July 11, 2018

She Ain't Heavy - She's My Best Friend



This week I took Linda to the park near our home. It was the first time we have been there together for many months. We were both stoked.

We hiked/rolled through the woods along a short wheelchair accessible trail. The trail is doable, but rough. I had to balance Linda on the back two wheels of her chair so the front wheels didn't get caught in the gravel. 

It is an awkward way to go.

This balancing act while moving along the trail is difficult to do, which might be why I have never seen anyone else in a wheelchair on this trail. Unless one is on pavement, there are bound to be challenges, and there is no pavement to be seen here.

We took breaks along the way to admire the brooks (two of them), and the trees and plants of the Acadian Forest surrounding us. It was very beautiful, and if I didn't get breaks I would surely die of heat exhaustion, or even just plain exhaustion.

Each time we would stop till the biting insects found us, then it was run/roll away again to escape the swarming, hungry hoards of biters.

I was beat, bleeding and battered, but determined. I was going to get my best friend to the scenic waterfall at the end of the trail, and I did.

In my opinion, the trail was much longer and steeper than last time we were on it. And Linda surely was much heavier. Or was it me? 

Age has a way of changing things, and I wondered how long I could continue doing strenuous hikes like this. And it is not just hiking, but all my care giving duties that I ponder from time to time. 

Will I eventually get too frail, like when I am 90-something? Or 100 something?

I know from past hiking experiences, the first time out is not when one should assess one's overall hiking fitness. True to form, by the time we got back to the parking lot, I felt much better, and by the next day I was fully (more or less) recovered.

But I sure did sleep good that night, happily worn out, and content in the knowledge that I could still get my best friend out there. She loved it, and so did I. We are looking forward to a repeat performance some time soon. 

While we still can. 






12 comments:

  1. You are a prince in my book. How wonderful that you took Linda through the woods and mosquitoes to see that lovely view for her to enjoy. Caregiving can be very difficult, especially as we get older. I ponder it often and think about how we'll care for not only each other, but this house. Small as it is, there's a lot of maintenance that goes with it. I think about condo life often...or maybe even a motor home.

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    1. "Prince Gregg" does have a certain ring to it, but even princes (and billionaires) must endure the ravages of time. Old age is one of those things that our youth oriented (or is that youth worshiping?) societies don't talk about much, if ever.

      If we are lucky, all of us will eventually get there, but most will be unprepared for the realities of living to a ripe old age. We all need a plan of some sort.

      I like your motor home idea - good until your driver licence is revoked. Speaking of which - we got our van back from the mechanic (I don't really want to talk about that), and we are planning on doing some camping this summer and fall.

      More nature for Linda, then in a couple of years we may go vehicle-free.

      Thank you for your kind comment. This prince has to go and get Linda out of bed and ready for the day. She has a dentist appt. Not as much fun as the hike, but we will get down to the waterfront in town, and that is always nice.

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  2. That photo of Linda looks very healing. Keep on rocking, you two. :)

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    1. Erin,

      It is a beautiful spot that we didn't know about until after we moved in to our current location 4 years ago. Very generous local landowners, as well as community volunteers, made this little gem of a trail possible. It feels like it is in our back yard.

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  3. Anonymous7/11/2018

    Definitely don't judge your fitness on the first hike of the season! No doubt you have been house bound and not moving as much as you would in the warmer weather. At times I too have thought, crikey, I'm getting weak! Usually when I haven't had to haul firewood for 6 months! But as we get into Winter former fitness and strength returns. I read that when Scott Nearing (The Good Life) felt too weak to haul firewood any more he simply stopped eating and passed away a month later at the age of 100. Interesting choice from a man who remained autonomous right until the end.

    Madeleine.x

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    Replies
    1. Madeleine,

      Scott Nearing! What a way to go, and at 100. That is quite the inspirational simple living story. Respect.

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    2. Scott Nearing -- Oh yes!

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    3. goodlife.org There's a video on posted on this website that explains Scott Nearing's economic views.

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  4. How wonderful that Linda got a good dose of nature. It can heal parts of us in ways that no doctor ever can. As for the caregiver challenges, I can feel your pain. I'm facing taking care of a quickly declining Mom, while facing my own physical challenges that make it hard to care for myself. I admit to being more than a bit discouraged lately. Maybe I need to at least get out on the porch more often.

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    Replies
    1. Marla,

      Caregiving, while personally satisfying, can be difficult. And there is a lot of caregiving going on out there, amounting to an unpaid economy of many billions of dollars. Since it is unpaid, we don't hear so much about it, and its importance is understated. But everything functions on giving activities such as these.

      Your mother is so fortunate to have a daughter such as yourself, but sometimes the caregiver needs a caregiver. Do you have any home care support? I have not accessed any here, but foresee a day when I will need to take advantage of this help.

      Winters here can be long, indoor affairs, but in the summer we get out more. However, we usually don't go far - our favourite place to hang outside is at our raised garage door. When we sit there together we get a good view, a dose of sun, breezes, warmth, smells of flowers and growing things, and lots of bird action.

      Get out to that porch of yours. Are your groundhogs still around? We see ours fairly often since they have been quite active this year (but NOT in our garden, thankfully). I have also hung a hummingbird feeder in a window so that we can see it from inside our home. Such beautiful little creatures, but they sure do guard that feeder from competitors.

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    2. We were all set up to start some in home care for the both of us, but Mom backed out at the last minute. It's not easy to let strangers into your home, more so when you are 84. She knows the time is coming when we will have no choice, but she wasn't ready yet. Learning to go at her pace has been an important lesson for me to learn.

      Sadly our neighbor had a trapper come in for the groundhogs and we haven't had any new ones this year. It baffles me when she didn't have a garden or anything that was in danger, but some people can't appreciate all creatures great and small. The same neighbor wanted someone to kill a black snake that was visiting for while. I explained that he ate the mice that can destroy a mobile home, so she relented.

      Thinking of you both often.

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    3. Marla,

      Linda and I are also not fussy about having our little sanctuary invaded, however well intentioned the helpers may be. We love our life right now, as it is, and we cherish our independence. We will hang in there as long as we can, like your mom. As long as help is available when it is required. It is nice to know it is there.

      Sorry about the groundhogs. They are so much fun to watch. Glad the snake lived.

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