Taking a breather

Friday 12th March 2019:

It’s been an eventful week…in my new slower-paced life at least.

I’m now legally allowed to drive again so that’s given me back a bit of independence. Driving…on my own…just me! It’s been like passing my test for the first time all over again and looking over my shoulder to see there’s no instructor in the passenger seat. Let loose! I love driving. I might venture across Europe over the summer…if I can get a travel insurer to cover me…ever again.

Even more fulfilling than driving was persuading Matt, my Heartbeat gym instructor, to let me run on the treadmill yesterday, instead of walk. Oh my God, it felt amazing! However, I was given a strict instruction not to let my heart rate tip over 155 beats per minute during the three-minute rep. I didn’t take my eyes off the monitor on my watch. I made it to two minutes and 30 seconds before it shot up to 160. You’ve seriously never seen a person move more swiftly than me pressing the buttons to slow the machine down until I was at a steady walking pace again. I felt absolutely fine but I didn’t want to chance it. Get me…control freak, following orders. Now that’s progress.

I suspect further changes are afoot as I also had my first NHS Health Coaching session today with Chris. The first question he asked me: “Do you ever breathe?” I guess I didn’t need to tell him my school reports always said: “Susan (my Sunday name) talks too much!” or that just about everyone in my life is always telling me to slow down. Chris very much had the measure of me after just one hour…runs on adrenaline, fills every spare minute…not to mention gap in conversation. Now I know where my children get it. I’ve got three goals this week…reduce caffeine (gulp), take more breaks and…you’ve guessed it…breathe. He’s as bad as my watch!

I’m learning to listen to my body though…slowly. Most days I’m taking an afternoon nap wrapped in the pink and green (odd colour combo I know) blanket my great grandma crocheted…it’s always a go-to comforter. I also stopped my yoga session halfway through on Wednesday because my kidney infection was making me feel grim. But as well as holding me back in some aspects of my life, my body is also recovering incredibly well in others. When I was first out of hospital I had to stop several times while ascending a flight of stairs. Now I can almost bound up them…just don’t tell Matt. After all, as Chris reminded me, it’s only been five weeks since my heart attack and I’m already frustrated and questioning why I’m not back to normal already…in fact now isn’t soon enough, I always want things done yesterday…last week.

This is quite some learning curve.

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