Saturday, September 29, 2018

Re-ordering the Routine, Post-Hurricane

Few phenomena can disrupt your life more than a hurricane. And that is true even if you are not one of the thousands of folks in the Carolinas who have had their homes or businesses flooded out as a result of Hurricane Florence and its slow-motion torture by rising water. Certainly, those people are the real victims who deserve any help you can donate. However, even a mere dawgwalker like me is out of sorts because of how his routine was discombobulated for this whole month of September.

Early in the month came tracking of the hurricane, with anxiety steadily mounting as it grew to a Category 3 and even Cat 4 while it was boiling up in the Atlantic. It stayed pretty much targeted at Wilmington, N.C., up the road about 75 miles, so I was thinking our family would shore up the homeplace and ride out the impacts we received here. However, in the final hours forecasters confidently said that after hitting North Carolina, the very slow-moving storm would slide down our way in Myrtle Beach and bring high winds and torrential rain. That is when I decided to evacuate with my wife to Richmond, Virginia, our long-time home. Our son Bobby insisted on staying at our home and taking care of the dawgs.

Our refuge in Richmond was anything but relaxing. One day we spent dodging Florence-spawned tornadoes in the worst outbreak in Virginia's capital city in modern times. Other forms of insecurity dominated as well. Back south, the main route back, I-95, was flooded and impassable while many NC/SC alternate routes were being closed to flooding almost hourly. So my son flew to Richmond to drive us back, and then had to drive an exhausting route via western-Carolina (Greensboro/Charlotte) before finally getting to the river city of Conway, SC at dusk, only to find the main bridge was just then closing. So then we spent 3 hours going 4 blocks to make it over the Waccamaw River bridge in the city's historic district. We did all that without stopping for lunch or dinner because we knew roads and bridges were closing. We were lucky to make it that night, though thoroughly fatigued.

My paid work is by monthly quota, so I have struggled to catch up and will never make it. In the process, my workout schedule -- so important to me at age 76, almost 77 -- was thrown way out of kilter. I haven't been to core fitness class except maybe once in the first week of September. I had heart palpitations during stressful episodes during the hurricane so I have wondered if it is even safe for me to return. Meanwhile, I have had to reintroduce myself to my faithful walking dawg, Ellie.

Our reunion walks have been as humid as others during the summer of '18 (and even more mosquito-ridden), but last evening I had a moment of inspiration to dispel my thoughts of just quitting everything. My walking angel reappeared. She first came into my life when she introduced herself when we were each shopping at Krogers a few weeks before the hurricane struck. She said she had seen me walking my dog and said I probably didn't recognize her because she wears something quite different when walking. It was obvious that she is an avid and fit walker. This young lady (who reminds me of another angel who helped me through last October's Heart Walk)  must see how I struggle with my spinal stenosis to continue walking and she wanted to encourage me. She asked my first name, and twice gave me hers so "I would remember it." But maybe because I was so taken back, I didn't remember it with certainty. I hadn't seen her the past six weeks, but she spotted me yesterday, and we chatted again about walking. It is good for the spirit when you struggle to walk but  have a smiling angel who cares that you continue. Oh, and now I do know her name.

As a result, I have stopped the idea of just quitting everything. I will do two-a-day dawgwalks except on Mondays and Wednesdays when I will do Sarah's amazing senior Core Fitness class (if they'll let me back in after such a long lapse) and just one cool-down dawgwalk.  When I did two-a-day dawgwalks in the months after I rescued Ellie two years ago, I lost some weight. My cardiologist was impressed. I need to drop some pounds now in addition to strengthening the core.

So now I have my new schedule and I feel better.

                                           © Robert Gray Holland  (2018)

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