to the doctor’s office on day two
  • On day three he went for a walk in the park
  • On day four he visited the doctor for the first time in almost 3 years

Then, oh fair readers, oh WOE!  WAIL!  Weeep!  Witness the tragedy that unfolded next . . .

Our intrepid adventurer was LAID LOW by the vileest of deviltry!  He pulled a  muscle that made it difficult to do just about anything, even sitting was painful!

Performing “the activity that shall not be named…” was but an impossible dream!

But fear not, time has passed and healed our hero’s wound.

Today marks a new beginning, a return to the path of light and enlightenment…  Our hero will triumph!  Our hero will prevail!  Our hero will . . .

Ok, ok, enough with the voice over dude already!   You have to forgive him, folks, he doesn’t get out much.  🙂

The good news!

The good newsis that the muscle-pull in my lower abdomen has healed up.  It is still a little sore, but I can now walk down the hallway in my apartment without holding onto the walls and grunting in pain with every step.

So this week, here are my “activity” goals — those things which will raise my heart rate high enough and tax my respiratory systems to such a degree that by any definition in the book it qualifies as exerc—  ahem “the activity that shall not be named!”   😉

Goals for the week:

  • Mon — Go on a “grocery shopping” trip to Braums and do 1 basket of laundry (two light loads)
  • Tue — Go for a walk in the park near my apartment
  • Wed — Rest
  • Thu — Go for a walk in the park near my apartment
  • Fri — Go sell some books at Half Priced Books and do 1 basket of laundry (two light loads)
  • Sat — Go for a walk in the park (or rest — depends on how my body is feeling)
  • Sun — complete rest — no strenuous activity at all — no computer work — nothing but watch movies or read… just relax

Before anyone laughs aloud at my list one must recall that at my present level of fitness these mundane tasks and very light levels of exertions, are for me, major challenges.

Allow me to elaborate by picking up where I left off  “in the series” . . .

At the end of the Part Two on 5/7/2014 — Sharing with the World: “Stuff that makes me Blush…” (Part 2 of 3) . . .

Fork in the road. . . a thought occurred to me . . .

. . . a thought so amazing, insightful and revelatory, that I simply MUST share it with you:

“I have no choice”

More precisely —  I *DO* have a choice,

But, given the two options facing me, making the choice is very very easy:

I am standing at a fork in the road:

One path leads to a fit, healthy, happy dancing me.

The other path leads to a horrible miserable shadow of a life, one with an eventual heart attack, stroke, or something just as dire and one that that well, uhmmm, eventually results in early death.

Perhaps, dearest readers, the seriousness of where I find myself at this moment in my life is becoming clear?

Yeah, it kinda WHAPPED me over the head like the proverbial ton of bricks too!

Not to put too fine a point on it, but coming to this realization has basically scared the living shit out of me!  It has!

Let me tell you, it is not an easy thing to look into the mirror and see your own mortality starring back at you giggling with anticipation at snipping off your thread of life early.

Well folks I was at that fork in the road on Friday night, May 2nd.  And I made my choice.

On Saturday, the 3rd, I took the first step down the path to dancing, and fitness and health.  Literally, I took a step, out my door and took a walk in the park.

Even though I’ve made my choice about which path I’m following from now on, is still a scary tentative kinda thing because the roads have not diverged very far…   YET.

Let’s Recap…

On Four days earlier this month, before my “injury” temporarily sidelined me…

Sat, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

I performed Roughly “Four tasks”

  1. Walk in the park;
  2. Do four loads of laundry;
  3. Walk in the park,;
  4. Shave, trim beard, shower, get dressed, go to the doctors for a “meet & greet the new doc and get my prescriptions renewed” visit.

When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound like much does it?  I mean this is the kind of routine boring stuff that folks around the world do every single day.

No big deal.  Right?

au contraire!!!!

To drive the point home…  Here is the briefest, most non-drama, non-“Tony-story”-version that I can give you.

Here is what happened as a result of this “sequence of activity” of the first four days  I give you “The facts, jus da facts…”

  • Saturday the 3rd was not too much of a problem.  I was sore after my walk but I recognized the “soreness” as the “good” kind of soreness that happens when you challenge your body to improve its fitness levels.  It was a signal that my body was beginning to make the necessary adjustments.
  • On Sunday the 4th, I did four loads of laundry.  Very small, very light loads because carrying a heavy load up and down the stairs to the laundry room is not possible right now.To my embarrassment, because of the “walk the day before” I found myself unable to finish the laundry without help.I had to ask my room mate to get the final load of laundry from the laundry room in the complex on Sunday because I truly did not think I could make it down the stairs, to laundry room and back up the stairs.  I hurt that badly.  My muscles were that fluttery and that trembling.  Load #3 had pushed me to my limits.
  • On Monday the 5th,  (read the blog entry for the “drama-meant to amuse and entertain version” if you like — it is entertaining)  but the real life scary as shit version is:
    • When I started my walk, my muscles were trembling and I almost didn’t do the walk. — but by all the Fitness Gods! I was determined that I was going to achieve the goal I had set which was to walk.  I set the damned goal and I was going to do it.  Even if I had to cut the distance from 1/2 mile to a 1/4 mile or less, I was going to move my butt in the direction of the damned park!
    • At the end of the “walk” on the climb up the stairs to my apartment, I could not take more than two steps in sequence.  I had to rest, leaning on the handrail of the stairs every two steps because I could not take a third.
    • After reaching the top of the stairs, walking the final few steps to the door I was grimacing in real pain.  Not just a little twinge, but full on stabs of hurt from the lower back.  My hand was shaking as I inserted the key into the lock.
  • Tuesday the 6th…  I shaved, trimmed the beard, showered, got dressed and went to and from the doctors office
    • (Note the following was written late on May 6th which why the tense changes from past to present for this section)At almost midnight, almost 12 hours after leaving the doctor’s office I just (without intending to… grunted as a muscle in my back twinged and then let out this long drawn out exhalation of breath.  Yes, as I write this I’m in pain.  Not as much as I was earlier, but I am in pain.
    • The doctor’s visit of course involved disrobing and robing and laying on the “table” for an EKG and all the other twisting and bending and all the “usual” “routine” movements involved in going to a doctor for the first time.  Nothing out of the ordinary on that score.  Very typical.  Normal.
    • I got up this morning at six am to download and fill out the forms, shower, shave, change, gather medical information, etc.  I left my apartment at 9:45 to drive to the doctors office which put me there about 1/2 our before my appointment.  I checked in, paid my copay, answered some questions from the front desk clerk.  Sat in the waiting room for a little while.  My doctor’s appointment was at 10:45.  I got back to my apartment about two hours later.  The culmination of all the movement involved in getting ready for the appointment, driving to the appointment, going through the examination, driving back, and climbing up the stairs to the apartment, well produced a dramatic physical effect.
    • When I got home, I barely made it inside.  I was having difficulty walking because, my lower back and my lower abs were having spasms.I collapsed into my desk chair in my bedroom.It hurt just to sit.  It hurt so much that it was impossible to sit still. I stood back up.  It hurt. I tried laying down to see if that would help and it didn’t.  It hurt worse.

      So I tried to get out of bed.  It hurt so much to use the muscles that I literally could not pull my self upright; I had to kind of roll off the bed and get my feet under me in order to stand, bent over in pain. Standing straight up produced a loud groan of pain.

      I read once that the reasons humans make sounds when we are in pain is in order to enlist the aide of other humans.  Wild animals generally will not make sounds when they are injured because it alerts potential predators that there is easy prey in the vicinity.   Humans and the social animals which we have domesticated like dogs, etc will make noise to alert the others in the social group that they need help. What this means is that if there are no others in the social group present, generally the social animal “humans” will not make sounds even when in pain.  Therefore, when a human is alone and cries out in pain, it is a sure sign that the trauma is severe.

      Standing hurt.  Sitting hurt.  A lot. I eventually  propped some pillows up on the bed and “sat” on the bed leaning back into the pillows.  I was able to relieve the pressure and allow the muscles to disengage by sitting on the bed in a reclined position.

      By this time it was around 3pm.  As soon as the muscles were able to stop supporting my body, I fell asleep and did not wake up until around 8pm when I heard my room mate come home.

      I was able to get out of bed and actually felt a LOT better.I guess my body knew what it was doing when effectively it made me “pass out” and go to sleep in order to rest and recover.  I got up without too much trouble and sat at my desk and did some stuff on the computer for about half an hour.  Then myroom mate knocked on my bedroom door wanting to “know how the doctor’s visit went”.Knowing that my story was going to produce a conversation lasting a while and also because I wanted to hear from him how a situation at work he’s been dealing with had turned out I said “Let’s go into the living room.”   He turned and headed down the hallway…

      I tried to stand up.  And.  I.  Could.  Not.  Stand.

      I couldn’t.  I tried.  I really tried.  I tried pushing on the arms of my chair to assist, but I simply could not make my body do what I wanted it to do!!!!! 

      The simple act of standing up and getting me out of my chair was impossible.  I called out to my room mate; when he came back to my room, I held out my hand and laughing, said “help me up.”  He laughed, I laughed.  He helped me get out of my chair and we both went into the living room and talked for a while.

Mark your calendar… Because for once, I’m being serious . . .




Folks, I know that I tend to be the “drama queen of the universe” here on this blog, because well, it’s funny and it is entertaining.

And truth be known, there is actually quite a bit of “drama queen” in my not-blogging-real-world “in the flesh” personality.

But here on the blog, I tend to deliberately emphasize it more than I do in person. It is a carefully thought out, stylistic writing choice.  See?  “I haz a smarts!”

But folks, there’s no drama to be found, not right now.  Not in describing this situation.  Not in trying to convey to you readers just how bad things are for me right now.

My inner drama queen is in complete agreement with me.  This is a time to be serious; I am not joking in any way.

So, for the record —  write it down on your calendars! I am as serious as you will ever probably see me either in person, or on this blog, when I say…

My fitness level is abysmal!

Not being able to do something as simple as standing up out of my chair without assistance is scary as shit!

Being in this situation, I find it very natural and easy for me to slide into “blaming myself” but I am not going to fall into that trap.  I am going to look forward, not back.  If I do look back it is only to learn from mistakes, not to wallow in self blame or self pity.  Because . . .

It doesn’t really matter HOW or WHY I am where I am, at this moment. 

It doesn’t matter where I’ve been.  What matters is where I am now, and where I’m going!

The fact on the ground is that four days of quote-unquote “normal activities” produced a situation where I could not stand up.  That definitely gets ones attention.

How is not important.  That I am here, now, at a terribly low level of fitness and health IS important.

THAT is what is relevant.  THAT is what is important.

And “here” is a very awful place that I do not want to be.

The truly terrifying thing is that I KNOW.  I mean, I really really really really KNOW that it could be WORSE!

Don’t believe me?  Do a quick Google search.  You’ll find hundreds of photos and stories of people for whom it IS worse!  Yes, people in worse physical shape than Moi!

Putting it all in perspective . . .

Let’s do a mental exercise in order to put it this whole thing into perspective using a sliding scale made up by little ole me . . .

happy laundryMost of the people in the world
including a lot of you fine folks reading this right now find . . .

. . . doing a bit of laundry or going to get milk and bread at the corner store to be . . .

. . . ordinary, “no big deal”

Then there is “me” and folks like me who are horribly out of shape who find these simple tasks to be…

laundry day… the equivalent of a 2 hour workout combining weight lifting and cardio
pushing to the LIMIT of one’s physical abilities…

… and then there are people in worse levels of health, who literally are so out of shape that
they need wheelchairs and motor scooters to move from place to place because
they can no longer support their own weight.

u turn to fitness

————————- and then there is death by “unhealthy”

Folks I am not going further down that sliding scale.  I’ve gone far enough thank you very much!

This is where I stop and turn around.

Why?  Because I feel as if I’m on the edge of an abyss . . .

On the edge of a giant canyon, on one of those narrow ridges jutting out into the air, coming to a sharp point of rock overhanging the space below it  Looking down you would glimpse only a distant and tiny sliver of water winding its way along the bottom.  The proverbial wind is blowing and I feel that one false step, one wrong move, will send me plummeting past the point of no return.

But on the bright side…

Starting Line (CC)And trust me, in spite of it all, I really am a “glass half full kind of guy”

I’ve gone to the doctor.

My meds are all renewed except one which I’m arguing with the insurance company about…

I am now back under a doctor’s care for the physical stuff

I will be getting a referral for a med check and evaluation with a Psychiatrist

I have begun an exercise regimen.  And I’m sticking to it.  At the end of each “exercise” I’m setting a goal for the next one.  My next exercise is “today” and it is some domestic chores.

Every day since the beginning of the month, I’ve chosen 3 or 4 “tasks” and I’ve done them.  Domestic chore things really some requiring movement and some that are “computer” things that I can do while sitting, but the point being that I’ve not just listed them.  I put a time next to them and made a “schedule for the day of them”  AND … applause, please… I’ve actually carried out most of them — 90% of them approximately.

To be literary about it…

I’ve taken the first few steps down the path toward physical & mental health, fitness, dancing, and generally getting my life back on track.  I’ve taken a few hesitant steps back away from the edge of the abyss.

The wind is still blowing and a mis-step is a real possibility but at least I have begun.  We are at the beginning of the beginning.

To paraphrase Bilbo Baggins, garden gates are dangerous things.  You don’t know where you’ll end up when you go through them…

I just looked up the actual quote… The Interwebz is an amazing thing:

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

So there you have it.  My humble attempt to describe in no uncertain terms “where I am” so that when I get where I am going I can look back and say “Wow!  I’ve come a long way.”

And so that when I say “I did laundry today” you, my dearest readers, (and the two distant cousins who read this blog) can understand that this is no mere household chore being done, it is an achievement deserving of applause and congratulations!

See ya on the dance floor (eventually)




About TxCowboyDancer

Professional Dance Instructor teaching Country, Ballroom, Swing, Latin and Line Dance. Eleven time Country Dance World Champion.

Posted on Sun, May 18, 2014, in Misc. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Tony!
    Welcome back! I’ve been waiting to hear how you’ve been doing. So happy to hear you’re healing and willing to get back on your journey.

    Great job at getting us up to speed on your story WOW… I can’t imagine being in your shoes (well they probably wouldn’t fit :o). It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out for the world to see and I admire your determination. You go buddy! Clap…Clap…Clap…Clap…

    With that kind of determination and persistence you WILL succeed! You are an inspiration to us all.



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