Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Test for the Teacher

Well folks, it's been three weeks since my last blog post. There is a reason for my silence. I have been gradually re-entering my usual, every-day, normal life. I've got to be honest here, I've been worried about how I would handle this time since I had my accident. Now that the weekend before I go back to work full-time is here, I am still feeling unsure and worried about how this is all going to go.

In the past two weeks, I have worked three full time days. Two of the days were all-day meetings. I had worked at home for five full days to prepare for these meetings. They were mentally challenging, but I thought I would be physically fine, since I was sitting all day. Surprisingly, I was both mentally and physically exhausted afterwards. I felt that it was difficult to drive the two miles home. The third day at work, I had a morning meeting, and then worked in my classroom in the afternoon. The afternoon was more typical of a regular day. I sat and worked at my desk and at my teaching table, but also got up every few minutes and walked to various places in the room and the school. By 2:00, I was having throbbing pain in my leg and feeling fatigued. I stayed until 4:00, and was really tired by the time I went home. I put my leg up at home, but it continued to throb well into the night.

Frustratingly, during the past week and a half, I also contracted an infection. The infection was not in my leg. I had fever, chills, cramping, general malaise; and required a week's worth of antibiotic. My body does not love medications, and antibiotics usually make me feel as poorly as the infection. I did not exercise beyond my twice-a-week therapy sessions during the infection. I just didn't feel up to it.

On the positive side, my therapy continues to go very well. My leg is able to bend to its full capacity again. I am pain-free in the knee when I get up in the morning. Now that my knee is feeling better, I was noticing that the ankle on the bad leg was bothering me. The therapist informed me that I sprained the ankle during the fall, and it was inflamed. She has given me two treatments on the ankle, and it is feeling like it is calming down. I am using all the leg machines at the gym now, and increasing the weight I am moving. I have been riding the bike for three miles with resistance now.

Twice this week, in an effort to regain my strength and to prepare for returning to work, I went shopping. I needed to get my wristwatch fixed, and then discovered I needed a new watch. Shopping for a watch was an eight store trip until I found one I liked that fit my wrist.

I feel really good when I am sitting at home with the leg up, and I wanted to see how I would fare when walking on a concrete floor. The answer is, I can only walk on concrete for a short time before the leg starts to hurt. I am still somewhat weak, and have to sit down and rest frequently. This worries me, as it is similar to what I will be experiencing when I am back at work.

Throughout these days, I have fallen off my streak of tracking my food. I have been conscientious in making my food choices, but I have not been tracking. My weight loss has flat-lined since my surgery, just hovering in the same place. I have not been drinking the water I know I need. I have not been spending the time in the gym that I did before the surgery.

Since I started this lifestyle change journey at the beginning of summer, I have always felt that the true test would be the choices I made once I had returned to work. The exhaustion I have felt, combined with the general malaise from the infection and the hours spent at work or working from home has derailed my efforts. My biggest worry is here. My mojo has taken a nosedive. The running start I hoped to have before I went back to work has slowed to a crawl.

This week will be a big test for the teacher. Not only do I return to work for five full-time days, with students, and after-school meetings, and bus duty; but I also have a date with the therapist and another with the surgeon during the week. Additionally, I have my husband's birthday, and the knitting group I started seven years ago. My calendar overfloweth.

How I react to all this activity will make a big difference in how I feel about myself and my commitment to this lifestyle. It will be a challenge, to be sure. I am resolving to track my food every day. I am going to drink water while I am working. I have a plan to have some gym time at least twice on my own, along with one trip with the therapist. I am planning healthy meals for the week and making sure that I have the ingredients at the ready. I am placing healthy snacks within reach at work.

Wish me luck! I'll give you my test score at the end of the week!

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