Category Archives: exercise

I write to you now as the dog of the family, Signor Albussio.

 You may call me, Albus. It has become apparent to me that writing this is taking too long. I will take it upon myself to finish it for ‘My Lady on Wheels,’ who you know as Rita. While we wait for the next visitor, whom I will greet enthusiastically at the door and who will arrive mostly to pet me and adore me, I will add a few thoughts…

My responsibility as supervisor of the goings-on at my home for my  human bipedal family remain constant and true. Why yesterday, a female human with strong, sure hands arrived at the house. She helped ‘My Lady on Wheels’ to move her legs and arms, back and forth. I sat close by, licking ‘My Lady’s’ left knee, as is my duty. The therapist was unkind. She enticed me off to ‘my chair’ (also known as a box of files), gave me a treat and then moved the tub that gives me access to ‘My Lady’s’ side. I had to stand on my back paws, press my forepaws to the giant cushion to gaze at My Lady and continue the supervision. I grumbled and was displeased.

I notice since the therapist arrived and booted me from my place, My Lady moves more easily. She has regained her perch on wheels. My Lady has been tired of late. Previously this last week, she sat upon a much smaller, more awkward perch with two large wheels and two very small wheels. She used her arms to move the large wheels to get around the house. She was tired, I could tell and had not any time to play. The odour of this wheeled perch was offensive to my nostrils. I did not recognize this acrid and musty smell, but I heard the word ‘cigarette’ and the word ‘smoke’.

My lady rises early today, feeling refreshed from yesterday, no doubt. The movement and chatter coming from the two females during the therapist’s visit seems to revive ‘My Lady on Wheels’. I continue to rest in the sun, at least until a noise alerts me to the front door or my lady calls for my help. If the great wailing begins on the street, I will do my duty to alert my humans of this wailing melancholy. 

with the greatest affection and the finest respect,

Albus

Which way to go?

I am at the doctor’s office using the handicap accessible washroom. I’m seated on the toilet with my right hand holding the grab bar and I’m stuck. I have no idea how I’m going to get up. I consider calling out for help and wonder if people in the waiting room will be able to hear me. This has happened before; I regularly get stuck in accessible washrooms.

There is a knock at the door. A voice asks, “Rita, how are you doing in there?”  “I’m stuck,” I reply. The voice responds,”Let me know if you need any help.”  I say nothing; I’m used to doing things by myself. I’m too tired to ask for the help that I need and too tired to explain what I need.  So I set my resolve to try again. I manage to lift myself up, but my feet can’t bear my weight and I drop back down. Alone and facing my wheelchair, I want to cry.

A voice whispers, ‘you can’t choose your problems,  you can only choose the solution.‘ Surprised by the clarity of the voice in my head, I repeat it with confidence. I remind myself that I’m at the doctor’s office and it’s time to get up. I resolve to use what I learned at physiotherapy. I know which muscles to engage and how to concentrate and breathe into  movement. I raise myself off the seat. First try, I get a little bit higher. Second try, I feel steadier. On the third try, I’m on my feet. I swivel the feet slowly and carefully. I switch hand positions, from grab bar to wheelchair and dump myself down. Finally, I’m sitting on my wheelchair. I resolve to do my exercises regularly; if only to get myself off my derrière with ease. Next time…

The image above is one of my most favourite paintings, “A Peaceful Waterfall” by Toronto artist Joanna Strong. See more of her work at http://joannastrong.com/

Hope

I struggle as…

hope insists
on yoga:
stretching
a flacid left leg,                                                                                                                           balancing                                                                                                                                        my torso                                                                                                                                          over an immobile walker.

Hope asserts
a selfish
desire
to push
through
difficulties.

Hope blooms*
in precise patterns
on the tie
my grandfather wore
everyday
in a home for seniors.

Hope calls:
a reminder
to embrace
the future
with dignity.

* this poem has been inspired by the amazing story behind a locally made salad dressing named, Hope Blooms. Check it out: http://hopeblooms.ca

Photograph taken by Rita of a spiderweb in her backyard (using a 35mm film Olympus camera).