Day Eleven came with something completely unexpected, a state of depression. Now, I have said it plenty of times through the previous blog’s, I have seen many post-operative patients who will often talk during their PT sessions about how difficult it is being home injured and recovering. Many times I have talked patients through the process of keeping themselves busy, doing any and all things that are safe for their recovery of surgery, just so that they can feel “productive.”
I completely underestimated the mental debilitation that occurs when you are down-recovering. I feel like I need to call 16 years-worth of patients and apologize for any interaction that I may have had with them in the past years that may have come across as insincere when they have brought this topic up during treatment! I also have realized through this process how much I get-back from being a productive member of our Team at ProAction Physical Therapy. Treating patients, helping them achieve their goals, coaching them to a more improved functional state, leading our Team/Staff at the clinic, well, it has become obvious that it “Feeds Me” spiritually and emotionally. I know through this process that God is working on my Heart and Soul as much as He is healing my shoulder.
So, with the need to continue to drive myself personally and emotionally, I have found that it is important to me to contribute as much as I possibly can with one non-dominant arm, around the house with light chores. My wife, Tamsie, has accused me of being a “Norwegian Mule,” not paying attention to her requests for me to stay down and not compromise the repair. Still, I have to keep moving and feel like I am contributing something to the day-to-day requirements of the house.
This process has given me a completely new appreciation for reaching out to friends and family that have undergone surgery too. It has meant more to me than I can explain when a friend or family member has called to “check in” and see how things are going and how I am doing day-to-day. One of my ski-buddies, Ed, stopped in to visit the other day and share a quick cup of coffee. Another friend, Bruce, swung by the clinic during my PT appointment to check in and see how I was moving. Others have dropped multiple texts and phone calls, all just to say that they are thinking about how it is going. To this I am more than grateful, and as well has taught me the valuable lesson of how we contribute to each other in our World! Never underestimate the value of a phone call to someone that crosses your mind!
Have you ever had one of these moments?
You’re on the treadmill at the gym, and prompted to enter in your age to calculate your optimum heart rate. And you can’t believe the number you just keyed in. Where did the time go, and weren’t you just rocking out at that Fleetwood Mac or Rolling Stones concert? Your kids and grandkids see graying hair and age spots, but you walk around feeling like you’re the same rebel you’ve always been.
Yes, it happens to everyone!
If you think about it, aging is a gift. Racking up birthdays is a privilege denied to many. So the real fountain of youth isn’t found in skin creams, hair dyes or pills. Health is the real wealth in life, the real key to vitality and energy and the spring in your step. And a healthy attitude goes a long way in building a healthy body!
Aspire to be a “Super Ager”
At one time, popular wisdom held that disease and disability were a natural part of aging. It’s true that getting older does increase our risk of health issues. But many people live active lives full of purpose well into their older years. Look no further to those scientists call, “super agers,” people in their eighties and nineties with brainpower and physical attributes that seem far younger than their advanced years.
Live Long and Prosper: Take these Steps and Go the Distance
Get regular exercise. Older adults who exercise regularly report fewer problems with overall health and mobility. They also report lower health care costs than seniors who aren’t physically active. Water activities like swimming can be great options for older adults. Water exercise has been shown to help with disabilities and improve quality of life. Exercise can maintain or improve older women’s bone health. And it can be beneficial for people with arthritis and chronic illnesses. You don’t have to join a pricey gym, just get out and walk.
Eat healthy foods. Be sure to include whole grains, fruits, vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned), lowfat dairy and lean protein such as beans, peas and fish in your diet. Limit foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat. Limit alcoholic intake and drink plenty of water.
Stay connected with others. People who stay active with their family and community show symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease later than those who have less outside contact. Join a club, attend a new church, or invite new neighbors to dinner to make new friends.
Find a purpose. Taking part in productive activities also builds emotional and physical health. Studies show that volunteering can help a person feel happier and more confident about life. It is especially helpful in older adults. If transportation is an issue, find another way. Consider volunteer work that you could do by phone or computer in your home.
Get help. For both mental and physical ailments. Mentally, depression is common among older adults. Don’t ignore the signs. A loss of interest in favorite activities, feelings of worthlessness and lack of energy can mean you may need to talk to someone who can give some direction. Be sure you have a strong support system for times when you’re feeling down. Physically, things do have a tendency to break-down as we get older, do not ignore symptoms and warning signs. Consult your physician about your concerns and seek treatment if necessary.
Serving the Snohomish county area, ProAction Physical Therapy helps people stay active and enjoying the life they want...and deserve.