Less of Me: Week Four

Gimpy the Foot.

Less of Me is going to be a little unusual for a while.

There may be a blessing in this unusualness, since I’m being forced to search for ways to live healthy in a wheelchair. I know I’m not the only person who needs this information and if I figure out anything useful, I’m going to share. 

If you’ve followed this series, you know that I resolved to do more exercise and get healthy and promptly fell down and broke my foot and cracked my hip.

The first week was kind of lousy. But this week the pain backed off and I began to feel golden. I hefted myself up, kicked the wheelchair aside with my good foot and reached for the walker.

Now there are probably those among you who associate walkers with feeble, slow-pokey type locomoting. But you’ve got it all wrong. If you doubt that, I challenge you to spend a week or so trapped in the bottom floor of a two-story house in a wheelchair. Kicking that wheelchair aside was powerful.

I clomped around the house with the walker. I even went into the kitchen, whose entry is too narrow for the wheel chair. I was like a step-clomp-step-clomp bird let out of her cage. When my husband came home from work, I persuaded him to take me for a drive and I step-clomped my way to the car.

There is no Olympic Gold Medalist who is any happier with their athletic achievements than I was with that step-clomp walk to the car. I came home and started planning my new life of freedom.

The next day, I got up and noticed that the hardware in Gimpy the Foot was sticking up. It made an ugly bulge through the bandages. Didn’t hurt. Or at least not much. (I quit taking pain meds so I would know if I was hurting Gimpy when I used the walker.) But it wasn’t where it had been.

I called the doc and he said go to the er. Said they had my old x-rays, could take new ones and see what I’d done to myself. I didn’t do that. I just didn’t want to spend another half-day in the er. I think I also didn’t want to hear any bad news. I’ve got Gimpy propped up and am waiting for my doc’s appointment Tuesday. And I’m back in the wheelchair.

If I moved that hardware and they have to do anything over, I’m …. well, I’m gonna do it over. But, boy, I don’t want to.

The question remains: How does anybody get healthy in a wheelchair? Frankly, if I was going to do this permanently, the first thing I would do is get rid of this house. No more two-story. No more narrow doorways. No more high cabinets and steps up the front porch. (You haven’t lived until you’ve had your son and husband lift your overweight self, in your wheel chair, up the front steps just a few hours after surgery. It’s the scariest ride in town.)

I can tell you that the men I live with don’t cook. They also don’t like healthy take-out. They like junk food. I am scared to think how much weight I’m gaining, sitting here with Gimpy propped up and swilling down the junk.

I’ve started doing some upper body workouts that a reader (Thank you Theresa!) linked for me. They work great in a wheelchair. I’m also going to peruse Amazon for a wheelchair workout cd.

I’m going to send one of my girlfriends out with a list of things that I can eat that aren’t junk food. I’m sending a girlfriend because, if I sent my husband, I wouldn’t get any food. It wouldn’t matter how meticulously I wrote the list. It wouldn’t matter if I sat down and went over it with him before he left. He’d still come back with ice cream, chocolate bars, dip, chips, four liters of soda, and a fire starter for the charcoaler.

After thirty years of marriage, I know these things.

Whatever I ask my friend to buy for me, it’s got to be something I can prepare without going into the kitchen. That’s where you come in.

I’m not much of a domestic goddess, even when I have both my feet. How do I do this with a microwave and a refrigerator?

I’m calling on all you cooks out there for ideas. Send me good ones. If the doc says I’m stuck in this wheelchair for the duration, I’ve got to figure out how to do the wheelchair thing in health.

  • Bill S

    Sounds like someone is ready to consider moving to Oregon.

    Just kidding. Hope you get better soon.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you.

  • http://theraineyview.wordpress.com Serena

    Get well soon.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thanks Serena. I’m actually feel pretty good today.

  • http://actualfreedomjustine.com Justine

    May you get well soon!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thanks Justine.

  • Karen LH

    It’s a bit pricey and all starts to taste the same after a while, but Fiber One cereal, Progresso Lite soups, Smart Ones frozen dinners, and frozen veggies got me through a lot of weight loss.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Karen, these are all things I can do. I’m making a list and they’re on it. Thanks.

  • http://greenlightlady.wordpress.com Wendy Macdonald

    Healthy ways to stave off weight gain that I have found, while told not to eat junk while pregnant 13 yrs ago ( since I have big babies), are to drink water instead of juice or pop, for starters. Juice may seem healthy; but it is loaded with calories. Meanwhile, eating fresh fruits and vegetables (raw) have mostly water, fiber, and nutrition.
    If you can eat healthy food you truly enjoy – you’ll feel more satisfied and less likely to overdo it. Whatever meal you are having – load up the vegetable part while being moderate with the starch and meats.
    Soups and salads made with yummy and nutritious ingredients are filling, satisfying, and leaner than fried meals. The less processed food is, the better it is.
    I make up soup recipes as I go, depending on what’s in the house.

    You made me laugh when you call your foot “Gimpy”. I hope Gimpy behaves and mends quickly so you can navigate your steps without the guys. It sounds like you have a sweet husband, and he probably enjoys carrying his bride over the threshold again!

    Blessings & speedy mending prayers sent your way ~ Wendy

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Wendy. I have a wonderful husband. I love him more every day. I think he was as scared as I was when he and my son lifted me in; afraid they’d hurt me. Right now I have Gimpy in the refrigerator thing the doc wants me to use right now. It keeps Gimpy cold which, it turns out, is better than pain meds. Also reduces swelling and all that. I do one hour on, 30 minutes off, one hour on. Gimpy thrives on it.
      I just got off the phone with a friend who is going shopping for me. Carrot sticks, salad stuff and green peppers (my favorite) were on the list!

  • Theresa

    Hey! Glad to hear the exercises are ‘working-out’ for you! (Punny, I know.)
    Well this is a toughy. On one hand, many “prepared foods” are not ideal/healthy and they tend to cost more. But on the other hand, what’s a gal to do when she’s stuck in a wheelchair. So… assuming that part of what you’re looking for involves minimal clean-up as well, here are my thoughts. (I’m all for saving the planet, but at a time like this, the environment can take one for the team!)

    Breakfast ideas: Yogurt (I prefer the type with granola for a ‘heartier’ option.) Cereal bars or single serving bowls of cereal. Kashi makes some good ones that are low calorie and a little more “natural.” Also, if you like more protein in the morning, Eggland’s Best sells bag-o-hardboiled eggs that are pre-peeled, too!

    Lunch ideas: A lot of produce sections have pre-assembled salads. I’ve seen some with Cobb, Southwestern style and Asian style salads. If you’re into sushi, a lot of grocers have some near their fish counter. A lot of them will offer sushi with some pretty healthy options like brown rice. If the “raw fish” concept weirds you out, they often have rolls that are made with fried (tempura) shrimp. The fat content really isn’t very high since there is a lot more rice and veg than fried shrimp. And you can always use a low-sodium soy sauce. Bumblebee tuna makes several portable lunch items. If that doesn’t seem filling enough, you could probably get a bag of pita pockets (some sell pre-cut in half!) and a bag of pre-shredded lettuce. It would make for a pretty easy build your own sandwich option. More and more produce sections sell pre-diced tomatoes, too, so that can be part of your list if you like tomatoes.
    Snack ideas: Bag-o- pre-cut-up-apples and JIF sells peanut butter in little individual cups. You might consider a bag of baby carrots and again, some produce sections have celery sticks in a little tub with water. Hidden Valley ranch has little individual serving cups of ranch. I also like the little packets of string cheese or the individual cups of cottage cheese. Some of the cottage cheese cups even come with a separate compartment of fruit topping like pineapple or strawberry.

    Dinner: Assuming by now you’d want something warm, this is probably the trickiest meal. Also, I’m assuming you’re working with a dorm-size fridge so you probably don’t have much of a freezer. I think it’s Minute Rice or Success, that sells individual cups of rice. I’ve seen white, brown and, for flavor, yellow. Sometimes you can find instant potatoes that come in single serving pouches. I bought one once that had a variety of flavors including roasted garlic and a 4 cheese blend. Purdue sells in the refrigerated meat case grilled chicken breast that have been sliced up. You could probably heat those up with the rice or the potatoes and add a sprinkle of a seasoning blend like Mrs. Dash, or add a little low-sodium soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. The deli counter may be pretty helpful too. You can get turkey, ham and roast beef cut a little thicker than you would normally choose for sandwiches. That could be another protein option to warm up. Lawry’s make several marinades in a bottle, like lemon pepper, Tuscan sun-dried tomato and a Baja chipotle lime sauce. Ken’s makes a few too. You can probably add some of that to the meat to make it a little more flavorful when you warm it up in the microwave. Hormel and some generic store brands offer little trays of roast turkey or roast beef in gravy. The only problem with those is they tend to be high in salt which would not be great while you’re stuck sitting in a wheelchair. The deli meats will help you control the salt intake a little better. The produce section sometimes sells bags of pre-cut and blended veggies that can be steamed in the microwave. Green Giant also makes some individual serving cups of veggies, like broccoli in cheese sauce. They are marketed to be a healthy option and often come labeled with weight watcher’s points. They do have to be frozen though so I’m not so sure how that will work for you. Canned soups are always an option but I’m guessing by now you can identify pretty well with the lady in the Progresso commercial with the kitchen full of cans. Hormel, Healthy Choice and Marie Calendar make little microwaveable meals that don’t have to live in the freezer. I tried a Hormel on ONCE and thought I was going to gag so I haven’t been brave enough to try the H.C. or M.C. brands yet. But I’ve heard others say they are good.

    As tempting as diet sodas are during weightloss, I have always found myself hungrier for drinking them. I’ve also seen more studies lately showing that the taste of sweetness is enough to get you’re pancreas all excited and since it starts acting like there was real sugar, people get hungrier. So as tempting as it may be, I’d try to avoid things with 0-cal sweeteners. You’re more likely to be satisfied with a smaller portion of something with real sugar. (Unless you have diabetes or something and then please defer to your doctor!)
    That’s all I got for now. Good luck and don’t over-do it! :) I’ll keep praying for your recovery.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Theresa, these are great ideas! I’ve got more than one friend who wants to shop for me. (Which is good. That way no one has to do too much.) I’m going to put this stuff on the second list.

  • http://hiddeninjesus.wordpress.com jessica shaver renshaw

    Rebecca, you are delightful. We’ll be with family in Edmond between Nov. 17 and Thanksgiving. How can we meet you? Seriously. (You can reply to hiddeninjesus@gmail.com)

    As for ideas for you: my husband’s first wife had MS and was in a wheelchair for most of their 29 years of marriage. His suggestion: give your husband a brain transplant.

    I’m afraid my ideas are just as unhelpful: Get so engrossed in a good book you forget to eat? Or, since we are in a period of 40 days of prayer until the election–fast?

    I told you I wouldn’t be much help. But I’ll pray you get lots of fodder for posts! Then at least we readers will get something out of your injuries. :o) Gosh, I’m terrible at this encouraging business!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Jessica, I think a meet-up would be fun.
      This is exactly what I hope. I’m sitting here laughing, so I think your encouraging skills are great!
      “But I’ll pray you get lots of fodder for posts! Then at least we readers will get something out of your injuries. ) Gosh, I’m terrible at this encouraging business!”

  • Vickie

    Get well soon -here’s a hail Mary for you…

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thank you Vickie.

  • arkenaten

    Phonee for take-out then get them to leave it at the bottom of the drive!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      If I didn’t know you were a man, this would tip me off. :-)

  • http://reluctantliberal.wordpress.com Reluctant Liberal

    Don’t forget about NUTS! Fruits and veggies and nuts and yogurt and eggs and organic meats. Stick to those things, and you’ll be healthier (and feel better) in no time.

    And don’t use your weight as an indicator of your health. Eat healthy food when you’re hungry. Your body knows what it needs. And 95% of all diets fail after two years. You’re much better off eating healthy and exercising often as a fat person than eating junk and not exercising as a skinny person. Don’t let what the scale tells you discourage you from being healthy. If you’re eating right, your diet is working regardless of what the scale says.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      My husband loves peanuts. Me, not so much. But I can crack and eat pecans all day long. I’ll see if I can get a few … but not too many. There’s one of those can’t-eat-just-one foods for me.


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