Walks by the river and raking leaves

Lately, this virtuous girlie has fallen by the wayside a little Sad

About a year ago, mother in law came to live with us after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

We didn’t expect her to be living with us for very long, but a year later, she’s still here and shows no signs of leaving anytime soon Grin BUT, she has in the past four months been diagnosed with vascular dementia and her mental deterioration has been scary and rapid.

A recent infection has also caused a steep decline in health and in memory, function, mobility, etc, etc. It’s making life quite stressful here at home and we have learned to take each day as it comes.

Two and a half weeks ago, my step-dad had a stroke. He and my Mum live locally – about 12 miles away, and my Mum was already struggling a little because he has Alzheimer’s.
Whilst his physical recovery has been pretty good, the stroke and subsequent two week hospital stay did nothing to help his mental state.  He became quite aggressive, confused, argumentative. Didn’t like being in hospital and didn’t understand why he was there. The effect on my Mum (79 years old) hasn’t been good. She has her own health issues, a lot of pain, doesn’t sleep well, etc.

She’s become a bit more forgetful and has been struggling emotionally with my step-dads variable state of mind and plans for his return home. He was discharged yesterday, and things seem to be ok (so far!)

Our wonderful oak tree, devoid
of its leaves in December last year

I think I might be forgiven for having put my exercise regime a little to one side…..

So why the reference to walking by the river and sweeping leaves?
We have a lovely garden here and one which we enjoy spending time in, both relaxing and working. We grow a few vegetables and we are both sun worshippers.  Over the summer months and because we’ve been denied a holiday this year, we’ve spent a lot of time outside.

The centrepiece of the garden is an enormous oak tree. It’s beautiful, but this time of year, it’s a full-time job to sweep the leaves that fall from its branches.

With my improved health and mobility, I have been enjoying working in the garden over the Summer. Now the weather is more autumnal, I enjoy going out there with a rake and raking leaves. I love being outside, I love seeing the results of my labour. I wear my HRM and I earn myself exercise calories. It’s nicer than being inside the confines of the garage gym! AND I achieve something, as well as earning calories. I see the bags filled with all those leaves that I have swept. I know that tomorrow, there will be more leaves to sweep, but I don’t mind! That’s my exercise planned for tomorrow (as long as it’s dry!)

Today, I asked hubbie if he’d come down to the river with me and walk. We drove down to the banks of the Thames. I had donned my heart rate monitor and trainers. It was a bright sunny afternoon and the meadow alongside the river was full of people exercising. Men playing football, people walking dogs, people rowing and kayaking down the river, people walking, cycling…..

The River Thames, and a beautiful spot for a walk along the river bank

And me!!! I was walking! I was walking and enjoying it. There were benches dotted along the path, and I was impressing myself by pushing myself to walk past the next bench and to the one that followed. We walked up and back down the river bank, enjoying the sounds of the river, watching the ducks and geese, the dogs chasing balls and sticks.
THIS is what it has all been about and why this journey has so been worth it. It’s not just about the thinner, smaller me who can now buy clothes in “regular” shops. It’s about walking hand in hand with my hubbie along the riverbank. We are taking time out of our caring responsibilities and giving ourselves some “me” time. We are getting fresh air and exercise and I am earning myself some calories.

I am just loving these everyday things that so many people take for granted and which for so many, many years have been denied to me because I had allowed myself to become overweight and unfit.

Well watch this space!  This is just the beginning!!


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