“Back On My Feet” Paul McCartney 1989

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

A lot can happen in a week’s time! Some good… some not so good. Last Thursday, my surgeon told me I no longer needed my brace (Throw that brace away! Wait, that brace was WAY too expensive to throw away!) nor my crutches, unless I found myself walking a long distance. All of a sudden, I felt lost and a bit afraid – I mean, I have not walked “normally” in over six weeks. And it was obvious. I left the doctor’s office on my own 2 feet and went straight to physical therapy. My physical therapist took one look at me walking in and said “Whoa girl, we have some work to do – immediately!” My giddy-up was so far off-kilter. Imagine Grandpappy Amos from “The Real McCoys” and you have the picture. She had me warm up on the bike, exercising for the first time in 6 weeks – squats, standing on the “hurt” leg, and walking around the room with a walking stick, until I could walk somewhat normally, just very slowly. Slow has never been a pace I enjoy, but slow it is. Part of it was being a bit nervous, but a big part was that my leg forgot how to walk! Seriously! Got back to my office and walked in slowly, as if I had a book on my head – very stiffly. After all the therapy, walking around, and getting on a normal bike at the gym, my poor calf hurt. Understandably. It hasn’t been used in over 6 weeks. But I am walking y’all! I just have to keep reminding myself, “walk normally.”

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.”  Theodore Roosevelt

So… with my newfound freedom (from crutches), I decided to take 2 weeks off and get away. First stop was to see my mom on Friday at her new digs (the rehab place). Got to see her in action with both physical and occupational therapy. She has to get strong enough to be able to use her walker again in order to go back to her “home.” Takes a lot to get an almost 90-year-old up and moving around a week after hip surgery (or any time for that matter!). She is tired and afraid it might hurt. And boy do I understand that fear! My younger sister and I gave our older sister the “day off” and accompanied Mom to her post-surgery appointment, where the cute doctor was pleased with her progress. He asked if she was in any pain and she said “Pain from what?” “Your hip surgery.” “Nope, not me. My hip is fine.” And when we told her she had 17 staples taken out from her hip the day before, she looked at us as if we had 2 heads. “Staples?!? Well I never.” Yep, you did Mom! You just have to laugh and roll with it. But I admit, when I saw her x-rays and the rods in her leg and hip, I almost passed out! But she is a trooper and is giving it her all, when she can stay awake! And never complains. That’s Momma for you.

Once Mom was settled back in her room, I changed into my jeans (for the first time in 6 weeks!) and headed to Charlotte to have dinner with the most important man in my life – my son, and his beautiful girlfriend. My baby was about to celebrate his 28th birthday. 28 years old! And even more special, he shares his birthday with his sweet, beautiful girlfriend. Imagine that! I met them at Haberdish, “a mill town southern kitchen and craft cocktail bar” in NODA (which I learned is North Davidson, in Charlotte-speak). I gave myself plenty of time since I was not sure exactly where I was going, and got there early enough to sit at the bar with a glass of wine. I always love sitting at the bar. Met some interesting people and talked to the bartender while waiting for my son and his girlfriend. The food was fabulous, and what a fun night we had celebrating their birthdays! Walked around after dinner and ran into some of their friends. And unbelievably, we had no rain, though I did hit some heavy rain on the way back to Winston-Salem. But I did not mind, I got to see my favorite guy and his girlfriend and celebrate their birthdays. Life is good.

“The more you love your children, the more they learn to love others.” A. D. Williams

The weekend was forecasted to be a total wash-out. Total. Rain, rain, rain. 90% chance. So the thought of my Saturday plans had a bit of a damper on them. But hey, I was heading to Chapel Hill with my cousin (also a Tar Heel fan) to do something I have not done since I was in college there – attend a baseball game at The Bosh (Boshamer Stadium). And I could not wait! She told me to bring my crutches and my Handicap Placard. Unfortunately, I never got one – should have, because I always had to park so far away to have room to open my door wide enough to get out with my crutches. I did bring my crutches though, since I figured it would be a long walk to the stadium. However, we only had to walk down a short ramp in the parking garage and lo and behold there was a line of Carolina golf carts waiting to take the handicapped and elderly right to the entrance of the game. I guess we qualified for both? Whatever, we hopped on one quickly and off we went. Luckily, the weather forecasters were wrong, dead wrong! Not only did it not rain, it was sunny. And hot. No one had sunscreen, but we all had rain ponchos! And lots of enthusiasm. It was a great game and so much fun until the 8th inning, when we fell apart. Same scenario in the 9th. And we lost. But still, it was great being in Chapel Hill surrounded by fellow Tar Heels and spending the day with my cousin! My older daughter was watching the game on TV and asked where we were sitting. Told her 3rd base line behind the Carolina dugout, and that I had on Carolina Blue. That definitely narrowed it down, right? But she found me, because I had my knee propped up on an empty seat in front of me! Had a ticket for the Sunday game, but woke up Sunday feeling the need to spend the day with Mom. So Mom and I watched the game on the TV in her room and just hung out. And Carolina won, only to lose Monday, ending their road to Omaha.

 

“I see my parents as tiny children who need love.” – Louise Hay

Now y’all, I have NEVER taken two consecutive weeks off before. So I am making the most of it! My journey started in Winston-Salem, then Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Winston-Salem again, and then to my final destination… the BEACH! (yep, I am back to putting those miles on my car!) Cannot tell you how great it is to be back here. Just to breathe in that sweet, salty air. The weatherman was incorrect in the washout forecast down here as well. Spent all day Monday on the beach, except for a 30 minute downpour, typical summertime beach weather. Took a bit to figure out exactly how to walk on the sand, but I managed, slowly, very slowly, reminding myself to walk normally (didn’t want to look like a total dork at the beach, plus did not want to trip!). Also rode my beach bike for 5 miles since that is basically my only form of exercise. Would love to be running, but honestly, I could not run if I wanted to – this knee is so tight. Plus I am following the rules. Although after last night’s bike ride, I went down to walk on the beach and got almost to the pier when I realized, wait, I am not supposed to be walking this much. Turned around and headed back. Slowly. Enjoyed the sunset on the way. Have not yet seen a sunrise – I have been sleeping in! Makes a difference when you don’t have to get up early to run before it gets hot – you get to sleep in.

“An ocean breeze puts a mind at ease.”

My life has finally realigned itself. Landed on my feet (so to speak). I feel as if I have been in limbo for months, a bit disjointed, waiting to be able to resume my life as I envision it. Kinda like I felt 3 years ago – in limbo, wondering how my life would be SOLO. Like then, I felt the need to push a reset button, to do something normal that made me happy… hence – the beach. Just needed a change of scenery, to get back to the place that heals my soul. I know many of you prefer the mountains, or the lake, but for me there is nothing like the ocean. Not that I am going to get IN the ocean… I just like to be close to it, to look at it, and listen to its soothing waves. When the doctor said I should NOT get in the ocean – too many chances for my knee to sustain damage, I said “no problem, Doc.” (Remember the movie JAWS?!?!)

“Medicine heals the body. The ocean heals the soul.”

Ever feel the need to hit that reset button in your life? You can do it. And you need to do it. And you need to know that even when times seem dire, the sun will always come out again. Always. So pick yourself up and decide today is going to be a great day (every day), because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

Best,

Leslie

PS – This Sunday is the Strawberry Moon – meaning the full moon of June, named for the wild strawberries that ripen in June. Oh and it’s Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day to those special Dads in our lives.

 

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