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Best day ever!

Friday, January 22, 2016



Best Day Ever.

Today is my 60th birthday.

On my birthday a year ago today, after dinner and a movie with my sister, I came home to workers who were re-tiling my bathroom. The tiler asked me to check out the work so far. I OK'd it, and as I was walking back out, he asked me to look at the shower bench that he and his boss had built for me. I took a step back to look at the shower, and my right leg went through a hole in the floor the tiler had forgotten to cover with wood. The tiler (two tacos short of a combo plate), asked me what he should do. I said, as calmly as I could, PULL ME OUT. So he and his boss pulled me out.

The tiler, who was not supposed to be at my house this late at night, told me he had a few more hours of work to do, and I looked at him amazed, totally in shock and hurting, and said, you are kidding, right? His boss (who is a great guy) immediately said, we will leave now, but first tell me what can I could do to help you. I was hurting and crying. I asked him to please go get me a walker from the garage, just in case. That knee had a replacement, and I thought I had just irritated the replacement. I lay down on my bed as soon as they left. I slept poorly, and when the sun rose, I got up and assessed my now very badly bruised leg. I knew this was more than a tweak.

I drove myself to the local hospital's emergency room at 6 am, and asked the guard at the door to please park my car. (He grumbled, but saw my pain, and grudgingly got someone to park my car.) After X-rays, I was told I had fractured my knee. The left side of the knee was no longer attached to the knee. The ER Doctor put a gigantic brace on me, and asked me to get my ride. I said, I drove myself, and would be driving myself home. She didn't like that at all, but I told her I just had a short drive, and wasn't calling anyone at 7 am for a ride. I called my knee surgeon later, and found out that she was no longer doing surgery, and got a referral. Enter Dr. Jay Johnson. I met with him, and after he saw my x-rays, he scheduled me for surgery the next time he was operating, under a week later.

Johnson put two big screws in my knee, underneath the kneecap, through muscle, holding the left side to the right side of my knee. Because I had to re-grow the bone where I had the fracture, I was forbidden to walk for a minimum of two months, while I re-grew cartilage over the fractured area. I was in a care center for a month, then another month-and-a-half at home, all in a wheelchair.

I lived alone, so I had to figure out how to do everything from a wheelchair myself once I got home. I found a wonderful grocery delivery that was great about bringing groceries to my kitchen counter. I made one rule for myself during this time, I could not order any food from the grocery delivery that was not good for me. I started walking again about April 15. I started physical therapy about two weeks after that. I joined Spark on May 10.

My goal, when I started Spark, was just to be able to take a physical hit better than I had, and to get in better shape. I started tracking my food every day, and I was really on my way. I continued physical therapy for 8 more weeks, and started to do stretching and exercises at home every single morning. I didn't set up my Sparkpage for a while, as I didn't really understand the importance of the community then. (I wish Spark had a page for newcomers, and a "welcome packet" with all the information you need on how to get started on it. It is one thing that could and should be improved about this website.)

My goals became clearer as I went on through last summer, and continued to do well. Even though I still had screws in my knee, and it hurt, I started going to classes at the YMCA. After I lost more weight and gained more confidence, I put on a swimsuit and started swimming there. I continued to ride a bike for bad knees.

I defined my goals this Fall -- to be in the best shape of my life by my 60th birthday, January 22, 2016. I also wanted to have my house in order, and to be happy with everything in my life. I easily attained the first part. The house isn't perfect yet, but I have made remarkable progress, using Marie Kondo's book, and her premise about everything you own "sparking joy". *

I have found happiness and joy in everything. I am THRILLED to be 60-years-old, feeling as good as I do, and to be delighted with my life.

I am having the right knee replacement replaced this upcoming Tuesday. The knee has been a struggle for a year, has never stopped hurting, and the old replacement is causing way more hurt than it should. I am really glad to be getting this done, as I think of it as the last hurdle in my journey, I began exactly one year ago today.

This year would have passed no matter what. Each day would have passed no matter what. Instead of eating my way through the year, I found a way to have pride in myself, to love exercise, to find ways to eat clean every day. I have cut out all bread, all processed foods, all sugar, and pretty much, if it isn't whole grains, fruits, vegetables or lean turkey or salmon, I don't eat it. Best of all, I can't think of one single thing that I miss eating. If I want something, I find a low calorie alternative. I just don't crave anything anymore.

I highly recommend a year like mine. We never know what will cause a shift in our thinking. What this journey has taught me, though, is that we all can make changes, no matter the circumstances, and we all can work through anything, if we want it badly enough. Even more, positive life changes have a dramatic impact on happiness. It shouldn't affect relationships, but it does, just because it is more fun to be around someone who is happy about everything.

My parents will call a little later this morning and sing "Happy Birthday" to me. They have done this for as long as I can remember, and it is always awesome. They are awesome. I am so lucky my parents are still around to celebrate this milestone with me, even through a phone line. I am having lunch with my BF, and dinner with my darling Daughter. I am meeting a couple of friends for coffee. I have a busy day, and am still going to yoga this morning, and walking in the pool. All fun, NO CAKE!! Fresh berries, maybe!

I'm looking forward to all the years after this one, because I know I will be happy, healthy and roaring downhill like spring runoff in a beautiful raging river.

Aside from the birth-day of my darling Daughter, this just might be my best day ever.

Spark on.

*The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
By Marie Kondo
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