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Expect Delays | An urban girl wanting to spend some time in the woods | Page 5

Health update

I’m still not walking because my leg still hurts. But I was finally able to get a new doctor and he’s got another idea about what could be wrong. The new thought is a torn meniscus. I’m getting an MRI tomorrow to see if that’s the case, so we’ll see.

All I know is I feel like such a loser that I started this idea a year ago and I’ve yet to really even get started.

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Fixing sleep habits

One of the things that I have to do if I’m going to actually hike anything is actually fix my sleep habits and sleep schedule. To that end, I’m going in Wednesday for a sleep study.

I’ve actually had a sleep study before, and the results were basically “you don’t have sleep apnea, move along.” Which is what I expect this time as well, and I hate that I’m going to be paying a really ridiculous amount of money for it. But I’m hoping that with these results my doctors will all move on from the “you must have sleep apnea” mindset and onto “maybe it’s a sleep phase disorder or a parasomnia.”

The trick is there’s no real treatments for the latter that I know of. And none of that helps me to actually feel tired and go to bed on time and actually fall asleep.

All hurdles I need to tackle before I could possibly manage to go on any kind of overnight hiking trip. Though I imagine hiking all day would help me be tired.

The other trick is that I can’t buy any equipment for hiking until I’ve sorted all this medical stuff and stopped paying this exorbitant bills. Every time I think “maybe I’ll go get a good day pack” then I get another bill from something. Sometimes I wonder if my health issues aren’t going to keep me from ever getting this done.

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New Year, New Start

I’m not typically one for New Year’s Resolutions, I think they’re not particularly conducive to actual change because usually they are a great amount of change in a sudden and pretty much arbitrary moment.

However, this year New Year’s has marked a pretty good time for me to get my act together because it’s the end of a vacation and time for me to do a bunch of things that will help anyway.

So I’m starting the new year trying to figure out this problem with my leg, figuring out my issues with hydration, and scheduling more time for walks IF I can get the leg thing figured out properly.

I’ll be calling my doctor on the second to figure it all out.

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Stalled out again

Normally I loathe New Year’s Resolutions. Why should this one day be some sort of magic realization to change everything about your life?

But I think this year for me, it’s become something more. For one thing, the changes I want to make now aren’t really happening because the holidays are so stressful and full of stuff. But also because 2012 became such a difficult year on so many levels, and I just had such a hard time dealing with it that now it’s become this like magic moment where when 2013 hits maybe the luck and terribleness of this year will finally be over.

Right now, I’ve decided in general to stop punishing myself and being so hard on myself for not accomplishing big changes all at once. So the idea is more to do small things and get one thing tackled before trying to move on. Right now that goal is just to get into a habit of getting up at 8 a.m. every day, 10 a.m. on weekends. So far I’ve not really accomplished it very well, but it’s very slowly getting more and more reasonable. And that’s an accomplishment and something I think I should be proud of.

Hopefully after Christmas I can get a jacket that’s better for outdoor walks in bad weather, I have one picked out at L.L. Bean that I really want, but it’s over $100 so I can’t afford it right now. But I think it would be good for year round because it’s got a pull out lining, waterproofing, etc. I want to buy good quality stuff as I stock up for this hike, not cheap things that will wear out and have to be replaced with the good stuff later. The problem is money is still annoying overall.

Anyway, so now New Year’s is looking like “my time.” So I’ll try to get some walks in between now and then, but mostly I’ll focus on getting up on time every day at the moment.

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Not much to update

So this weekend we decided to walk to the library and back, which I think is 3-4 miles round trip.

It may have been a mistake to jump so far back into things so quickly. But at least I managed it, and it wasn’t actually too horrible.

So now the goal is at least two walks a week, about a mile each.

Back to baby steps.

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Heart monitors

I’ve been thinking lately about getting a heart monitor that I can wear whenever I’m doing anything strenuous. But I’m having the same problem that I had with wanting to get a device that monitors your sleep – how do you know which one is good?

I read a ton of reviews, but part of the issue is that I don’t want to wear something that has a belt across your chest, and how am I supposed to figure out which one works if it’s just a wrist thing. Plus they’re really expensive, especially for something that may or may not work.

I don’t think that walking, even for long distances, would really get my heart rate up into any kind of dangerous territory. But it seems worth it for other exercise, which I need to do so that I can build up my strength.

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Rethinking, rescheduling

So, in light of this leg problem that still hasn’t gone away, I’ve been re-doing some of the schedules I had in my head for this training. Because I still don’t know if walking more will help or harm this injury.

Mostly because the orthopedic practice that I went to for help was not just useless but also negligent and horrible in ways that aren’t worth getting into again.

The plan at the moment is to wait until I have a bit of money saved up to pay for more doctor’s visits so that I can get another orthopedist to look at it and help me. Also, in another month I’m supposed to be able to stop worrying about my insurance denying things based on pre-existing conditions.

Of course, I also have had some problems recently with my heart. With that all added together, I’ve neglected my blogs. I’ll keep trying to update this one on Mondays, so I’ll be doing research while I still can’t get up and mobile, stuff about equipment maybe, so that I can start making “to buy” lists. Or maybe I’ll read a few more books on the trail and do reviews.

Then hopefully next year I can start walking longer distances and making progress on these plans.

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Blog Silence Explained

I mentioned that I was having some leg pain some time ago.

It hasn’t gone away, and that’s basically put almost everything on hold for me, it’s been very frustrating.

I was in physical therapy for a month, and I made some progress with my knee pain and learning more about my body. My physical therapist was fantastic and when I told her about my idea to hike the trail she said she used to want to do that too, and encouraged me to keep working. It was good to hear somebody who knew my limitations say it was possible.

But sadly, my insurance company and my doctor’s office aren’t playing nice with each other right now and so my leg still is either in pain or uncomfortable at all times. The physical therapist was worried it could be coming from a back or spine problem, but I can’t find out.

So I won’t be updating this much until that’s taken care of and I know if walking is good or bad for me again.

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One thing I ponder sometimes is if other people bring any kind of music player with them while they’re hiking. Obviously that requires a battery and charging, so that’s not really ideal. Plus, it would possibly make you less aware of your surroundings which seems bad.

Maybe just listen for part of the day? It just seems like it would be nice sometimes to have a little bit of music to accompany your thoughts. But maybe part of the point is to be completely alone with your thoughts.

In other news, my leg has gotten worse again over the last week. Went back to get more tests and eliminate some possibilities, will be back at the doctor again today, and physical therapy again tomorrow. I did discover that I have a bone spur on my hip, which doesn’t bode well for this hiking thing.

Sometimes I keep telling myself that I should tackle everything one small problem at a time. But it seems sometimes like everything is so connected that I can’t really change my life and get better unless I change everything all at once in a huge revolution.

And then I wonder if I’ll even be the same person at that point, and if I want to go that far.

Which is way to existential a thought for this early in the morning.

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Physical Therapy

I know this is, in theory, a blog about my journey to becoming the type of hiker able to tackle a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail.

But I knew it would probably have some weird stops along the way. The first being this stint with physical therapy. Since my plans to start walking every day were sidelined earlier this year by knee pain, and I’ve got this problem with my other leg, I went in for my first physical therapy appointment last week.

I was really nervous about it because I’d heard a lot of “horror” stories about PT. Not that anybody was actually horrible, but that it was hard work and they wouldn’t let you slack off or make excuses. And that often you came out hurting more but that it was kind of the point.

Well, I did come out hurting more. But the evaluation was actually really nice. The therapist was really friendly and nice, she was very careful to not aggravate my leg pain while trying to figure out what was going wrong. We worked through a lot of exercises and she determined that my problem likely isn’t really my knee or my leg, those are results. The problem is my hips.

So I’m doing exercises to strengthen those muscles, and I can only imagine that this will be helpful in the long run towards my goal. Having strong joints and muscles will be vital to the success of my plans, and having a professional evaluation to determine problem areas and ways to work on them is better than anything I could have done myself.

Now the trick is to keep up with my end of the bargain, do the stretches I’m supposed to do, and continue the appointments.

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