By Christopher Green
I imagine a lot of friends, family members and the curious who frequent this blog are wondering where I have been for the past few months. Outside of the one brief post back about a month ago explaining that I was slogging through my 23rd year of preparing tax returns, I have been silent. For that, I apologize.
It was my intention from the start to not be like so many other bloggers who start out with a flurry and then quickly discover that it is not as easy as it seems – this blogging thing. Writing something even mildly engaging that isn’t repetitive takes dedication to the art as well as to the readers.
A few people did contact me to see if I was all right and others must have just chalked up my lack of posting to blog fatigue that, I understand, can, and often does, derail even the most earnest of bloggers.
Anyway, nothing terrible or even mildly bad happened. On the contrary, all is, given the circumstance, well.
I had a very successful and uneventful tax season this year. In fact, it was one of the best seasons I have had in years. Utilizing the US Mail far more this year than most allowed me to minimize my contact with those who may have been under the weather. And since, for me, at least, there is no such thing as a “common” cold; I remain healthy.
Feeling so well that right this moment, I am typing this blog entry at a desk in a hotel in, of all places, Lafayette, Indiana. We traveled here to the home of Purdue, the university not the chicken, to celebrate my niece’s impending marriage. Since my last full post was put on line on Valentine’s Day, it is somewhat ironic, don’t you think, that I am posting again when love is in the air.
So I guess the question at hand is how am I doing?
I can honestly say that I am feeling better than I have in a very long time. Since I started in on a rigorous, well for me, weight lifting schedule in December, I have trimmed inches off my waist, added a few to my chest and the result is I no longer resemble the Pillsbury Dough boy. Perhaps the croissant Dough Boy.
I have also been able to ride my stationary bike for at least 15-20 most every day. On more than a few days, I cycled far past 20 minutes and once I made it all the way to 37 minutes. And today, on the recumbent cycle here at the Marriot, I went 35 minutes. I could have done more but my O2 tank, not me, ran out of gas
The results speak for themselves. I have more energy, sleep better and my concentration has been higher now than anytime I can remember.
I have not been this consistent with an exercise regime since the mid 80’s when I replaced my addiction to alcohol with what can only be described as an addiction to fitness. I pursued health in a very unhealthy manner. I was obsessed and so, as these things go, when I no longer felt the urge to drink or otherwise fog my mind, I went to seed.
I really let myself go. Zoomed up to almost 250 lbs. To put things in perspective, I now weigh around 175.
This time, since I have been going at it in a slow, steady and sane manner, I actually feel as if I am embarking on a lifelong fitness program that will only be derailed if and when I suffer another devastating bout of respiratory illness. Even then, I believe I will be able to pick up my regime when health permits.
So what has been happening health wise? Back on March 1st, I had another day of testing at the clinic. Most notably, another six-minute walk. My performance dropped slightly from my really good December numbers, but certainly not enough to cause anything more than a mild concern on the part of Dr. Budev.
I actually increased my distance in the 6-minute walk by almost 200 feet, but I did have to turn on the Oxygen much sooner. If you remember the last time, I went through the 6 minutes without the need of any Oxygen.
I had a few congestive episodes in January and February, but I was far from being sick.
The only thing that changed was that I know have added cough medicine to my daily regime. I take one teaspoon in the late afternoon before I get ready to exercise. This suppresses the coughing reflex and enables me to get through an exercise session.
I cannot tell you how many times I have cut short my exercising because of a coughing fit.
Given my history of substance abuse, I was worried about the addictive nature of cough medicine as well as the painkillers I have been taking for more than a year now, but to tell you the truth, I am ready to take that chance.
People that I have known for a very long time remember quite clearly that I swilled massive amounts liquor and drugs in my heyday of debauchery. I must have built up a pretty high level of tolerance for the mind-altering side effect part of these mild prescriptions. In my wild days, I would have swallowed a fist full of pills or chug a whole bottle of cough medicine to come down with a respectable buzz.
Now, not so much.
Since I have neither the energy, nor the cash to start doctor shopping or even buying this stuff on the open market, I am positive I can manage these meds. After all, I am not Rush Limbaugh with virtually unlimited amounts of cash to chase down black market prescriptions and or shady doctors.
These prescriptions have become just another part of my drug regime that is now filling up three different pill containers. One for heart meds, one to manage lung related symptoms and the third for the over the counter vitamins and expectorants that tweak my body’s immune system.
What I did find most interesting is that Dr. Budev agreed with Dr. Sharma who just two weeks before urged me not to lose much more weight even though I am still considered borderline obese when using the BMI measurement. I would like to settle in at a 36’ waist; that is now a realistic goal.
I think they both believe that I need a little extra padding in case I find myself in a situation where my body needs to use the stored fat for energy. In case you don’t remember from a previous post, back in 2004 I was medicated into a drug induced semi-coma state when a particularly nasty strain of pneumonia almost struck me down. From what I gather, that extra blubber I was toting around with me actually saved me.
Both doctors have warned me that the next time this happens, notice they didn’t say IF, that extra padding could very well save my life again. Now at certain times in my life, I would have taken that and ran with it, laying down that the spare tire was there because of doctor’s orders.
But now, as I face my mortality head on, I want to look fabulous for once in my life. Believe you me I am not, I repeat not going to go overboard, but for once in my life I want to look better than I feel. I will stick it out when I get all my pants down to a 36’ waist, even if it means my tummy would still be six inches bigger than my inseam. I am 53, after all, not 25.
So here’s to the new, slimmer, healthier and pain muted me.