Part 6-the final look back
In the final years of my father’s life, he was on a bunch of medications—like 17 or 18 different meds. Most were for various ailments he was dealing with; others were to counteract the side effects of some of those medications. Some he had to take a certain amount of time before eating, some a certain amount of time after eating, some in the morning, afternoon, night. I think for some you had to be facing East and standing on one foot . . . I don’t know all the requirements.
He had a clipboard with a chart where he would record blood sugar and BP, then watch the time, fill in when he took the med, then calculate when he would take the next one, when he could eat, how long he had to wait, etc, etc. It seems like the better part of his day was spent calculating his next dose. One time while visiting, he wrote his numbers in a block on his chart, then looked at me and teased, “someday this will be you.”
Once we were back home from Florida and I had recovered, I began my weight-lifting and cardio routines again. I wasn’t surprised I had to start with lower weights than what I lifted before, but I was surprised by how much. It didn’t help that my workout routine had been a bit scattered during the winter before I got sick. Then the illness and recovery took weeks. We had work done in our basement, which is where the workout equipment is, making the equipment unavailable for a while. Add to that my appetite recovery and overindulgence and, while I wasn’t Jabba the Hutt, I wasn’t in the shape I desired, either.
I’d often heard that to keep up with a workout routine, you had to enjoy what you were doing. I had always enjoyed walking and running, so that was no problem. However, in my younger days, I’d never have pictured myself lifting weights. Now, I so enjoy it. I look forward to my workout days. I’m excited when I can add weight to the bar and still lift it a few times. I love watching the numbers increase—the weight, the reps, the sets. It makes me wonder just how far I can take it.
I’m still working to get back to the level I was a year ago, though I’m getting close to those past highs. My intention is to meet and push well beyond them. I look forward to the day I max out what I have and must buy more weight plates.
I’m not looking to be a professional weightlifter, to compete, or to wander the beach kicking sand into the faces of skinny weaklings. I can’t even imagine myself on stage in a skimpy bathing suit, shaved and oiled, flexing for a bunch of people. I do like being strong and healthy and flexible. And, as I’ve said before, part of my motivation is to show that age does not have to equal decline.
My father was part of the inspiration for me to do what I need to stay healthy. He had to deal with a lot. I think of him often while I’m working out. And it turns out he was right, at least partly. When I finish a routine, I go to my clipboard with my chart to fill in my numbers.