Mary Ann’s day seemed to go reasonably well.  There was no napping, although a few times during the day her head hung pretty low, resting on the arm of her transfer chair.  Each time I asked her if she wanted to go in the bedroom and nap or stay out in the living room, she opted for the living room.

Zandra, her bath aide, came this morning, but she was pretty sleepy through the shower and getting dressed.   By lunch time, she was open to going out to get something to eat.  She did pretty well with a hamburger cut into quarters.  She let me cut it into quarters for her, but she would not have tolerated my putting it to her mouth to help her since we were out in public.

After lunch, we headed to the grocery store.  As tired as she seemed, she loves going to the store and reminded me that I had mentioned that possibility.  It is still a marvel to me how it is possible for us to go through so much food, as little as Mary Ann eats.  A few items on the list always seem to grow to a basket full.

After supper (Mary’s pork, dressing and gravy), Mary Ann watched television for a while, went to bed, got up again to watch some more televison in the living room, then returned to bed, where at the moment she seems settled.

In between lunch and the grocery, we drove up to Cedar Crest, and while Mary Ann sat in the car, I took about a mile long walk.  That is the first time I have walked for exercise since before the trip to Hot Springs.

My excuses for not keeping up with the exercise walking that began a few weeks ago are legion:

First, there was a break in the pattern that had developed.  The trip to Hot Springs was the first break — about a week.  Then came the hospital stay.  The walking was beginning to take on the character of a habit before the break.

Then, the hospital stay wore us both out.  I was pretty tired when we got home.  Mary Ann was dealing with such confusion and a lower level of functionality pretty much precluding my leaving her to walk.

Those first days back from the hospital, she slept pretty much all day long every day.  I couldn’t leave the house for a moment while she was sleeping.

After a while, she was and still is often getting up pretty early in the morning.  Before the trip she was doing so well that I felt comfortable walking for about a half hour before she got up for the day.  I always made sure she had gone to the bathroom, and I put the Lifeline button around her neck.  When she gets up early, walking is not an option.

When Volunteers have come recently, once I did take a walk.  The other times, the weather has been bad, or I just decided I was too tired to do it.

The last few weeks after the hospital stay have seemed especially stressful.  That is my excuse for returning to eating endless snacks to provide a treat, or just give me something to do to self-medicate.

It is true that working out times to walk has been more difficult in these past weeks.  The trouble with that truth is that it is not the only truth in this situation.  I am a resourceful person.  With enough commitment and will power, I should be able to figure out how to get regular exercise.

And, of course, no one is shoving the food into my mouth.   If there will be food in the house or food on the table, I am the one who will put it there.  It is not as if I have no choice about what ends up on that table.

My excuse relative to food, is that I am trying to give Mary Ann things she likes and she needs lots of calories.  Of course, I do not have to eat the same thing she is eating.  It is my choice.

I have cancelled, at least for the moment, the exercise and weight control program at the exercise therapy clinic that I was going to begin after the trip.  After the hospital stay, Mary Ann was doing so badly for a while that I didn’t think it would work to try to have her with me, sitting in on an exercise class.

Mary Ann is enough better that I should be reconsidering starting that program.  Now with the holidays looming, that excuse has kept me from making the call to set the appointment.

Under the best of circumstances it is hard to develop and maintain a good set of self-care disciplines.  We are not in the best of circumstances.  All sorts of excuses to avoid good eating and exercise habits are readily available.  The irony, of course, is that good eating habits and good exercise habits translate directly into feeling better and being better able to do the task of Caregiving.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

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