Back on the Saddle! Yipee!!

I was excited when I woke up this morning because I knew I would be able to do something I love. After my breakfast (cereal w/ vanilla milk & coffee) someone decided to crawl into my bed and didn’t budge until I kicked him out. Yes, it was almost noon and we soon had to get ready for the days activities. He cannot sleep without his baby blanket which I actually bought before he was born.

It’s been exactly 4 months since my ankle surgery. 3 months of recuperating from a full leg cast (50 days), below the knee (2.5 weeks), strengthening my knee and muscles to be able to walk again and 12 sessions of Physical Therapy. My last session was yesterday. Not being able to wait any longer, I rode today. It’s been a while that even my yaya had forgotten our routine, what to prepare, etc.

Because I am half paralyzed or hemiplegic, I do not have full use of my right hand. I cannot drum my fingers but I can close and open them. Meaning I can grip. Therefore, when I ride, I need to bandage my fingers with Mueller tape as not to get blisters from the friction of the reins and my fingers even if I have gloves. I need my yaya Helen to put them for me and put my right hand gloves as well. Boots have been easier to put on since my brace is slimmer and thinner.

I try to schedule my riding days at the same time as Xavier’s football or tennis (then) trainings. For one, they are all in one place and more or less at the same time. We save on gasoline too. Someone’s feet haven’t stopped growing and I doubt they will in the near future.

My groom (the man who takes care of my horse) has been ill (so sad) and has been recuperating in the province until he is well enough to come back to work. In the meantime, it is his son who tends for Jive. To my surprise, it was another groom who helped me get on Jive today. For obvious reasons, he was not used to my “gear”. I use Devonshire Boots which a lot of RDA groups use to stop riders feet slipping through the stirrup, which is very dangerous, couldn’t be found. My dressage whip as well, and having to make a knot on my reins that help keep the contact on the horse’s mouth. Minor setbacks which were immediately rectified. This is how I get on a horse. (the pic taken from my other blog)

After all the preparations, off I went. Jive seemed happy. She knows she has to be a good girl for me to give her her treats of carrots and apples. She was and lo and behold. NOT once was I in pain during my ride. I guess this time I can say that the “goods” (ankle surgery) has been tested. Good job!!

You guessed it right, I was famished when I got home. This is what was waiting at the dinner table. Good ole Putanesca and Fried Chicken.

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April Already?

All of a sudden I became the busy bee or at least felt like it. Been feeling so-so because everyone has just been so darn busy that I couldn’t catch up anymore. I told myself that I should start getting busy too despite the current situation. It’s also reason why I chose to start my way up to the second floor by hook or by crook. To get that feeling of “normalcy”.

My son joined the 56th Luke 18 Weekend at the San Antonio Parish over the weekend, my mom forever out. which left me even more alone. I only had Twitter to keep me company and my current TV shows to watch. Sunday, April 1st, my mom and I had to pick up Xavier from the weekend and attend the parent’s orientation. We were a bit late but I didn’t really mind because, many many years ago, I myself joined the 7th Luke 18 Weekend when I was 11 years old. That was (I’m not counting…) years ago! It was indeed nostalgic because I knew almost all the actions and songs they were singing. What’s funny is that, I see my high school classmate and grade school classmate right in front of me because their kids were “teaming” (leader) the the weekend while my son was a “candidate”. We all agreed that “it’s their turn”. My son is still on a “high” constantly telling stories about what happened during the weekend and the non-stop singing. I’m so glad he really enjoyed and was able to experience the same thing I did many many moons ago.

I met some Adult Leaders while waiting for my son and I to get picked up, and couldn’t help but share with them the bits and pieces of what Luke 18 meant so much to me. All the friends I have made who up to this day are very dear. No matter where I go, I’m bound to bump into a “Luker” or someone from Antioch (an older version of Luke18. 15-18yrs I think) anywhere. Maybe now, when I see friends out and my son asks me, “Momma, why do you know so many people?”, he’ll have a better understanding of why. I couldn’t clearly explain to him when I would say, “They’re people from church.” then.

My son and I spent the night exchanging stories about the weekend and we sang a few songs. I couldn’t believe that I still knew them by heart. The sudden rush of the activities that the parish has in store for the kids. Christmas Plays, outreach programs, out of town trips, and many more, caught my attention. Hmm, my son will definitely want to attend all these. My baby is really growing up. =( Sigh.

It was PT day again. This time I noticed that it was full of PT interns in white. Chris’ intern was John who spent the whole time in my cubicle and what other thing would he ask but of what happened to me. Hahaha. I should really have some tape recorder that my yaya can just play whenever I’m asked of what happened to me. Sometimes, I get lazy and just give my website and ask them to read it. Haha. I’m so bad. But really, it is my pleasure to share my experiences if I can help anyone in whatever way possible. They say it’s part of my “mission”. If so, so be it.

We added more weights to my walking and Chris said that I was getting better and stronger. The problem is really that, if I don’t see what my right leg is doing, I can’t move it the way I’ suppose to. Again, it’s my brain!! Hahaha! I was walking faster and strides better this time. I had Chris & John either beside me or behind me through the duration of my walks. Good job Ms. Bettina! Yay!

As I was waiting for my car, I see a friend. My explaining my “connection” to her will send friends saying “Ayan nanaman si Marichoo choo.” Long story!! Apparently, she fell off the horse and hurt her foot really bad so she was at POI for the therapy. Did I say horse??

Braving the long walk down to the stables til the end where my horse’ stall is, was the longest walk I ever took since my operation. I was just an eager beaver to see my baby. I even brought her a bag of carrots. I was so excited to see her, I forget my gadgets to take her picture. Oooh she’s so fuzzy!! She hates being clipped by the razor so we just wait for her coat to shed. She knew my whistle as I was making my way through the stalls as she looked up immediately and was nodding her head back and forth. When she saw the bag of carrots I had in my hand, she nudged me even more. Haay. Wait baby, wait. You’ll get your carrots. She ate the carrots alright. But for the first time, she wasn’t extending her leg demanding for more. She wasn’t her usual impatient self, when I’m too slow in feeding her carrots or apples and I knew why. Poor baby =(. Her groom is in the hospital getting ready for gall bladder surgery. She knows it and feels it. Please pray for him. Jive has been so happy and upbeat ever since he became her groom.

Of course, my Tita Marivic was by the stables feeding her cats and she wanted to see my surgery. She wanted to see my foot and all the sutures. She was one of those who told me to have my Achilles tendon lengthened. I haven’t seen her since our trip to Hong Kong last November for the Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Conference and Competition, which is very long considering that we see each other at least 2-3x a week. As everyone knows that she is my second mom. Haha. Gosh, I have been riding with her since I was 13 or 14 years old. Anyway, as much as I wanted to stay and chit chat as always, my REAL mom needed the car back with her. Will come by sooner than you think, Tita.

So happy with how the day turned out. It was healing to see my horse. I felt rejuvenated. Many won’t understand what it’s like and I won’t bother trying to explain. Haha. Not having eaten lunch again, I was already thinking of what the cook can prepare for me. BUT, lo and behold, the cook comes to me with a box. A box of Red Velvet Cupcakes from @1giney c/o @bethangsioco from Adarna Food & Culture Restaurant. Thank you so much! All these treats coming my way. What have I done to deserve this? (More about Adarna here). “Dessert Comes First” and “Life is too short, eat dessert first!” were how I had my lunch at 4:00 p.m. Cupcakes first then, Artichoke and Spinash Spread with Crackers and Garden Mushroom Soup. Cheers.


Milestone Wednesday

Going about my usual morning, doing the PT exercises in bed, asked for breakfast (Banana Nut Clusters with fresh Mango and Pure Best Low Fat Milk and Ganoderma Chocolate Coffee) and ready to start the day. Answer SMSs I failed to reply the night before because I was too sleepy, make sure my clients got their orders, checking on DMs and Mentions on Twitter, and got ready for my 2nd Physical Therapy session this afternoon.

The Hot Packs and ES (Electrical Stimulation) are the pictures above. Sort of like a warm up for my muscles before the actual mat/bed exercises. Quads setting, straight leg raises, adductor squeeze, adductor raise, side raises, hip extensions, and ankle pumping in reps or repetitions holding them for a number of seconds are my exercises before moving on to the gym area for more muscle strengthening. When I sat up from the bed, Chris, my therapist, said to put my socks and shoes with no brace. NO WHAT?! My eyes flew open in shock staring at Chris. 

“What?! No brace? Are you serious?!”

“No brace. Your ankle is straight straight already. It won’t twist anymore. You can walk without it slowly.”

SCARED!!! And told him that I would hold on for dear life and that he better not make me fall. Not that I’m scared to fall but more of scared that he will have to carry me if I fall. Poor guy. I’m heavy. Hahaha. With that reassurance, I made sure my shoes and laces were properly tied and snug. I took a deep breath and said, “Bahala na si Batman..let’s go!”

That first step, foot off the ground and back down, was exhilarating. I could actually feel the base of my foot touch the ground. No ankle twisting. No pain. First time in 12.8 years. More than a decade has passed by that my brain needed to be accustomed to this new measure or is it the other way around? I kept looking down at my foot making sure it was flat when I would take a step. Ohmi! My knee did not even hurt at all. That’s another plus. Yehey!

Chris was assisting me holding my back for support. I would have to stop once in a while just to make sure he wasn’t going to let go. I made it to the parallel bars where I was able to do more leg exercises. About face & walk out of the parallel bars. Then came the next big thing. Walking back to my plinth which a whole round of the PT department. I told Chris that I would make it provided that I wasn’t taking too much of the time allotted and that he would not let me fall. As guaranteed I made it out alive. Hahaha. Phew.

I was so happy that I called my mom but asked her first if she needed the drivers asap. She seemed happy. Oh well. Then, I SMSd my friend to say that I had good news, who later called me as well. I was just so happy with my little accomplishment. I even posted it on Facebook. Hahaha! Those who know me, know that I don’t really like FB anymore. The little thrills to get me through the day. Chris did warn me NOT to try to walk without a brace if he wasn’t with me. Just to go on with my exercises in the meantime before our next session. Yes sir!

Today’s milestone was indeed a surprise. Totally unexpected which, I try to apply in my life right now. I have learned not to expect too much and just take things as they come. Take everything one step at a time, and I guarantee, much joy and elation comes with it. Lastly, thankful to those who have cheered me on since day one.

P.S. I’ll post a video next time of me walking without a brace. My yaya and I were just too excited. Hahaha! Til next time, life goes on…


The Weekend that Flew By

Each day I add a round or two to my walking. I keep saying that I will count my steps but I never do. Hehe. What’s important is that I get my limbs moving. My knee still hurts when I walk, I know i know. You need to lose more weight Bettina. Losing those 40 lbs in the span of 2 years is good enough for me. Just let me do it gradually. My jeans are loose, I need to add an extra whole on my belt to make it tighter. Lastly, I am NOT going to deprive myself of good food. Yes, I’m hard headed that way. Haha. Back to morning leg lifts. Today, I see my surgeon for my Physical Therapy program. I do have a Rehabilitation doctor who has been my doctor for 12 years but since he doesn’t know the intricacies of the surgery. However, Surgeon & Rehab Doc are not in the same page I believe. I guess it’s the egotistical hierarchy of these doctors. I may be wrong but why is it so hard to obtain medical records from one and another? Hay caramba. Haha. All I want is a viable physical rehab program that will get me walking properly again. Once I’ve got my program to a T, I go back to my home PT. Sounds good ya?