the status of my resolutions

I’m 54 years old and some of my best resolutions have been made (and kept) in the last 5 years. Maybe it took me that long to settle down, but I think I’m making better choices now and sticking with things better.

FIRST, several years ago I began with the resolution to start voting, and with that came an interest in political issues and candidates who speak to my issues. Even when my candidate loses I feel I’ve achieved a personal goal when I vote. It was easy for a few years to become self-absorbed and oblivious to the politics that shape our world. Voting has expanded my interest in world news and in local politics. And I listen to public radio now and will be donating to public radio, so everyone wins. <g>

SECOND, two years ago my resolution was to start giving blood at Marietta Memorial Hospital. My first donation was at a blood mobile MMH parked in nearby Beverly, Ohio. After dozens of questions regarding my lifestyle and medical history (including places I’ve traveled in the last 10 years, my use of needles, my sexual partners) I was put on the bus for a brief health check. Blood pressure and pulse were checked and recorded, as well as my hemoglobin level (this is the red blood cell count in a drop of blood) — all were excellent and I was ready to donate! 

It took 5-10 minutes for the nurse to position me on the recliner, to position the collection bag and tubing, to sterilize the exterior surface of my arm, to tape everything in place, but we chatted and he set my mind at ease by describing everything that was going on. A blood pressure cuff was put on my arm and pumped up slightly to raise the vein. I have a slight aversion to needles IF I actually see them — don’t seem to mind them if I don’t look — so I kept my eyes averted as the needle was gently inserted (blood mobile and blood bank nurses are the absolute BEST at drawing blood, by the way!).

I feel a little prick then, as the blood begins to flow, they withdraw the needle a touch to get it right in the middle of the vein, tape the whole thing down and have me roll a ball around in my hand to keep everything flowing. For about 5 minutes I just sit there and roll that ball while a pint of precious fluid flows into a sterile bag.

When the bag is full they clip off my end of the tubing so that no blood flows back into my needle, withdraw the needle, bandage my arm, squeeze all the blood from the tube into the bag, and start offering me the tangible rewards of giving blood — juice, cookies, and free movie  tickets from a local theatre.

Sometimes it’s T-shirts and free chances on a trip to an amusement park, whatever the hospital has purchased as an incentive for blood donations. Of course, you usually don’t find out about these incentives until after you’ve given blood — it’s not like they stand on the corner shouting, “free movie tickets! Give blood and win free movie tickets!”

According to the Red Cross site, only 3 out of every 100 Americans donates blood. To qualify you must weigh over 110 pounds (no problem there for me <g>), be in relatively good health, have a hemoglobin count over a certain number (they’ll tell you if your hemoglobin is too low and recommend you eat more of the foods which boost the hemoglobin level), and have a relatively healthy lifestyle.

Donating blood saves lives!  Learn about your blood type (mine is the universal donor, that is, anyone who needs blood can use mine without having a negative reaction) and contact your local hospital’s blood bank or blood mobile to do this — you’ll feel good about yourself and you’ll be doing something marvelous for someone else.

THIRD, getting my knee back into shape for the 2009 TDAA Nationals with Blue. My knee injury took place March 9, 2008, the day before my 53rd birthday. It was caused by running agility while unfit. Too much weight, no strengthening exercise, no stretching, no braces — duh, no wonder. For several months I was in a real funk, thinking my agility career was ended. I had to take stairs one step at a time. I felt old and crippled. It was a bad time, frankly.

I started with water aerobics 3 times a week. At first I couldn’t put any weight at all on my knee and had no capacity to flex my knee. After several months of aerobics I added swimming, and it was painful at first. I was taking Aleve once a day and added a chondroitin/glucosamine supplement.

Last month I was swimming 75 minutes followed by my 60-minute aerobics class. Due to swimming lessons they’ve shifted the class time back to a point where it’s not always convenient, so I’m hopping out of bed really early and getting to the pool by 7:00 a.m. for my swim. When possible I swim 90 minutes (about 2 miles at my rate of speed).

Last week I was upstairs cleaning a guestroom when the phone rang. Without thinking I ran downstairs. RAN downstairs. I missed the phone call but didn’t miss the fact that I had, without stopping to consider my crippled knee, jogged down a full flight of stairs without pain, without any range-of-motion issues, and without any negative consequences.

All due to swimming. During the 90 minutes I swim I can think about chores or shopping lists, determine how my day will proceed (afterall, I’m done and home by 9:00 a.m. usually), and can watch other swimmers come and go. There’s a group of seniors who play “volleyball” by hitting a beachball over the pool flag wire and that’s always entertaining.

I’ve noticed that the first 15 minutes are energetic swimming, really getting every muscle warmed up. The next half hour is when I get a lot of my thinking done as it can be a little boring and repetitive. I hit a little wall at 45 minutes and it’s nice to know I’m over half-way there. For about 15 minutes I struggle with “continue or not” emotions but, generally, can take my mind off it by thinking about an upcoming camp, preparation for TDAA trials or the nationals, some chore at home that I’ve been putting off, etc.

The last 15 minutes are bliss. Down the home stretch for sure, but also a feeling of accomplishment and wellness.

The sum of all these parts is that I’m pleased with my resolution choices and outcomes. I want to encourage anyone reading to find something that makes you feel better about yourself and find a way to do it.

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One Response to “the status of my resolutions”

  1. Selfless Service Society Says:

    Dear Friends,

    Please spare a thought from your busy lives.

    “Donate blood, save a life”

    Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life or even several if your blood is separated into its components i.e. red cells, platelets and plasma — which can be used individually for patients with specific conditions.

    There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use. Regular blood donations by a sufficient number of healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed.

    We request you to come forward for this noble cause and REGISTER NOW with http://www.SelflessService.org. It is a simple form and won’t take more than 3 minutes to fill. It is needless to say that once you register, you become service instrument to serve the nation and fellowmen.

    As the saying goes:-
    “If you want other’s to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion”

    Let’s be compassionate and use the words of wisdom and engage our friends, colleagues, neighbors, relatives and all to spread this divine message to “donate blood and save a life or lives”. Please register on the website for this noble human cause.

    To become a “Volunteer” write to us at service.selfless@gmail.com

    Please pass this message to as many as possible.

    With Regards
    S3 Team – Selfless Service Society [Developing Bonds]
    Website : http://www.SelflessService.org
    Email : service.selfless@gmail.com
    Mobile : 999999-6860

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