Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When in Rome

Physical therapists in rehab made predictions I would be "walking" within six months. I took that to mean "normally." But at 21 months I still limp and tire easily. I've started walking regularly around the block to improve my form and stamina. This half-mile took 38 minutes my first attempt and I had to lie down for 40 afterward.

My husband and I share a passion for world travel. More than any other recovery goal, I want to walk with my husband when we're on our adventures. Together we have trailed rhinos through the African bush and explored the ruins of Cambodia's Angkor Wat. We have braved the crowded streets of Old Delhi during Ramadan and hefted packs along muddy trails in a Peruvian rain forest.

I try not to think about whether I'll be able to carry weight over rough terrain again. My husband says my condition won't stop us from doing what we want. "We may have to do it differently than before," he says. "We may have to hire Sherpas."

I'm trying to focus on a more achievable goal. I remember a glorious day we had wandering Rome, encountering ruins so common they weren't even marked on the map. We probably walked 10 miles that day. I'd like to be able to walk like that again – with my eyes taking in the world around me rather than focusing on my feet. Three miles … just three miles like that.

I've cut my time around the block to 26 minutes and I don't have to lie down afterward. Both my pace and rate of improvement are agonizingly slow. But Rome wasn't built in a day … probably not even in 21 months.


  1. Ooh you get a sherpa? My husbands approach is more like "You have a walker? How much luggage can we balance on that thing?".

    I really want to travel more too. I keep trying to do slightly more adventurous things and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I really do have to blog about my adventures on that Hawaiian trip!

    It sounds like your stamina for walking is improving a lot.

    I started making better progress with that when Bob and I started going regularly to an indoor walking/ running track. (I live in an awful location for outdoor winter walking) I was very aware the athletic people were not wild about me going in circles with my walker, but they really had no choice but to run around me.
    The rubberized and very flat flooring was a big help so that I was a lot more physically secure,and there was no traffic to be whizzing past. A big help to building stamina was adding just one more round (1/7 mile) a week so that it was incremental, controlled, and gradual increase in walking.

  2. Marcelle - You are DOING GREAT!!! I am so PROUD! I love reading your Blogs. Whenever your up for a visitor, let me know, I would love to visit and bring you a big fat juicy pastry. ;o)

  3. Marcelle: You can do it. I like your husband's attitude that you'll just do it differently. And the Sherpa suggestion. And you might have to limit yourself to less physically demanding destinations. How about a canal trip through France and Germany?

    To have improved your speed on your around-the-block walk must be satisfying. I have not tried my 2-mile walk again after it took me three hours; no one will walk it with me - people have tried twice, but I end up pooping out and taking the shortcut home.

    When we went to Sweden, I had more stamina walking than standing; fortunately, the museums there have easy-to-carry stools (easy for someone else) so that I could sit and admire the artwork, etc.

    My husband keeps talking about canes that have a built-in seat; that would be handy.

    Keep on walking!

  4. Travel is one of these things that I *have* to do. Again. With my kids. We want to Minneapolis over the summer for just a few days. Mostly I stayed at the hotel. Fortunately, we had a nice view.

    @Barb-I finally realized that walking by myself is better--I can concentrate on my gait. I love the idea of the cane with a seat!

  5. Travelers - you've got to get a pedometer. A trip to the grocery store is 2,000 steps. 8,000 steps a day is my limit which gives me a benchmark that guides my choices when I travel. As for the sherpa, I'd go for it. Who needs to drag objects around India when you can save energy to walk around the Taj Mahal?

  6. Hell, I'd go for a Sherpa. Makes it easier to experience and enjoy the sights.

    My walk around the block takes about the same time, but it's not my pace that's the limiting factor. Our old beagle is slow but steady and some days he's really slow. But he wants to walk all the way around the block and resists turning back early.

    Happy to hear about your progress and your determination to keep going and making your life better.