10 Things for the Spring of Vaccines

I appreciated the reminder text.

Many of us will be vaccinated in the coming months. Many of us already are, as we pursue herd immunity from COVID19. I recently completed my second dose of the Moderna vaccine at my neighborhood Rite Aid. The following information may be helpful or comforting to you.

Thankfully, shots don’t bother me.

I am 65, which is a high-risk age group. These ideas can be adjusted for different situations and schedules. Each person will have an individual response to the vaccine. I do not speak for anyone but myself. This is not medical nor moral advice. Much of this information is common sense.

Apologies to the wonderful musical, Hamilton.

Here are ten suggestions I found helpful. Please leave any additional positive suggestions you may have in the comments.

Helpful Ideas

  1. Schedule your appointment, if you have a choice, for a Friday or Saturday so you have the weekend to take it easy. Your body is doing good work as it responds to the vaccine and will benefit from some rest.
  2. Clear your schedule for 24- to 48-hours following the vaccine, especially the second dose, to anticipate recovery from any side effects. Relax. Plan ahead for meals, groceries, and necessary chores. Dress comfortably. Put your feet up. Your energy may come and go, so listen to your body. You may not need the time to recover, but you’ll feel ready, which is less stressful, and that’s good.
  3. Stay hydrated, which is always a good idea. Plenty of water is helpful.
  4. If you and your main helpful person (spouse, partner, roommate, relative, friend) get vaccinated, avoid getting vaccinated on the same day. If you encounter side effects, the other can help out. But if you both are down with side effects, that could be more difficult.
  5. Schedule your vaccination, if you have a choice, for later in the afternoon. It is easier to slow down at that time of the day for many. People could then enjoy a nice dinner, unwind, and go to bed. Sleep is helpful in recovering from side effects and also boosting your immune system.
  6. An ice bag may be helpful. I iced my upper arm for 20- to 30-minutes with my first dose and then again for my second dose. It helped address the mild but annoying pain. I liked that.
  7. Enjoy a bowl ice cream or your other favorite dessert. Kids got treats for being good patients when I was young. I think that there is some comfort in that. A sweet treat certainly got my mind off the general feeling of malaise that I felt. It was a nice reward.
  8. Avoid arguments. We all know this vaccination is not without controversy. Everyone should do their research, talk with their physician and pharmacist, decide who and what to trust, accept that we cannot know everything about this at this time, and make their best choice.
  9. Get extra rest and stay hydrated. Those are worth repeating.
  10. Sign up for the V-safe app, if you feel comfortable doing so. I am happy to help the CDC monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines through my feedback. For more information, go to V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker.

Stay healthy and community-minded, my friends.

P.S. Here is helpful information for When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.

Did I Mention Prevention?

I take prevention seriously. I’m on the five-year plan in this case. I have the pleasure…no, that’s not quite accurate. I have the privilege…nope, not exactly the right word either, although having health insurance that covers the procedure is a privilege, and I am grateful. I have the practice (that works!) of having a colonoscopy every five years. This was my year. Again.

Prevention is helpful. My mom was diagnosed with colon cancer in her early young 80’s. That gave me the fast pass to more regular (pun intended) colonoscopies. I was fifty-years-old at the time, the expected time to start the exam. I just completed my fourth one. By the way, my mom survived colon cancer, thankfully. People without a family history of colon cancer typically get one every ten years.

Please take prevention seriously. Perhaps you’ve heard about how a colonoscopy can prevent or even treat colon cancer early enough to correct it. Perhaps you agree that it sounds like a good idea. Perhaps you are a procrastinator. It is understandable. Perhaps you should schedule one soon, depending on your age and situation.

Prevention is only good if you take the steps. I want to encourage everyone to do so when it’s your turn. I also hope you have insurance to help cover it. Here is a great four-minute video explaining the procedure and the peace of mind it can bring. If you are unfamiliar with the colonoscopy, this may help you feel more relaxed about getting one.

Let’s switch to the prep part of the experience. The day prior to the procedure, the goal is to clean up your colon for picture day. I’m looking forward to when they make this easier. The first part with a diet of clear liquids, a day that could include jello, apple juice, and broth, goes fine. I had to just get over how much I enjoy three meals a day. I drank extra water and clear beverages all day, which is really helpful for staying full and avoiding dehydration, which helps the nurse find your vein for the IV the next day.

I always use a straw to shoot the prescription laxative right down my throat and shorten the time it spends sliding across my taste buds.

In the evening, it’s showtime. I used the prescription laxative, as always, but this one was new to me. I’m glad they make advances in this category. Someday, if the laxative is a chewable tablet that comes in an easy to tolerate flavor, I’m buying stock in the company.

This time I was happy to find out there was less to drink. That’s a good thing and an advancement since my first one. Let’s just say it really worked well. Don’t picture colon fireworks. Don’t picture the thrust of flames at a rocket launch with the rocket not leaving the toilet seat. Just don’t. It is an exciting time and everything usually comes out alright. In the end. And we get to do it all over again the morning of the procedure. Those prescriptions are effective and a clean colon makes the colonoscopy go better.

My husband surprised me with a package of Charmin. We don’t usually buy that brand. I really appreciated the extra comfort for this event. Very romantic.

Back to the prep. I got my supplies ready and poised near the toilet. I planned to camp out for an hour. Or two. I got some reading done. I played a game on my phone. Time to myself is often a luxury, just not in this situation. It is a good idea to keep friends and relatives away from the bathroom door in case of smells or sounds that could embarrass one. Light a candle in a favorite – or any scent. I’m considering getting a padded toilet seat for my next round.

I was able to sleep fine that night. I had to get up early for round two of the laxative. I was feeling clean and confident by the time I was ready to head over for the procedure. All I could think of was lunch. My colonoscopy was mid-morning, so lunch was my goal. Having something to look forward to, to focus on, is helpful. Mind over matter. I felt proud of my effort once the prep was done and I’m ready for my little inspection and the nap that comes with it.

Every patient gets to wear a face mask this year. No surprise. I wondered if it would feel weird, confining. It did not.

I got wheeled into the procedure room. A team of three men in masks and medical clothes all introduced themselves to me. Not awkward. I was so ready to have it all over with for five more years. After the introductions and pleasantries, I woke up in recovery and felt just fine. It seems to go just that quickly.

The procedure went so fast. My results were all clear. That is tremendous peace of mind. I am thankful to the people who do this for a living. Of course, they send you home with pictures. I’m choosing one now for our family Christmas card photo.

I got a wheelchair ride downstairs where my husband waited outside to take me home. I discipline myself to take it easy for the rest of the day, and that always pays off. And my lunch was delicious. I always choose macaroni and cheese.

Since it is 2020 and things are uncomfortable anyway, why not just add a colonoscopy to the mix and make your intention prevention?

Stay healthy, my friends.

P.S. I have to include this comedian sharing his colonoscopy experience, both the abbreviated version in the video and the full column from the Miami Herald. Here is Dave Barry. If you need a few laughs at this time in your life, this could help.

This is a summary if you prefer watching to reading.

Here is the link to the article: Dave Barry Article, Miami Herald

“Stay at Home” Get-Away

Here it is, early August. We are still under a “stay at home” order. Summer is winding down. Did you get out of town for vacation? Some of us did. Some of us did not.

We had reservations at the Blue Lantern Inn, Dana Point, California, to celebrate a milestone birthday with an ocean view. We made the reservations back in January this year, when life was simpler. I didn’t want to cancel until closer to the weekend, hoping for things to improve regarding the pandemic. They did. Briefly, at least.

As the weekend approached, I debated back and forth if it would be a good idea to go or not. It did seem to be a low risk activity. I spoke to the inn personnel. I consulted my doctor. I researched online. We had until seven days prior to cancel for a full refund. So on that day, we decided we’d go. The commitment was made. I totally overthought it, but I wanted to be safe, not sorry.

We had a lovely time. We did practice social distancing by simply relaxing in the room or sitting out on the balcony, except to go pick-up food. We followed the requirement to wear a mask when we were outside our room. We washed our hands. And hoped for the best.

Basically, we went “glamping” – the term for glamorous camping. Not knowing what to quite expect, and basically quarantining ourselves to the room, we packed extra supplies. The inn was not doing housekeeping once guests checked in. There was no food service. Here are some some things we did to make this work.

Our lovely room. It was cleaned prior to our arrival, and left empty for 24-hours before our check-in, according to protocol.
We picked up Friday night dinner at a local restaurant and ate on the balcony of the room. We brought dishes, napkins, and tableware which came in handy.
The view was delightful. If you choose to stay in your room, having a view is a good idea.
We brought our own breakfast buffet: sourdough coffee cake that Glen had made, and slices of cheese. We ate this both Saturday and Sunday with coffee.
Since there was no housekeeping, and we’d brought plates and utensils from home, I did the dishes in the bathroom sink with dish soap, dish cloth, and a drying towel brought from home.
Our drying rack was a place mat from home.
We brought a jar and some tea bags and made sun tea for the afternoon.
We really enjoyed the change of scenery from our home.
Random snacks from home.
Happy hour on the balcony.
We got take-out for dinner, too. It was too cold to eat outside, so we moved the balcony table and chairs in by the little fireplace. The restaurant did no include napkins or tableware, so I was glad we had brought some.

We cancelled our vacation plans for May. We cancelled our vacation plans for this month. With our current uncertain circumstances, it seemed to be the wisest thing for us. I’m glad we did get one weekend away. It wasn’t the get-away we’d had in mind when we made the reservation last January, but we had a good time.

Blue Lantern Inn, Dana Point; Photo Credit: Trip Advisor

Where did you get away to this summer? What did you give up?

Stay charming, my friends.

Another Pandemic and I

Back in the early 1900s, a man was busy with his young wife raising their two little boys. In 1918, reportedly at age 22, that woman tragically lost her life. My dad told me she died of complications of the flu. Now I realize it was probably the Spanish Flu, another pandemic. Such a painful loss of life and love gone too soon.

A few years later, Joseph remarried. Little, lovely Emma became his wife. They gave birth to another boy, his third son. That son grew, and years later he became my dad.

My beloved paternal grandparents
My father (second from right, army uniform), his half-brothers (on both ends), and my grandfather, (second from left).

I cannot quite get my head around it. I might not be here if it were not for a tragic family consequence of the Spanish Flu. I don’t feel good about that, but it is interesting. This connects me in an odd way to another historic, serious, disruptive health crisis and the changes it brought, the impact it had.

The heartache was very real for so many back then, including my own grandfather, and it is today with our pandemic. The frustration is a daily burden, then and now. There are no easy answers. No more shortcuts. But good will come.

Generations from now, when this is history, what story will they tell?

[I don’t know who’s photo this is. If you have copyright information for it, please contact me.]

Stay safe, my friends!

Ankle Reflections


I twisted my ankle on the evening of June 25, 2018. On June 26th, my birthday, I was informed it was broken, put in a temporary cast, and handed a pair of crutches. (Add moving around on crutches to my description of Hell.)

Ankle Cast & Crutches

On June 27th, I visited my foot doctor and got the temporary cast removed in exchange for a boot, much more tolerable. Next stop was to pick up a knee scooter, the best thing ever invented for staying off your foot, ankle, and leg to comply with your doctor’s “no weight-bearing for four to six weeks” instructions. I settled in for a long summer’s rest.

Ankle Scooter

My scooter…with my companions, the stuffed toy flamingo, Scarlet, and our dog, Samson the 2nd. The flamingo, a.k.a. Gladys, as Glen called her, was my inspiration animal. Flamingos are brilliant at life on one leg. The shoe for my working leg rests on my fluffy knee pad, ready to go when I get up.

In early August, we determined that the ankle did not heal well after six-weeks, so surgery followed on August 15, the day after our wedding anniversary.

Ankle Surgery Drawing

The surgeon trimmed the fragment at the base of the fibula and reattached ligaments.

My housebound scooting life was extended for another five weeks non-weight bearing to heal. I elevated my foot above my head, as directed, for weeks.

Ankle Post-Surgery Boot Elevation

Propped up in the bedroom, looking out to the living room.

And heal I did! [Insert applause and cheers.] I advanced to walking with a walker on September 19, 2018. I was able to retire the walker twelve days later.

On October 1, 2018, I took my first steps on my own. As I write, I’m still in a boot and walking is challenging, but progress is mine! This has been a long journey with many ups and downs.

I have a short list of lessons learned to share with you. I think the list applies to most struggles, so perhaps you will relate to it. Perhaps it will help us find courage together when hard days come. For those of you who express your spirituality differently than I do, thank you for accepting my references to God and my connection to him in this post.

Ankle Reflections

  1. Work toward a healthier weight through healthy eating. When you depend on your upper body to support you in times like this, extra pounds make that harder.
  2. Work toward physical strength, flexibility, and endurance. Take good care of your body so you are better equipped in physical struggles.
  3. Focus on the present and what’s true. When times are hard, it is easy to be negative and fill with fear. Counteract that by staying in the moment and thinking through what is true, shutting down discouraging “what if…” thoughts.
  4. Enjoy the fact that God is with you and goes before you. He loves you.
  5. Priorities can include slow living, developing your gifts, investing in your passions while you are sidelined. Be creative in doing that. Enjoy good people, good moments, good movies, and good meals.
  6. Time with people you love is life-giving. Be grateful for the time you have to visit while you wait to rejoin the hectic life you knew before.
  7. Togetherness with friends and family in your home is meaningful and rich. They do not care what you look like, nor how the house is not as clean as you’d like. Get over it and enjoy the company.
  8. Busy is often a choice that short circuits peace.
  9. Guard against personal idols – things you counted on for happiness that do not keep that promise in hard circumstances.
  10. Be grateful that God meets our needs, even when so much of normal life or how you had it pictured gets stripped away. You still have what you need in the moment, though you may not recognize it until later.
  11. Clutter around the house is a burden when you are limited physically. Clear it out to make moving around the house, reaching what you need, and enjoying your space easier. Having less to take care of when you can’t get around, or even in good health, is a benefit, too.
  12. Combat fear and the desire to control or it will eat you alive.
  13. Watch fear in medical situations dissipate with trusting God in new ways, and having friends or family accompany you to appointments and procedures.
  14. Waiting is an easy difficult practice of high value. Learn to do it well.
  15. Results are often beyond our control, as is timing. Watch for God’s intimate involvement in both, and just do the very next thing you have to do. Don’t think ahead.
  16. Friendship is wealth to the soul. Connection with a local church brings support in ways that melt the scared heart. A hard-working husband and best friend is an amazing gift, and such a loving, caring support in times of physical limits. Let people help and give you time to rest and recover. It’s good for everyone. Lose your desire to pay them back, and commit to helping others when you are able instead.
  17. Develop a living space that is one-level without steps to manage for times when your legs are not doing what they were designed to do.
  18. Slow mornings are a luxury. If you can rest comfortably, don’t wish that away.
  19. If you are comfortable, you will find time to do things you want to do, but never had the time to sit still long enough to do them. Embrace that, but understand that healing sometimes demands all your creative energy, so be patient with yourself when you feel too depleted to be creative with projects and interests.
  20. A lovely view from your resting room is a gift to your soul. Bird feeders, flowers, plants, trees, the sky, if included in your view, are calming to the soul. The activity of birds and butterflies, moving clouds and the breeze, and noises in the neighborhood all help you realize you are not alone.

Ankle London Pastry

A sweet friend sent favorite cinnamon buns from London Pastry, Redmond, Washington to encourage me during this time. Fun friends make hard times better.

Ankle Get Well Flowers

Another friend saw Glen at the grocery store and handed him a big note and a bunch of flowers. This was another of many moments that made this difficult time easier.

Stay charming, friends! In good days, and also, with special blessings, in rough seasons.

Sick Day Slows Life Down

Colds are never welcome, no matter when they show up. Colds never arrive at a good time. But slowing down is always a good idea. I stayed home from work today recovering from a bad cold, an uninvited holiday guest that came to visit on Saturday. When I was a classroom teacher, I often got a cold once Winter Break began. Teachers have their theories on why that seems to happen. Today, since I’m no longer teaching, I am so glad I don’t have to prep substitute teacher plans , in addition to feeling lousy.

Posting a Blog 2017-12-11

My cold battle tool kit includes: naps, lots to drink (and a nearby bathroom), a small paper bag that moves around the house with me for used tissues, tea, tea, tea, Advil, chicken noodle soup, a box of soft tissues, and hot showers. I also use these additional items when home sick with a cold: good movies to watch, a book to read, possibly some magazines, a place to put up my feet, and “Breathe,” a doTERRA essential oil blend, often used in the bedroom with a diffuser. I haven’t used other over-the-counter cold products for years.

Bigelow Tea for the win! With a side of saline nasal spray.

On the bright side, I am grateful it is just a cold, and not the flu or worse. If I manage it well and don’t push myself, it will simply pass over time and not complicate. Colds are annoying, but not a tragic health situation for most people. I am definitely thankful for that. As we get older, we need to be more cautious in caring for ourselves. I could take life full speed ahead with a cold when I was younger. Now I have more respect for the healing process and the need for rest, in order to avoid complications.

Also from a perspective of gratitude, I am grateful my job provides sick days. My heart goes out to those who lose pay when they have to call in sick. As a side note, it was always sad when sick students came to school, because parents could not skip work to care for them at home.

Thirdly, in this positive spin on a cold, I am always grateful to courteous co-workers who stay home when they are really sick. It helps protect the rest of us from catching the cold or flu. When ailing co-workers show up at the office, it puts the rest of us at risk. So use your sick days for the sake of the others. And, again, I wish all workers had the luxury of sick day benefits.

So, this week’s blog post is rather dull. Never the less, I hope we each remember to carve some essential time into your December to slow down, enjoy a cup of your favorite winter beverage, and pause to be present in the moment at some point each day. Always more enjoyable without a cold, but I’m reminded again of the value of slowing down.

Hot Cocoa Close Up 2017-12

Hot cocoa, with marshmallows, whip cream, holiday sprinkles, and a snowflake

Let me end with a bit of humor. Perhaps there is perceived truth to this quote below. I have not given birth, but I have experienced a husband with a cold.

Man with Cold

Stay charming and healthy, my friends!

20 Tips for Thriving in a Foot Boot

The doctor just informed you that someone would be right in to show you how to wear the boot you’ll be married to for weeks, depending on your situation. For me it was a three-week relationship, and then two more weeks. For a broken pinky toe. Seemed like a lot, when all I heard from others was “they don’t do anything for sprained or broken toes.” Oh, but they do. And these words hung in the air at the podiatrist’s office that day, “Let’s see if we can avoid surgery. We might need to put a pin in your small toe.” I suddenly found motivation to manage the inconvenience. Clunk around in a boot in the heat of the summer to avoid surgery? I can do this!

Anyway, during our newly formed relationship, my boot and I have realized there are some ways to make this whole commitment more pleasant. Here are our twenty tips to make the most of an undesired situation.

1. Ask for a boot that matches your dog. But really, don’t bother. They only come in black from what I can tell. Our dog, Samson, is a yellow lab. You’d be able to tell the color of his fur just by looking at my boot. So I have some choices, since my dog does not match my boot. I can try to keep the fur off of it or at least to a minimum. I gave up on that. So, my next best choice has two parts: 1) think of the fur as tiny little love letters from the pup; and 2) act as if I am unaware of the light dog fur all over my black boot. Another possibility is to do a brief dog exchange with a friend who owns a chocolate or black dog.

2. Cherish the convenience of getting dropped off closer to the door of the day’s destinations, when you are riding with someone else.

3. Make up a glamorous story of what happened. Jamming my pinky toe on a bedroom chair leg just does not get the attention I deserve. Someone suggested I say, “Shark bite.”

4. Pretend you are a stellar athlete, a legend in your own mind, with a long successful career, and lament that you could have made the Olympic team of your choice, even still at your vintage age.

5. Accept that the boot is actually awkwardly comfortable, though not your first choice, and choose to adjust to it without whining. Too much.

6. Remember anytime we are forced to slow down it is actually a good thing.

7. Celebrate each and every week you complete on your journey! Treat yourself to something sweet, dinner out, flowers, or whatever brings you a sense of reward and joy in the moment. Notice the progress in the small steps.

8. Do not cheat the boot. Do not leave the boot at home and don your sassy little sandals for that special social event. Be true to the boot, and truly wear it every day all day according to the doctor’s instructions. My shoe choice was quite limited. Respect the boot.

9. Enjoy the icebreaker, the conversation starter role it plays.

10. Be grateful. It could be worse. See the positive. Time will pass. This will be a memory some day. Healing is happening. It is usually not related to 3D’s of true despair: death, disease, or divorce. It is inconvenient, but not tragic in most cases. However, if you are in a lot of pain, we recognize this is more of a challenge.

11. Your pride may take a hit. Don’t hit back. Smile daily and realize the boot is a healing tool, and on your team. Clunk along through your day. Do your part with pride on the healing journey.

12. Ask a good friend with a steady hand to paint greetings on your toenails. Remember the word needs to be readable from the observer’s angle, not yours. Paint something with five letters, or four and a space. People who stare down at your boot might get a chuckle. And you, too. The letters will be upside down and backwards from your view. Examples:

• I’ M (space toe) O K
• H E L L O

13. Avoid deep puddles. With minor puddles, you will be high and dry in the boot. With one foot, anyway.

14. Make your boot your BBFF, your Boot Best Friend Fornow. Go everywhere together. Find ways to be comfortable. Elevate it at home. Stretch your leg out at the table.

15. Try essential oils. I read online, the ultimate source for truth and accurate information, that a blend of oils would help bones heal. I don’t know if it really helped or not, but it was worth a try. I contacted my local essential oil friend, and she made me a certain blend in a roll-on bottle. The fragrance is calming to me at least, and rubbing it gently in the toe area stimulated circulation and relaxed stressed tissue. Remember, I am not giving promises or medical advice, so check with your physician, alternative medicine person, or essential oils friends.

16. Recognize this opportunity to craft your character: build patience, trust in the process, find contentment, persevere, find joy in more than your circumstances, and build empathy for others with physical challenges. Stronger character and being secure in your joys that exist outside your circumstances is lovely.

17. Ask for and accept help as needed. You may or may not be able to do everything you did before the boot. Don’t be a martyr. You’ve helped many. It’s your turn to accept generosity of spirit from helpful others.

18. Be kind to yourself. A warm soak in Epsom salts and fresh lavender is a simple homemade pampering moment for me. We do work harder to live a normal life when we are in a splint or boot. Take care of yourself. Stop for a cup of coffee you’d enjoy, or whatever little thing perks you up.

19. Cheer at bed time. You’ve made it through another day!

20. Keep chocolate handy. That can sweeten any rough day. For me, it’s dark chocolate. A few squares, if you can maintain self-control, takes your mind off the challenges of the day, if only for a moment or two of bliss.

I need to acknowledge a few things that made my boot time more tolerable: I’ve experienced minimal to no pain. I don’t have to sleep in the boot. I live on the first floor. I injured my left foot, not my driving foot. I am married to a considerate and helpful man. I know we all have different things that contribute to our contentment and recovery, and I want to give credit to those who deal with healing with additional bumps in the road. Your experience may be harder than mine, and my heart goes out to you.

Even though we are older, probably more cautious, and generally not the risk takers we once were, accidents still happen. It is so helpful to keep a great attitude and follow the doctor’s orders. Do you have any good ideas to share to help us endure recovery when something health related has sent us a curve ball pitch? Share in the comments.

Even when limping, stay charming, friends!

Balance Is Beautiful

When I hear the word “balance,” I often think of work/life balance. Am I spending too much time working and not enough time living? Are the activities that matter most to me getting my attention? Am I finding time to relax, eat right, and sleep well? Balance is a matter of time management, priority focus, and self-discipline, right?

Not always. In fact, this post is about physical balance, another vital part of well-being.

A few months ago, I woke up with vertigo. I’ve been told this is often how it happens – we just wake up one day with a sense of spin in our heads, making it feel like the room is moving. We cannot hold our eyes still until the perceived spin stops. Never a fun feeling. Although it seems to be more of a problem as people age, it affects all ages and is common.

Oh, that upside down feeling! Ugh!

It turns out, as you may know, we each have small crystals that form in our ears and usually get absorbed in a gel. But when that doesn’t happen for some reason, they float. They rock back and forth before settling down. As we change our head position, we feel a spin, called vertigo. It can be discouraging and slow us down. If you’ve suffered with vertigo, you know what I mean.

For help, I made an appointment with a local physical therapy group at PPT – Professional Physical Therapists. Renee helped me with the non-invasive Epley Maneuver. My vertigo has been relieved and I am so grateful!

PPT Professional Physical Therapy Associates

Here’s an explanation on this condition, called BPPV, from Dr. Scott Sanders, a fellow Purdue University alum:

While at the physical therapists’ office, I am also learning balance exercises. Many of us realize our balance changes as we age. What I didn’t know is I can take steps to improve balance and to prevent falls. That is good news.

I am learning exercises and making some lifestyle changes, like walking with my toes up at the beginning of each step, to prevent trips. I do like traveling, but trips are no fun when they send you crashing to the ground.

Here is a good article related to balance. I want to share it with you, if you’d like additional information: Age-related Imbalance Can Be Treated

In case you cannot access the article, I’ll share the text at the end of this post. The article was on Linkedin and is written by Dr. Scott K. Sanders, Neuro-ophthalmologist, and Stephanie Ford, PT, at BalanceMD in Indianapolis and Lafayette, Indiana. They share some good information on maintaining our balance in our later years. If you have aging parents or friends, and/or if you’ve noticed you feel a bit wobbly at times, this is for you. The good news is we can strengthen our balance.

Also, I’ve included a link to an interesting video that gives even more perspective on balance, again for those interested in further information. It is amazing how the body works!

Click here to watch the brief Balance Overview video: Balance: Overview

Join me in becoming pro-active with maintaining balance ourselves or encouraging loved ones a generation ahead of us to do the same. It is valuable to build understanding of our bodies and the changes as we age. We can find hope and strength in seeking to understand our issues and options for improvement. Understanding helps me push through the fear of unfamiliar territory. I hope this encourages you, too.

Stay balanced and charming, friends! And thanks for subscribing using the buttons below.

This post is to offer information only and should not be viewed as medical advice. Please consult your health professionals.

Age-related Imbalance Can Be Treated
By Dr. Scott K. Sanders, Neuro-ophthalmologist and Stephanie Ford, PT

While balance is not going to be the same for someone in their 70s as it was in their 30s, that doesn’t mean dizziness or imbalance have to be accepted as a normal part of aging. Just as muscle strength and flexibility diminish with age, the three main sensory systems associated with balance (proprioception, vision and vestibular) diminish as well. Changes in any or all of these sensory systems can add up to a significant problem with balance. However, similar to muscle strength, the function of these systems and the brain’s ability to use these systems in cooperation, can improve with practice and exercise. This is where a specialized form of physical therapy (PT) known as vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) comes into play. We often tell our patients we are “strengthening” their balance system with vestibular system exercises just like we strengthen muscles through exercise. However, the exercises necessary to accomplish improved balance just happen to be quite different, focusing on the sensory part of balance.

Dizziness and imbalance can result from a variety of or combinations of factors. Any condition that leads to damage of the vestibular system, such as vestibular neuritis, Meniere’s disease, or vestibular schwannoma, can result in dizziness and/or imbalance. Those with peripheral neuropathy and/or vision loss can suffer with imbalance as well. But many with imbalance have normal vestibular function, intact proprioception and vision, yet are still off balance. These patients may be suffering from presbyastasis or “dysequilibrium of aging”. Presbyastasis is a complex condition in which age-related physiologic changes occur, none of which would necessarily be symptomatic on their own, but the combination of changes results in imbalance and an increased risk of falling. When those with presbyastasis begin to feel off balance or fall, they may limit their activities due to a fear of falling and then begin a vicious cycle, eventually becoming debilitated due to inactivity.

Today, we are seeing more and more older adults trying to stay active and have a good quality of life as they age. Expecting dizziness or imbalance as inevitable or untreatable may limit confidence in balance and overall quality of life. Community exercise classes that focus on balance, such as Tai Chi, can be quite helpful. But the most targeted and effective approach is VRT with a qualified and experienced PT, in which the therapist performs a comprehensive balance assessment to determine which of many potential factors are contributing to an individual’s imbalance. Then, an individualized plan of care is developed and implemented to reduce the risk and fear of falling. The exercises are easy to do at home and make a large impact on balance, confidence and quality of life.

BalanceMD is a specialty medical clinic designed to help all patients suffering from dizziness, vertigo and imbalance. For further information or to schedule an appointment, click here to go to our website, http://www.BalanceMD.net, or call toll free 888-888-DIZZY (3499).

Fashion Boot Camp

I had a random idea the other day. What if we combine two trendy, popular things? Local gyms offer “boot camps” for getting in shape. These opportunities are so popular with some of my friends in our area, so why not ramp it up for fun and fashion with fashion boot camp?

Shake your bootie?? Does that count as exercise? (Pardon the pun.)

With fall coming, those strappy, little sandals go back in the closet. Out come the fashion boots! Just pull on your favorite fashion boots, and head to Fashion Boot Camp to get a rigorous, fat-burning, body challenging work out in style! Who wouldn’t think that was a great idea? Probably me, actually. And perhaps orthopedic surgeons, if things take a turn with a tall-heeled boot.

Nordstrom, Steve Madden, $119

We all know the many benefits of staying active and fit. We all know the variety of ways to do that. We’d all like to be active and fit, and understand it is essential for staying as healthy as possible. Why is it so hard to fit in our day and stay consistent?

Pam taps. Jane rides her bike. Charmaine works out in water aerobics. Amy hikes. Brynne does Barre. Annette walks. Physical activity comes in all varieties. Have you found what works for you? What’s your preference? Maybe boot camp is your thing.

I struggle to make time for a good fitness routine. Building consistency, creating the habit is a challenge. I love to go on walks. It calms me, gets me outdoors, and works a variety of muscles. I can throw on a pair of good walking shoes and head out my front door for a variety of walks. I even own a small Fit Bit or can use my smart phone to count steps. I want to work up to walking thirty-minutes a day, five days a week. It is just hard for me to get going and stay consistent.

Have you solved the motivation mystery? Please share your secret in the comments. How do you shake off the lazy and get moving? And please pass the chips and guacamole before we get off the couch.

I do use the Stand Up app on my phone at work (more info below). It has an alarm that reminds me to get up from my desk and move a bit throughout the day. That is a helpful reminder, or I’d sit at my computer for hours, and that’s not good.

Maybe there’s an app for rewards for exercising. Perhaps something like after you walk a mile in less time than you did last time, it sends a coupon for a massage, foot massage, or pedicure to your email inbox by the time you cool down. Or maybe if you go to the gym twice a week for a month, the app would send a nice guy in a full tuxedo to your front door to deliver a fresh tray of homemade, still warm from the oven (not the car) chocolate chip cookies. I need to design my own system of reward to help me focus. What’s yours?

Some of you are in the zone already when it comes to a solid fitness routine, commitment, and results. You inspire. May we each find activity that is sustainable, blendable with our lives (is blendable a word?), and enjoyable. May we then make it routine and find it rewarding.

I encourage each of us to keep our good routine or do more than we did last week, if there is room for growth. Check out the many online resources for starting to exercise and doing it in a healthy way. I’ve included a few below. And wear the right shoes.

Stay charming, my friends!

P.S. My boot looks a little different these days. My longer walks are on hold until a broken toe heals.

More Information…
To read more about my first Zumba experience: My First Zumba (2009)

For more information on the Stand Up phone app:Stand Up

A helpful article from The Heart Association: Get Up/Get Active