TGIF: Walking and Crafting

Hi everyone on this third Friday of November. I’m joining Paula Light for TGIF. How is your day going? Mine’s almost over, as it is 9PM as I type this.

I had a pretty good day. Have had an okay week in general anyway. Finally got down to creating my first actual polymer clay piece here at the new care home, a flower. Creating this simple piece took me about 45 minutes yesterday, including gathering my supplies, watching the tutorial, conditioning the clay, etc. The piece nearly got ruined when the staff took it off the tile to transfer it to an oven-safe mat, but thankfully she was able to put it back together. I initially didn’t want to cure the clay because, once cured, if a piece is ugly beyond sanding/buffing, all you can do is throw it in the trash. However, after some thought, I decided I wanted something tangible to remember my first actual claying session in the new care home by.

As those who’ve seen my creations from back at the old care home, will know, this one can’t compare to those. However, I feel judging from the fact that I haven’t been actually working with clay in a long while, I did an okay job.

I also went on several walks this past week. Haven’t met my step goal, insofar as I have one – those who know the Apple Watch, know its movement goal is calorie-based, not step-based -, but I have been doing an okay job overall. My movement goal, by the way, is easy to reach. My exercise goal, not so much. My monthly goal for November on the Apple Watch is to reach my daily exercise goal 23 out of 30 days. I reached my monthly goals for September and October – different goals – with ease, but am struggling with this one, because walking and dancing are my only ways of exercising here now that I don’t have my elliptical anymore. I could cheat by starting some ball game workout when throwing a ball with my staff, but that’s not fair.

Overall, this week is going okay with respect to my care. A slightly modified version of the day schedule I mentioned last Saturday got shoved down my throat once again on Tuesday, but thankfully, most staff are willing to take it with a grain of salt (or a whole bucket of salt).

Unfortunately, the situation had to get worse over the weekend before it got slightly better and the slightly better (ie. an okay week this week) might just be chance. I won’t disclose details of the, in my opinion, unacceptable care I received over the weekend.

I talked to an independent mediator about my care situation today (this is not a secret, all staff know I did). I won’t disclose what exactly we discussed, but we’re hoping to resolve the difficult care situation as peacefully as possible.

Here’s hoping you’ll all have a good weekend.

Gratitude List (September 30, 2022) #TToT

Good morning everyone! I was up at 7AM today and am ready to blog. Today, I am writing a gratitude list. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful I was able to break the cycle of compulsive exercising before it got too bad. Last Saturday, I didn’t meet my exercise goal on my Apple Watch and, now that I didn’t have a perfect month anyway, I was able to let go of the need to meet all my goals everyday and just do what feels good.

2. I am grateful for my health. I’ve been having a sore throat for a week or so. It isn’t bad, just slightly annoying. In this regard, I am grateful I don’t have COVID. And yes, even though I don’t have any other symptoms, I took a test on Sunday just in case.

3. I am grateful for a comforting talk with the manager for my current care home. She was able to answer some of my more important questions about the new care home.

4. I am grateful my husband was content with the new care home and quite happy to see me move in there. In his own words, it is a “significant improvement” over my current care home.

5. I am grateful for muesli rolls. On Tuesday, we couldn’t find anything to eat for lunch that I like, so my staff offered to drive to the supermarket. I chose muesli rolls, which aren’t what I usually have. I am grateful my staff felt that these were within reason so the care facility would pay for them.

6. I am grateful for blueberries. On the same trip to the supermarket, we bought blueberries too. They were still reasonably priced even though I think blueberry season is over here.

7. I am grateful for the support of my staff as I navigate the stress of transferring to the new care home. I still had some worries on Wednesday and even on Thursday after I’d made my decision, but my staff are able to support me through them. So is the behavior specialist.

8. I am grateful my sister reacted positively to me moving to the main institution. She, in fact, said she will now be able to visit more often, as the main institution is close to Apeldoorn, where her in-laws live. She enthusiastically planned a first visit for October 8, the Saturday after I move in.

9. I am grateful for a somewhat relaxed text convo with my mother. I informed her that I’m moving, to which surprisingly she reacted pretty supportively. She did put in a few comments about the possibility that I could learn to walk around grounds on my own (which I might at some point, but it isn’t a given) and that I could help prepare food, but oh well. Both of these comments wouldn’t have bothered me had they not come from her, actually.

10. I am grateful for some weight loss when I stepped onto the scales today. I lost 0.3kg compared to last week, which is pretty much what I’d expected.

What are you grateful for?

Being Active Is Making Me Happy

Hi everyone. Today I want to share all about my active week. I have truly been enjoying my Apple Watch and seeing my stats go up as I move. And of course being physically active is helping me feel better too.

First, last week, my Apple Watch told me that based on my activity level of the week before, I could up my movement goal from 300 to 330 active calories a day. This week, despite my having surpassed that new goal every single day, the stupid watch told me to keep my goal the same. However, there was a reason I was going to get it back to 300, which I will get to in a bit.

However, I first need to tell you about my major accomplishment yesterday: a nature walk! My husband came by for a visit to have lunch at Subway. After that though, he drove to a nearby nature reserve, where we went for a 2.5km walk. Although I did have my Apple Watch as well as my iPhone with me, the stupid watch’s GPS probably didn’t work (or it’s broken altogether), so it didn’t register my walk as a workout. This means I cannot check details such as average speed, hills climbed, etc. My husband did check his Garmin app though and we’d walked pretty fast and climbed a few hills.

I did go for several more walks yesterday. In total, I got in 163 exercise minutes yesterday, all by walking. I got in 122 today so far, which honestly is quite fabulous if you ask me. This does include 18 minutes on the elliptlcal.

Now on to why I’ve lowered my movement goal to 300 active calories a day. I am participating in a weekday challenge on an app called Challenges, hosted by the admins of an Apple Watch-related fitness group on Facebook. In the app, you earn points based on completion of your fitness goals. To allow for fair competition, daily movement goals are allocated individually based on weight and mine was 300, because I weigh 150lbs. Honestly, I’m pretty content with my place in the competition so far. Obviously, since the weekday challenge lasts until Friday, a lot can still change.

I am loving being this active again. It gives me a true mood boost. Of course, my cardio fitness level is still low, but I don’t worry about it as much as I used to. My husband did also point out that smartwatches are mostly purchased by physically active people, so “low” according to Apple may not say much. I did notice that I was huffing from that nature walk, while my husband, despite recently recovering from COVID, had no problem with the walk. Then again, before contracting the virus, he’d go for 6km runs without much training.

Tomorrow, a staff with whom I used to go on hour-long walks two summers ago, will be working my day activities shift. I did go for a 45-minute walk yesterday, so am tempted to try for such a long walk tomorrow. Even if I can’t though, I do have yesterday’s walk to prove that my physical fitness is returning to a better level.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 3, 2022)

Hi all on this beautiful first Saturday of September. I for whatever reason keep typing “July” rather than “September”. Maybe that’s me wishful thinking. Anyway, here’s my post for this week’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had my afternoon coffee, but the other clients are currently having theirs, so I bet there’s still some left for you. Let’s have a cup of coffee (or another drink, if you so prefer) and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d start out by asking about your weather. Ours is beautiful. Today, we’re supposed to get daytime temps of up to 27°C. On Monday, the temperature’s even forecast to rise to 30°C. I guess my husband was wrong a few weeks ago when he predicted that it’d get only colder from that point on.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about all the physical activity I got in this past week. I got in a total of 330 exercise minutes according to my Apple Watch this week so far, exercise being anything at least the intensity of a brisk walk. I guess this means I can up my goal from 20 minutes to at least 30 a day. Then again, I badly want to reach it everyday.

If we were having coffee, I would use the rest of this post to share the details I promised you all in yesterday’s post about the potential new care home. You see, on Thursday at 2PM, the behavior specialist came by my room. The appt had already been planned or so I believe, because of the situation I shared a few weeks ago about an application having been put in for me to live at a senior citizens’ home for the visually impaired, a place I don’t consider suitable. I knew from my care facility’s manager that she understood this place doesn’t sound suitable indeed and also that she had heard that the people at the main institution for my current care agency, with whom I’d met at the end of July, were pretty enthusiastic about me. However, the manager didn’t expect to hear anything from them until next week.

Well, as it turned out, my behavior specialist had planned a meeting with the behavior specialist whom I’d met in July as soon as she could, which was last Thursday. It turns out I am number one on the waiting list for a home at the main institution. The home caters primarily to people with moderate to severe intellectual disability with a need for intensive support due to additional problems such as autism, attachment issues, etc. The level of intellectual disability is significantly less severe than in my current home, so I can actually make smalltalk with the other residents. The staff offer help with activities of daily living (personal care) where needed. Each resident has their own day program. This means that residents aren’t required to go to the day center by default. In fact, some of the residents go some of the time, others ride their bikes around institution grounds, while still others can’t leave the home unsupervised.

I told my husband about this home and he immediately replied that it sounds perfect. Well, I said, that isn’t possible, but it does sound pretty good indeed.

Of course, I am on the wait list, so there currently isn’t an available room, but the behavior specialist said they are working towards finding a new home for one of the current residents. She said it might go quickly but it might still take six months or so. Well, if you ask me, even if it’s going to take six months, that’s still super quickly. That’d honestly mean I’d have found a place within the year from saying I want to find a more suitable home.

I will get an extensive orientation, getting to look around at least twice before I decide whether I want to move to this home. I am both nervous and excited. Mostly quite excited though. I’d read up about this home before and wished I could live here and now my dream might come true.

How have you been?

Things I Can Do to Improve My Physical Fitness

I had an intensely frustrating physical therapy appointment this morning. I told the physical therapist that, despite the semi-orthopedic shoes and the ankle-foot orthosis, I still walk with a drop foot after roughly 20 minutes of walking. She is going to bring my shoes and the AFO to the orthopedic shoemaker and the guy in charge of the AFO yet again, but I’m skeptical there’ll be a solution. I feel very frustrated that, a year to eighteen months ago, I could easily walk for an hour several times a day and now I struggle to walk for fifteen minutes. That, my staff later countered, may be related to my lack of physical fitness too. In other words, I need to build up stamina again. Now that I have nothing better to share, I am going to list ways in which I can improve my level of physical fitness.

1. Go on the elliptical for ten to fifteen minutes at a time three times a week. I used to try to go on the elliptical for 25 minutes at a time and aim for five times a week, but that’s not realistic right now. Besides, I hate that thing with a passion, so making myself go on it five times a week right away is guaranteed to fail.

2. Go for daily walks again. I have been avoiding walks because of the pain the AFO causes me as well as the hassle involved in trying to judge the weather, whether I need to wear sunscreen, etc. I really need to make daily walking a habit again, even if it’s only a ten-minute walk around the day center.

3. Throw a ball. This doesn’t necessarily strengthen my legs and it isn’t quite cardio level either, but any movement counts.

4. Weight training. I really need to get into the habit of doing weight lifting again, if only three rounds of ten a few times a week. This is arm training, since I cannot really do core training at all, but again, it will help me get to a higher physical fitness level.

5. Doing the exercises I originally did with the physical therapist for my back. I am not sure why I list these, but they can’t hurt.

Ultimately, I would really like to go to a gym at some point. The day center has a stationary bike too, but I’m not sure I can use that.

Do you have any suggestions as to ways for me to practise physical exercise?

Gratitude List (October 22, 2021) #TToT

Hi all on this mixed-bag Friday weather-wise. It’s cloudy with some rain, but the sun tries to peek through here and there too. I seem to have given up on the blogging challenges entirely, but I’m still attempting to write as often as I comfortably can. Today, I’m doing a gratitude list. I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) as usual. Here goes.

1. I am grateful my staff, the one who is on sick leave, was happy with her presents. Like I mentioned before, I gifted her a handmade soap, hand cream and bracelet. Another staff delivered it to her house as to allow me to save money on postage. The staff who is on sick leave, later texted the other staff an audio recorded message for me. It was so sweet!

2. I am grateful for my nurse practitioner and community psychiatric nurse. On Sunday, I landed in a bit of a crisis and E-mailed them, along with my assigned day activities staff and my support coordinator. My nurse practitioner responded on Monday. Though I felt like he was downplaying my crisis a little, my CPN later said that she at least felt that I was doing well because I asked for help.

3. I am grateful my GP takes me seriously. This really could’ve been a grateful for last week, but I forgot to mention it then. As regular readers of this blog might know, I’ve suffered with what doctors think is irritable bowel syndrome with constipation for years, but it’s gotten worse and somewhat different over the past nine months or so. I saw my GP about it a few weeks ago and he initially sent me home with orders for the staff to fill out a rating scale on my bowel movements. Boy, was it embarrassing having to ask the staff to look at my poop! Thankfully, it did show that I hadn’t been misguided about my symptoms. Last week, we went back with the rating scale and the doc examined me again. After discussing me with the gastroenterologist, he decided to refer me for an abdominal X-ray. It’s been scheduled for this coming Tuesday.

4. I am grateful for my husband’s ability to put things into perspective. I have been worried sick (no pun intended) about the possible outcome of said abdominal X-ray. My husband though said that, since I’ve been having symptoms for as long as he knows me, it’s not likely to be anything serious.

5. I am still grateful for topiramate. The increased dosage does seem to do something in the end. Last night, I had dreams about leaving the care facility, but they do not seem to affect me as much as they used to. I call that a win!

6. I am so grateful for one-on-one support. I cannot say this often enough. I am so very grateful my staff aren’t leaving me when I’m in crisis.

7. I am grateful the chili con carne I had for dinner yesterday was better than I expected. I hadn’t had meal delivery company chili in a while since it’s part of their fall/winter menu. However, I’d remembered it as dry rice with dry beans and a tiny bit of mince thrown in. To my surprise, they’d actually added some sauce and there was more mince in it than I expected.

8. I am grateful that the people who were installing blinds on my side of the building, are finally done doing so. Originally, only the other side of the building had blinds on the outside, but some of my fellow clients suffered badly from the sun shining through their windows during the day especially in summer. It took the company several weeks of installing the blinds and they had to be in each room to program them too. Thankfully, they programmed mine to manual, not automatic. Otherwise, if it’s sunny, the blinds will go down, then if a bit of wind blows they will go up, then down again, up again, etc. I’d rather keep them up and just draw the curtains when it’s sunny.

9. I am grateful that, when they were working on my blinds this afternoon, my one-on-one took me to the snoezelen® room at the day center. After all, the noise was quite unbearable. I loved lying on the waterbed while there was no-one in the adjacent room. So nice!

10. I am grateful I had the energy to go on the elliptical for over 30 minutes this afternoon. When I first stepped onto it, it felt as though I’d hardly manage 15 minutes, but I did pretty well.

What are you grateful for?

July 2021 Health and Wellness Update

Today, I’m not feeling too inspired to write. However, I said last month that I wanted to make health and wellness updates a monthly occurrence. Here goes.

Last month, I was worried about my kidney function. My nurse practitioner was since able to reassure me it was within the acceptable range. I since have stopped using the Water Reminder app, as it was being a bit of a nuisance having to fill out my fluid intake each time. However, I still make sure to drink plenty of water.

The fact that my kidney function is acceptable means I have been able to start the topiramate too. Thankfully, like I’ve said, I don’t experience any side effects.

I also found out last month that I don’t have a UTI. The doctor still isn’t sure what is causing my bladder pain. I for a while took the max dose of paracetamol plus naproxen twice daily. Thankfully, I have since been able to get the naproxen back to an as-needed prescription.

As of last Tuesday, my magnesium, which I’ve been taking for constipation for a few months now, has been upped. I myself thought I suffered with diarrhea, but my GP was able to see that it was a result of constipation really. I am really hoping this will work.

To be honest, with respect to lifestyle, I’m not too satisfied with how I’ve been doing over the past month. I am still struggling to make healthier breakfast and lunch choices. This week, I started having crackers for lunch, which I like far better than slices of bread. However, we didn’t have those until Wednesday and yesterday, we already had a special grill lunch.

I did make sure to eat some fruit at lunchtime each day as well as some slices of cucumber. Overall, combined with my relatively healthy choices from the meal delivery service menu, I did meet my five servings of fruit and veg each day.

I got weighed in again yesterday and, sadly, had gained 400 grams compared to last month. I am still within the acceptable to me weight range, but I do need to make sure I really watch my diet more carefully over the next month.

Exercise-wise, I’m not doing as well as I’d like to. I would really like to make it to 10K steps more regularly again. I do know the weather hasn’t been great, but I still have the elliptical and can dance in my room. I would also really like to make weight training a part of my routine again. That might take some more time though, as, well, I want so many things.

Overall, I feel okay about the things I can’t control, like the fact that my kidney function is within the acceptable range after all. However, I could really do better on things I can control, such as eating a healthier diet and exercising more.

A Perfect Health Day

I can’t remember when or why I bought the book 1000 Journal Prompts That Will Transform Your Health by Sophia Ley, but today, I felt myself drawn to it. In it, one of the prompts asks us to describe a perfect health day. Here goes.

I get up at 8:30AM. I start my day with prayer. This may not be a direct physical health habit, but it certainly helps me get in the right mindset for focusing my day on what’s right. I then get showered if it’s a day I do this or else I get a quick wash.

After I get dressed, I eat breakfast. I eat yogurt with a little crunchy muesli. This may not be the healthiest food choice physically, but it is something I definitely love and don’t really feel I want to give up on. I also eat some fruit.

After breakfast, I take a little break for writing in my journal and Bible reading. Then I go on the elliptical for 20 minutes. I’m assuming it’s a weekday. If it isn’t, I can go for my first walk instead, as my one-on-one will be there. In that case, I’ll go on the elliptical during the afternoon.

When my day activities staff arrives at 10:15AM, I have coffee. I don’t have a cookie with my morning coffee.

Then I go for a walk of about 25 to 30 minutes. After this, I usually will have some time left to do some of my crafting before my staff goes to help prepare lunch.

For lunch, I have two crackers or slices of bread with peanut butter or jelly. Again, these aren’t the healthiest food choices I can imagine, but way healthier than my current choices of lunch food on most days. I also have some slices of cucumber or some cherry tomatoes and a serving of fruit. I will have another serving of fruit in the evening.

After lunch, I will spend some time doing weight training and resistance band exercises. Then, when my staff returns from their lunch break, I’ll go for another 25-minute walk. Then I’ll have another cup of coffee, again with no biscuit.

I will spend the rest of the afternoon on my hobbies, such as blogging or reading. In the evening, I will go on two more walks with my one-on-one. In total, I will reach my goal of 10K steps.

I will have my evening meal from the meal delivery service as usual. For dessert, I will have a small serving of fruit yogurt.

In the evening, I will drink green tea rather than coffee. Throughout the day, I will also make sure I drink at least two liters of water. This means I will have a glass of water after each walk and with each meal, as well as with each medication round. I will obviously take my medications as prescribed. When it’s a perfect health day, I hope I won’t need my painkillers anymore, but that seems to be beyond my control.

I will brush my teeth twice a day, morning and evening. At 9:30PM, I will start to unwind for bed. I will say a prayer. Then, I will diffuse a relaxing essential oil blend and start a soothing sound track on Spotify. I will go to bed at around 10PM. I will probably fall asleep within half an hour and have a good quality of sleep.

Looking over this, some of these things seem relatively easy to include into my day. Some are harder. Of course, I didn’t take into account the possibility of a severely rainy day when I can hardly go for walks. I’ll have to think of alternative ways of getting active then.

A Wonderful Wednesday

Hi everyone. This is going to be a quick post. I am really pleased with myself right now. Today is a great day. The sun shone, the birds sang and I broke my daily step record!

In the morning, my day activities staff took me to the marketplace. We got fried fish for lunch. We also wanted to get fried chicken, but the poultry guy didn’t have that today. I also got cookie crumbs (yes, they’re a real thing). They were €2 a bag but two bags for €3, so I treated myself and got two bags. One of them, I already consumed. Then we walked to the supermarket to see if they had fried chicken and they did!

I also went on a walk before going to the marketplace. We went there by car and I didn’t look at my Fitbit until we were back. I wasn’t expecting to have gotten in many steps, but already had nearly 5,000 steps.

Then in the afternoon, my mother-in-law visited me. We went on over an hour’s walk together. The sun was shining brightly and it was really warm, about 24°C. I truly loved the birdsong, the ability to walk and the sunshine!

In the evening, I went on two more walks with my one-on-one. I got in over 19,000 steps, so just yet, I did a little dance just to get to 20,000 steps. That’s double my daily step goal. I broke my daily step record, which was at just over 17,000 on December 18, 2020.

I also got in 173 active heartrate zone minutes. I wasn’t really exercising for nearly three hours today, but the minutes I got in the cardio zone, count twice.

I did worry a little about my heartrate not returning to normal nearly as fast as my mother-in-law’s. Then again, she is of average build, while I am, as much as I hate to admit it, still obese. I’m trying not to worry too much, since my resting heartrate is still within the normal range.

Overall, today was a wonderful day! Unfortunately, the temperature is supposed to drop to a high of like 13°C tomorrow. It’s not supposed to rain though, so I can still walk. That is, if my muscles don’t ache all over.

Getting Active #WotW

Hi everyone. Today I’m joining in with Word of the Week. It’s been nearly a year since I last joined this linky, but today I’m inspired to. The idea is to sum up your week in a word or phrase. My phrase for this week is: getting active.

You see, last week I was still pretty badly under the weather. This week, though I’m not fully recovered, I’m getting back on track. Though I did walk most days last week, I didn’t get in any other exercise.

This week, so far, I reached my step goal of 10K steps a day each day. I am pretty motivated. Last week, my husband joked that I’d earn a Domino’s pizza for every five million steps I took. That’d take me about a year and a half if I reached my step goal each and every day. I don’t, of course, but I do meet the goal about three times a week on average. This week, five times, so far. I still marvel at the fact that, about three years ago, I merely dreamt about reaching my step goal a few days a week and considered it a sign of optimal physical health. This does show that, as much as I may think I’m deteriorating, at least with respect to physical activity, I’m not.

In addition to walking, I went on the elliptical both yesterday and today. I got in only about ten minutes each day, but that’s okay, considering I’m still not fully recovered from my cold. Yesterday, I listened to a Christian workout playlist. Today, I chose the Southern rock playlist I created some years back when I still went on the elliptical regularly. It was good to listen to my favorite song on that playlist, Jessico by the Kentucky Headhunters.

I also did some core training, ie. planking. I can do it for about ten seconds at a time, which isn’t much, but oh well. I know that if I continue to try, I’ll get better eventually.

Being able to be this physically active, truly boosts my confidence. I mean, I had to buy new clothes this past week and the jeans I ordered, seemed a bit tight at first. This caused me to feel rather self-conscious about being overweight. My staff though reassured me that jeans always fit tighter when you first buy them. Besides, though I’m overweight, at least I still have the exact same size I had about six years ago when I ordered my current favorite jeans, for which the new ones are a replacement. This means I’m not gaining weight.

Word of the Week linky