Tag Archives: garden

Being Mobile Aids Mobility

When you have a disability that results in lessened physical abilities, it makes sense to listen to ‘the experts’, doesn’t it? I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and the experts have told me that being active will, or at least might, help me to regain, or retain physical ability.

When I was diagnosed with MS, my new neurologist told me to walk for half an hour. I think he meant to do this every day, but that I should work up to that level of ability, because at that time, walking for half an hour didn’t seem to be something I was physically capable of. MS had hit me and my muscles on my right side, including leg muscles were very weak.

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My new medication for MS seemed to help me though, and the exercise I began doing helped too. I’m on a new medication now, an easier and more pleasant one, and it seems to be working even better for me. My initial medication had been the injectable once a week one, Avonex. I didn’t like sticking a needle into my thigh muscles, left leg or right leg, but I did it, for two years.

Then a new medication come to Australia, Gilenya, which is a little capsule that you take once a day. It is much more acceptable to me, so much easier to have my G at breakfast time, and no nasty injections in my muscles! I still don’t walk for half an hour every day though, even though my neurologists words, ‘Use it or you lose it’, echo in my mind.

I do try to add walking, and other exercises to my life, every day. I park a little bit further away from where I’m going, or sometimes (not often enough!) I get my hand weights out and do some lifting for a while. I have to admit that in reality, my weight lifting is fairly negligible, so  don’t brag about it. At least it’s something though. I certainly feel better, if I am being more active, anyway.

above the fish pond

Getting out into the garden, walking around, looking at the flowers and trees, and the vegetables too, these things help me to get sunshine, get active, and sometimes get yummy things to eat. And if I’m in the garden, I am standing, walking, bending over and other active things. Being in Nature is good for me in other ways, good for my happiness, my feelings of greater connectivity, as I think about all of the Nature out there, and my own part is the whole world!

clover burrs

Spirituality, and all of that connecting with Nature stuff resonates for me. I am a secular person, not religious one, but I believe in the benefits being in and with Nature gives to me. I feel happy when I can see trees and clouds, and all of the creatures (not the snakes, I never like to see them, not the poisonous ones anyway!) And of course, being out in the sun can help my body build up more vitamin D, which is good for me. Too much sun though can lead to skin cancers though, so it’s a matter of getting enough, but not over doing it.

A lot of life is like that. Living a good and healthy life is all about moderation, a lot of the time. I like moderation, a little bit of wine every now and then, a small amount of chocolate, little bit of cake or other desserts occasionally, and then plenty of vegetables, with moderate amounts of fruit, meat, grains …

I get out and about, my writing group once a week, and other writing related things too. I take an interest in my community, and do various things to help others as and when I can. I’m also conscious of the mental health benefits to be gained from keeping my brain active too. Writing helps with that, connecting with online communities can help, being active in a variety of social media things, but again, in moderation …

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I will continue living my moderately mobile life for as long as I can, sticking with my medication, and staying with Nature too. I love the trees and I hope the trees love me!

 

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Sometimes I Suddenly Realise Something …

Yes, suddenly something true hits me and I realise I am both clever, for realising it, and incredibly stupid for taking so long to realise  it! Do you ever have times like that, when a thing suddenly becomes obvious to you, and you can hardly understand why it took so long for the truth to hit you? Today was one of those times for me.

Today, in South Australia, particularly in the mid north region the weather is hot, very hot. At the moment the temperature in the shade is apparently 43.2 Celsius. That is hot. We (my husband and I) decided we had to do our washing today, so Graham put the washing in the machine set it off to do its thing.

My part was to hang the washing out and then bring the washing in when the time was right. The machine eventually stopped and I went to the laundry to put the now clean clothes into the laundry basket. When I went into the backyard with the washing, I looked over at the clothesline, and it hit me! The clothesline, or at least half of the line, was in the shade, just a small amount of shade, but plenty enough for me to stand in, between the tree giving the shade, and the clothesline. I could be in the shade and hang out the washing at the same time!

Ananka

In the photo is our first female Pharaoh Hound, Ananka, the photo taken probably about ten years ago. She is standing next to the tree I was standing in the shade of today, but I was further around to the right of where she’s standing in the picture …

Of course, of course, of course! I have lived at this house for nearly thirty years, with the same clothesline, and the same tree. The tree may have just been a small bush when we first arrived, but it’s definitely been tall enough to bring shade to the area of lawn next to the clothesline for a good few of the years we’ve been here. The peg basket is usually on the side of the line across from the shade, and closest to the laundry door, so that’s where I always go to hang up the clothes, near the door, and in the sunshine, whether hot or cold or pleasant, that’s where I go.

But today’s the day I realised I didn’t have to overheat, and feel like my ability to stand up was slipping away from me from the heat. Today I stood in the shade, moved the peg basket around to the shaded place where I’d put the washing basket, and I hung out the washing in the shade, the lovely, lovely shade! I have no idea why it took me this long to figure this out. I also don’t know whether my husband realised this was possible, or even if he would ever be bothered as much by the sun and heat as I am. Well I do know that, of course. He doesn’t have MS, and he isn’t in danger of fading and falling from excessive heat …

I’ve brought the washing in again now, out into the shade from the tree, and then into the sunshine briefly, and back inside with the now dry washing, yay me, and yay to my mind for the slow but great realisation! Do you ever have any of these Ah ha! moments? Please leave a comment and tell me about them, I love reading about these things!

 

 

Still Celebrating My Victories

When you feel you are a waste of space, when things are more likely to go wrong instead of going right, that is when it’s more important to celebrate your victories. The victories may be hard to see, so tiny and seemingly inconsequential, and unable to be seen by able bodied people, that’s when it’s important to celebrate your victories!

I had a victory earlier today. I helped to hang out our washing, and didn’t fall over before or after as I wandered around our backyard. Yes, I dropped pegs quite a few times, and a few socks hit the ground, but I picked up every peg and sock, shook off any bits of grass, then continued with pegging clothes out.

When that was done, off to the vegetable patch and the herb garden.

garden produce

I’d taken off my windcheater before I went outside, and while it was a tiny bit cool out there, I soaked in the vitamin D from the sun beaming down on the skin of my arms and face, hoping it was being absorbed as it should. What victories these simple things are! I was able to pick herbs for the cup I’ve almost finished drinking, and who knows what good things the mint, thyme and oregano (or is it marjoram? whatever …), are doing for my body. These herbs are home grown, picked fresh then brought inside, water boiled and poured over them in a pretty cup with flowers on the side of it. Lovely things, and what victories!

The produce from the garden is from a previous growing season, at the moment we have the herbs mentioned previously and there are strawberries almost ready to be eaten (tomorrow?), and we have cherry tomatoes slowly changing from green to red. These should be ready by the weekend, I hope. What a victory it is to be able to go outside and pick our own food! I love eating food that’s there because we grew it, not because we went out and bought it from a shop. Homegrown beats shop bought every time, in my opinion, a victory of the small person over big business!

Speaking of eating vegetables and fruit, I have another victory, a small one, but I’m proud of my steady, if small, progress with my weight loss target. I only wanted to lose about five kilograms, but even so, I’m happy to report that I’ve lost a couple of kilograms, with two or maybe three to go. Victory! One of the things that helps me, as well as healthy eating, is our Wii Fit machine, where I weigh in. The machine keeps the weigh in numbers, and I do some of the exercises as well, which helps to tone my body, as does the exercises I do with the small hand weights we have, that sit right next to me as I sit at this computer. These are all victories!

hula hoop for blog(all photos are my own, apart from this one, which is from the Wii Fit website)

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Do you celebrate your small victories that come along, as you aim at the big one? If you do, it makes it easier to keep going, keep striving. If you don’t celebrate, it can seem like a tiresome process, if you celebrate all of your small victories, life can seem like joyous fun! Please leave a message if you have victories to brag about, or if you have any thoughts about my way of keeping going.

 

Sitting Down on the Job

When a person has disabilities, it doesn’t mean they can no longer be useful members of their family or community. Depending on how a person’s abilities, there are a huge variety of things people might be able to do, no matter what. If you are blind, you can still hear, and move. If you are deaf, you can still see, and again still move.

Different people have different tolerances for pain, and what might totally incapacitate one person, could be tolerable for another. Abilities, preferences, tolerances, these factors are all important items to consider when taking on work. And of course, that word ‘work’ can mean many different things too. Work can be the things a person does in their own home when looking after the household. It can mean volunteer work when doing things for or with their community. It can mean paid work for self, or for others.

My own current ‘work’ situation is a many and varied thing, and I’m sure my experience is common to other people too, whether they live with disability or not. I am a writer and poet, so my actual I suppose ‘paid’ work is writing things that may be published and so bring in some money.public speaker business card

I am also the editor of a newsletter that goes out in my closest town. This is volunteer work that I do because I enjoy it. But the writing group I’m involved with gets the money for advertising in this newsletter, so that is good for the writing group, which makes me happy.

I also do some of the household work, but my husband, who is also my carer, does most of the work in our home and most of the outside work too. He does vacuuming, he looks after the lawn and he looks after the swimming pool. I cook some of our meals, but he does most of them. I also help with hanging out and bringing in the washing, which we both do either separately or alone. I’m always the one who puts the clothes away though.

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Different households arrange these things, I hope, in the way that suits each person. I don’t usually do a lot of yard work, but I’m very chuffed with my own efforts today. I’ve been looking at the lawn where our swimming pool is, and tut tutting to myself over the rapid growth of the clover in the lawn. Clover gives a good green burst, but unfortunately, the kind of clover in that lawn is the type that has burrs. Bare feet and swimming pools go together well, but bare feet and burrs are painful together!

So this morning, while at home with an hour to spare, I got organised and went outside to take on these clover burrs. I put on rubberised gloves, got a nice big container, and the radio, went outside and began pulling up those horrid weeds! I didn’t think I’d get the entire job done, necessarily, but I thought I’d make a good start.

I began by leaning over and pulling up the clover plants, but quickly realised that would probably end up with falling over, so I found a burr-free bit of lawn, moved the container close, and sat down. This was much easier on my body, and I happily pulled up burrs and put them in the container. The gloves, which incidentally my husband/carer had recommended I use, worked very well, and I didn’t suffer from the nasty burrs at all.

I cleverly worked my way from my starting point a few metres away from the chair the radio was on, around and back to the chair, so getting up again was easier, when I’d done enough (and had enough!) after over half an hour of work. I’m pleased with what I’ve done, and happy to have done my bit to make more of the pool lawn burr free!

clover burrs

These kinds of things, tasks that are worked on, in ways that suit the person with the disability, and thought on by others who have tips and ideas to help, these factors blend to make a better workplace, with better results for all involved …

Sunshine Be My Power!

Today I am very grateful for the sun, and the solar panels we have on our roof, which take sunshine and turn it into power for us in a way I don’t understand, because I’ve never tried to understand how it works. I’m grateful there are people who do understand this, and can provide the relevant things to make it happen!

I love these sunny winter days too, simply for the broad blue sky up above us, and the clouds that may occasionally glide past overhead, with no flooding rain or angry storms to threaten us at the moment. The rain and storms may come back again, but for now, nothing like that happening …

If and when the rain and storms come again, I will be thankful for the watering Nature will do of the trees and other plants in my garden, in the crops around, and for all of the other gardens around, sucking up the moisture. I love an electrical storm every now and then too, as long as I don’t get stuck out in it, so hey Nature, bring on a storm some night soon, and that will be good too!

Winter isn’t my favourite month, but there are certainly parts of the season I enjoy, and after the cold winter we’re having, a warm Spring will be lovely. We have strawberries growing, (slowly growing), at the moment and I’m sure more warmth will encourage them to grow more quickly. I love home-grown strawberries, yummy, much better than what you’d get at the supermarket – sun warmed and ripened, picked from my garden and eaten straight away!

The image below isn’t a picture of strawberries, but it’s from our garden, herbs. capsicums and baby spinach, good food from our garden, yum!

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