Wednesday, April 27, 2011

From Wheelchair to Walker

On Easter Sunday, I finally started leaving the house with the use of a walker.

Up until this point, all my venturing out had been done in a wheelchair.    While Steve's been working, my friend Brian has helped push me to my real estate office, to Radnor Lake, to the Nashville Film Festival, and to a few restaurants that have wheelchair access.  Although the doctor said that I could use a walker or crutches weeks ago, the fact that I can't weight-bear and must hop on one leg has made me choose the wheelchair when leaving home.  Hopping on one leg is tiring!  And you can't carry anything while using a walker.

While at the Nashville Film Festival last week, I saw a couple of ladies getting around quite well on crutches.  I was envious, so I decided I'd chuck the chair and start using crutches.  Steve had been given a pair by his physical therapist, but unfortunately they were too short.  He also had two sets of crutches in the basement, but they were too tall.  So I succumbed back to the chair to finish out the festival.  Besides, being in a wheelchair gave me advanced seating, and pretty much the best seat in the house.

On my first trip out of the house to go to the doctor's office 3 weeks after surgery, I was moved by how helpful and friendly strangers were when they saw me in the wheelchair.  People offered to hold doors, they let me on the elevator first, they asked me questions and offered sympathy.  I was taken aback by the attention.  When we went to restaurants I was given special treatment with seating and doors being held open as well.

What I noticed once I progressed to the walker is that I didn't get the same level of attention.  We went out for an Easter Brunch, and while we waited on a bench to be seated at our table, I had my leg outstretched for comfort.  No one seemed to notice, while Steve kept trying to keep people from tripping over me.  We took a drive down to Lieper's Fork to show Brian around, and I decided to get out of the car and join Brian and Steve who had gone into Puckett's grocery.  Two guys hanging out on motorcycles casually watched me crossing the street, hopping on the walker, and asked me if I had hurt my foot.  They had no idea the pain I've been in!!

Later, we went to Trader Joe's and I had to use the restroom.  It was a long brutal stretch getting from the car to the back of the store, only to find a line.  I was appalled that while I was exhausted, struggling to "hold it"  and leaning for balance against a garbage can, the lady ahead of me didn't offer to let me go in!  By the end of the day, all I could think of is "waaaaaah, I want my wheelchair back."  I guess this is why some people can get sick over and over again:  because the attention feels so good!

All day Monday I lay around recovering from the big, tiring, Easter outing. And  yesterday we went to Goodwill and bought some crutches.  

Yeah, I'm gonna miss all of the special attention, but I'd rather be well.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

With A Little Help From My Friends

It's amazing how time can fly by, when one is just laying around.

For the first 4 weeks after I broke my femur, I lay in bed while Steve made me de-caf and fruit salad for breakfast, while he took the dogs out and dumped my porta-potty, while he made sure I had a phone within reach,  then rushed around frantically trying to get on with his own day.  When Steve would leave the house, various friends were scheduled to come by and  "baby-sit."  I was overwhelmed with gratitude that friends went out of their way to visit with me, bring food, help make my bed, wash my hair, sweep my floors, do rieki treatments, and cheer me up!  I was completely dependent on others, and the friends and neighbors who helped were a Godsend.  We had more gatherings at our house during those 4 weeks then we'd had in the previous two years.  A game of Balderdash one night, a writer's round another.  It was great to have parties delivered to our home. 

I couldn't get enough of Facebook, and the feeling of connectedness it  provided, or all of the "how to heal a broken femur" blogs I found comfort in.  Most of my mornings were spent on-line, most afternoons were spent visiting with friends who came by with food, and most of my evenings were spent watching re-runs of "Bones" and "Glee".  I was rarely bored.  I was in pain, but the days went by quickly. 

For some reason, I couldn't get into reading the piles of books that friends brought by.  I talked about writing some songs with people, but I couldn't seem to stir up the creative juices for songwriting either, although I only tried twice.  I stopped doing my morning journaling, my writing was reduced to 3 line haikus posted on Facebook.  I was beating myself up for not being creative with all this time on my hands.  I wasn't being productive either.  I wasn't able to generate any income from my real estate business.

The loss of my routine was very unsettling to me.  My ideal routine over the past several years has been to get up by 7:00 a.m., go outside with my dogs, journal for about an hour while I drank coffee,  walk the dogs, then start my business day either with real estate (since 2008) or with the music business.  I didn't have time to "waste" hours lounging around on facebook, visiting with friends and watching T.V. 

Now at 7 weeks into this broken leg recovery, I've settled into my current life of leisure.  A dear friend of mine, Brian Beltran, who I have known since I was 4 years old, came out from Portland, Oregon, and moved into our home 3 weeks ago to help with cleaning, driving me to appointments, taking me to the store, and just about everything else I need.  He has fashioned a work-able wheelchair ramp,  set me up on Skype, organized the pantry, re-arranged all of our paintings, cleaned out our bookshelves, and become the entertainment coordinator with his Camera and his Netflix account!

With the house more orderly, I've surrendered into letting the time go by.  I'm forced to heal, and it will take however long it takes.  Suddenly, the creative juices are beginning to trickle out.

I'm getting by with a little help from my friends!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The 20-Minute Way!

So, I've officially, and finally, started a blog.  Now what?  How do I drum up interesting, insightful, and anecdotal things to say while stretching my right leg, trying to ignore the pain?  What is the point of a blog anyway?  

My friend yesterday said, "it's like an on-line diary, and I don't feel like sharing my private thoughts with the world." 

I get that.  I've always felt that writing a blog would be a self-indulgent act.  I mean, who cares what I have to say???

Still,  I've fantasized about starting a blog since last June.  Ever since I had lunch with my old pal, Bess Motta of the 20-Minute Work-out, in Los Angeles last summer.  (The :20 Minute Workout was a t.v. show that I starred in back in 1983 when I was 26 years old.  According to information I’ve recently gleaned from the internet, the :20 Minute Workout was the longest running syndicated exercise show and aired in 57 countries.)  

I hadn’t seen Bess in a decade.  After I left Hollywood in 1998 to pursue a songwriting career in Nashville,  I only kept in touch with Bess for a couple of years.  In June 2010, while I waited for her to arrive at Hugo’s restaurant in Studio City, I secretly hoped she would be overweight, but noooo, she strutted up in 3 inch heels, as fit and trim as ever, looking all of 28.  She still has the same energy, the quick-witted sense of humor, and the mane of curly black hair.  She looked fabulous.

Over lunch, Bess and I got caught up on each other’s lives.  Then we reminisced about the :20 Minute Workout,  and how it seems to have  a following (on the internet) even after all these years.    It was then that I realized  just how much information is shared on the world-wide web.

So, back from my California trip, I combed  the internet, watching old episodes of the :20 Minute Workout on YouTube, starring ME!   I found one web site where I read the following about my co-stars and me:  “Holly, Annie and Leslie, what a bunch of GODDESSES!!!”  and another web site where I read:  “OMG, They were like Barbie dolls with coordinating body suits and leg warmers.”  And this post from just 6 months ago on You-Tube:   “Thank you so much for this!  I’ve never seen Holly before!  It’s like exercising with Lady Di!”   

I had given up the idea of stardom years ago.  Or had I?  The idea of being famous now, as a former :20 Minute Workout Girl, brought up a lot of deeply buried longings.  For months after meeting with Bess, and combing the internet, I found myself struggling with feelings of jealousy (about other friends who'd made it in the "business"), depression (about how my life has gone), regret (for not staying in L.A.), and self-loathing (because at 53, I'm out of shape and overweight).  I started a 20-Minute Work-Out Group page on Facebook.  I created a new website for myself, trying to give myself a web presence so "fans" could find me. All longing to be noticed.

Then, in November, I was noticed.   I got a call from a P.R. firm out of Toronto, who considered hiring me this year to promote bone health.  They said they found me on the Web.  The premise of their advertising was for me, as a former star of the 20-Minute Work-Out, now in her 50's, to talk about how exercising at 50+ years of age (along with a medication I'd be promoting) could help prevent osteoporosis.  

I started the new year determined to lose weight and get in shape so that I'd be ready to promote their osteoporosis product in the Summer!  But on February 13th, I lost out on the job, and it went to Bess (After all, she was the real star of the show).

I was still determined to get back into shape anyway.  I'd get my 20-Minute Work-Out body back, so I could be ready for whatever would show up!!  On March 1, 2011, I started a very disciplined work-out regimen and diet.  On March 6th, I fell and broke my femur.   

And now, I'm exercising on my stationery bicycle for 20 minutes a day, per doctor's orders, until I can walk again.  

It's the 20-Minute Way!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Bane of My Existence?

They look innocent in the photo, but these three are the culprits.  They are the reason for my current unfortunate circumstance.  They are the cause to my clumsy effect.  It's foolish to say "it's all their fault", because I'm the one who stepped in it, but they are the diggers.  They dig to stave off boredom, they dig to amuse themselves, they dig for the sheer joy of it!  How could they have possibly known that their pack leader would slide into one of their deep (3 foot, 10 inch), dark, perfectly executed tunnels?  

And now we're ALL grounded.

It's been 6 weeks since the fateful fall that broke my femur in two places, and landed me in surgery.  I'm still in a wheelchair, and I've not been able to play with the dogs.  Daily dog walks are a thing of the past.  After all,  I am the dog walker around here.  They are my dogs for all intents and purposes.  I am the one who insisted on rescuing each one of them.  I dragged Spike (the black one) and her sister, Sugar, home after finding them as tiny pups in the street a block from our home.  (Sugar has already gone to Dog Heaven, but that's another doggone long story).  

When Spike was about 8 months old, she escaped our yard and got hit by a car.  She nearly lost her leg, and I nursed her back to health for several months while she couldn't walkOver these past 6 weeks, Spike and I have been commiserating.  She and I both know who the lead digger is, and Spike is very, very sorry.  Little Shortie, (the red one) doesn't know what to make of the frightening walker, but she's gotten the knack of avoiding the wheelchair.  Lily, seems to have adjusted okay to having her tail run over by the wheels.  They all miss their routines immensely, but they seem to know their leader has fallen.  (pun intended)

So here I am, lounging in bed, late into the day, day after day.  I have lost all routine.  I have no ambition.  I have no hustle, no creative juices flowing.  I have no new real estate prospects. I've lost clients.  I have no income!   I didn't ask for this respite, and I am wondering what the hell I'm supposed to learn?  That I'm lazy?  'Cause I'm kind of getting used to being unproductive.  What do I want to do with my life once I can walk again?  Who knows?  All I can do right now is heal.  And all because on a glorious Sunday morning six weeks ago, while playing with Spike,  I stepped back and fell into a deep, dark, dog dug hole.

Yeah, I'd say they're the bane of my existence.  But not because I don't love them.  But specifically, because I can't walk them.