Saturday, April 29, 2006

April 28, 2006 - Spectator

This morning I go for my first actual physical therapy appointment. The exercises the staff lays out for me do not seem strenuous, in a cardiovascular sense. They’re more focused on range of motion – stretching and that sort of thing.

They have me begin with some hamstring-stretching exercises up against a wall, then have me spend seven minutes on a seated step-machine – which is something like a stationary bike that works the arms as well. After that, I stand between a set of parallel bars and move each of my legs back and forth: back, front and side-to-side, in turn. Following that, it’s onto a reclined exercise board, on which I do some squats, pushing myself and the board up and down along its track. Finally, I lie down on a table, on my back, while Marcia, my therapist for today, extends each of my legs upward and holds them for a number of seconds – another stretching exercise.

All this makes me feel more tired than I would have predicted. It doesn’t take much to get me out of breath these days, and it seems that even the stretching exercises use up more oxygen than I would have expected. But I’m not exhausted by any means.

It’s a beautiful day, as a matter of fact, so I buy myself a cup of decaf coffee and drive over to the Inlet. I happen to have my digital camera with me, so I take photos of the two boats I see: one, a commercial fishing boat headed back into port, and the second a Coast Guard rescue boat going out to sea – on a training mission, no doubt.

The Inlet is one of those places where it’s easy to be a spectator. Sit there long enough, and you’re sure to see a boat go by. This time of year there are just a few, although on a summer weekend it’s a constant parade. I’m far more interested, myself, in the working boats – the fishing boats, the Coast Guard vessels – than the ubiquitous cabin cruisers with their sport-fishing poles. Whatever sort of boat it is, though, the Inlet is one of those places where there’s a sensation for the spectator that the world is slowly passing you by.

Sometimes I feel that way, as a cancer patient. I’m not so deeply engaged, these days, in the activities that in any other season of life would have kept me complaining of how little time I have. These days, there’s plenty of time – at least for things that aren’t mentally or physically strenuous. I’m not so sick that I’m detached from my former life, nor do I feel well enough to throw myself into all the things I used to do. Even if I did feel that way, with my sixth and final chemo treatment coming up in a few days there wouldn’t be much point in going back into high gear – because I’ll be pulling back again soon enough.

So, I content myself with being a spectator. It’s not a bad place to be, for right now...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear you're at the near end of chemotherapy and the beginning of exercise. What's best in the blog are your pictures of ships in the Inlet - Spring is here and days of better health are coming!
Love, Mother