I watched a crime show a while back where the villainess used a paralytic on her victims so she could pose them like dolls. The authorities would find their lifeless bodies roughly two months after their abduction. There were no wounds, no signs of abuse. The captives had been fed intravenously all the nutrients a body requires. The cause of death? Lack of movement, coupled with the psychological trauma of being imprisoned within the body.
This website is all about encouraging movement. I certainly understand (or at least thought I did) the value of motion. Yet I found this message impactful – the body terminates without movement and will. A TV show, sure, but crime shows are typically based on real-life events. A mere eight or nine weeks of immobility and these previously healthy females in the prime of their lives took their last breaths. Now that’s an eye opener!
My ability to be self-mobile has declined rapidly over the past several months. When I wrote Rolling Along last July – after my first escapade with a rolling walker – I could still get out and about in a mostly vertical stance. Unfortunately, my hopes for this apparatus to create a new level of unencumbered movement for me were unrealized. Funny thing, wheels did nothing for my ability to actually move my legs. Outings from that point on were reduced, movement around the house more and more limited.
No longer able to walk the 100 Steps routes my husband and I scouted, I revised Why Steps? in March to explain how I now handle step counting. Couple that with abundant photos from my husband’s strolls at our selected venues, and I’m still in business to add new walks to 100 Steps.
During our Bandon camping in March, limited movement and energy reduced the scope of our outings, and my participation was from the seated vantage of a transport chair. At that point I resolved to add new information to each 100 Steps walk – wheel friendliness! This is not an ADA rating or specific to chairs; it is intended to cover all rolling mobility devices. You will now see one of these icons next to the Terrain description, depicting yes, no, or maybe the terrain is suitable for someone who depends on wheels.
When we returned from Bandon, I found I could not walk up the stairs. Not wanting to be outdone by a staircase, I went up in reverse on my butt – 14 steps, but I made it. I had the will to move, even if my body refused to cooperate.
A bit freaked out, my husband bought a seated stair lift the next day (thank you Craigslist). This started an avalanche of various assistive devices invading our home: ramps, handles, seats. An electric chair – the type that looks like an office chair perched on a lawnmower – now allows me to get around our house. At first I used it as little as possible, bearing as much as my legs could endure, but that did not last long. Soon the chair was necessary to move anywhere in our home and now even moving from couch to chair is a challenge. Yet it has afforded me a new sense of independence: I can feed our cute pups unassisted again; I can reach the windows to look out; several other more rudimentary self-care tasks remain possible. Although not self-propelled, it is still a form of movement.
I have a queue of places to add to 100 Steps, plus several more Roundups in mind, so I’m a long way from being out of material for this website. I will adapt and adjust my approach to the site, much as I do my ever-changing physical condition. It has always been a goal for 100 Steps to have multiple authors, allowing others to share their own walks. My depleted health is extra incentive to move forward with that enhancement as time allows. It will not interfere with my own efforts to keep moving, though. 100 Steps has always been an aid for movement not only in others, but primarily myself. It will continue to be so.
My leg muscles are literally wasting, much like the captive women must have experienced, but I do have will, which will propel me to move as much as my abilities allow. Isometrics, stretching, and standing for 1 minute while death-gripping the kitchen counter are challenging for me, but that is my current level of fitness. I do not know if I will ever recover to degree or even if this rapid decline will cease. I do know movement – outer, inner, both – are essential to life, so in one form or another I will continue to do so.
Mobility is a luxury. Value what you have. Cultivate it as you would a sensitive plant. Move to live.