And He Can't Get Up

My powers are fading. I've been pushing myself since June, running faster and farther every day. It wasn't until a few people made comments and I found myself punching a new hole in my belt that I was brave enough to get on a scale and see that I'd dropped about 20-25 pounds. But it's now Winter, and I'm in that triangle of over eating and indulgence. Even worse, I can't walk as far at lunch because it's freezing. On Thursday, the sun was shining and it was bearable, until just one tiny cloud obscured it from view, and the temperature dipped drastically. Still, I've been running 6 miles almost every day, so it shouldn't make a difference if I don't walk as far on my lunch break. I suppose eating a quarter gallon of ice cream in a bowl of milk with cereal and granola bars the night before does make a difference. Why does my mom buy so much ice cream this time of year and hardly any during the Summer? I'm guessing the prices are better.

I really felt the effects of my dietary abuse on Wednesday evening. It was cold in the gym, and perhaps psychologically I was thinking about the insane dessert I'd had on Tuesday night. After about ten minutes, I felt like I wanted to go to sleep. I was yawning and cold and my muscles didn't want to move. I took it down to a walk, though I probably should have kept running faster as I normally do. Raising my heartrate would have warmed me up and woken me up. I ended up only running about 2.5 miles and staying on there for a half hour, then I switched to a stationary bike and did a little over 6 miles in 20 minutes. Both were well below my average, and I skipped dessert on Wednesday. On Thursday I ran 3.25 miles in the same time and didn't feel the same sense of molasses that I had the night before. I need to remember that feeling, and either skip the ice cream entirely, or learn to eat small portions in moderation without all those other toppings.

I can't blame my mom for taking advantage of bargains and getting us treats in the process. She's eating her share of snacks too, although on her little old lady shrunken frame all she gets is a little belly. “Am I getting a little brother or a little sister?” I asked her a few weeks ago before getting backhanded. She has her share of stress too, with my Uncle Jerry. Thanksgiving only gave me a glimpse of what my parents and my Uncle Ciro deal with nearly every single day. And after my workout and shower on Thursday night, I opened my locker to find a new voicemail on my cell phone. It was from my mom.

I knew from the tone of voice that something was wrong. When she told me my uncle had been taken to the hospital, I feared something was really wrong. Anticipating the response that the first part of her message had triggered, she immediately added reassurance that he was fine and already back in the nursing home. She didn't go in to details, only that he had fallen and that they'd spent most of the day at the hospital. Mainly, she was letting me know where they were in case I got home first and wondered why they were out at such a late hour.

By the time I got home, they were already back, beating me by a few minutes. I remembered how my Uncle had been walking when I last saw him, and how hard it was for him to get up the steps to his room on the second floor. Most people in that place had walkers, and he seemed in worse shape than some of them. The guy was in the army. Before that, he was an acrobat who could do handstands. It's tough to see him so changed. We don't even know how he fell or where. My other Uncle was the one who called my parents after the home called him to say that Uncle Jerry was in a wheelchair and an ambulance was on the way. As far as anyone could piece together, they'd found him on the floor of his bathroom. The doctor didn't even do any x-rays, and seemed satisfied that nothing was broken or damaged from a cursory examination. They are going to be getting him a walker, and hopefully in his state of mind he'll still be able to grasp how to use it.

Getting old isn't easy. I need to keep pushing myself, even when I feel weight on my mind and my body. The slow down and the limitations can't be avoided forever, but I'm going to fight and stave them off for as long as I can. My family isn't getting any younger, and I know taking care of their own is taking a toll. Just last week one of my dad's sisters had a pacemaker put in and two others had surgical procedures as well, albeit minor ones by comparison. All the adults in my life are either falling or starting to stumble, with a few exceptions. My dad is one of the more surprising and inspirational ones, with my mom not far behind. The other morning he was pacing and asking her if she was going to be ready on time every five minutes starting from about an hour before they had to leave for his doctor. His appointment was for a stress test.

I love these people.

I don't want them to fall.


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