Tag Archives: physical therapy

It’s been a hard days night

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

I was going to tell you and forgot.  Graduation day at the cardiac physical therapy facility a little fat guy about my age who’s always pretended I don’t exist was standing nearby as I chugged water.  He asked one of the other guys who the graduation banner was up for.

It’s for Jack.  He’s graduating today.”

I wonder if he’ll celebrate by getting a shave and haircut.”

To which I couldn’t resist, “No, but I might try to gain 40 pounds, get six inches shorter and start picking my nose a lot.”

I’m thinking I might have run into the guy in an all-night truck stop when I was hitching through in 1965.  2 am drunken local good old boys noticed me in a back booth swilling coffee waiting for daybreak.

Hey, what have we got here?  Are you one of the Beetles?”

Isn’t it a little late for that shit?”

Some things never change.

Old Jules

Graduation March

Hi readers.  Monday after Physical Therapy they stood me in front of a Happy Graduation banner, gave me a diploma and card signed by all the nurse-ladies, put a mortarboard hat on me and took a picure.  Then they played Graduation March and I went around the room shaking hands while all the old codgers on machines cheered and waved on their various machines.

So the VA paid-for session of my return to physical perfection is done.

I’ve paid for another month use of the Olathe Community Center machines because I’m not 17 years old again yet.

Some of the guys who’ve been using the medical center facility a long time who’d been through similar cardiac situations to mine said they kept improving a while after the first physical therapy, is the reason I’m still hopeful it’s going to improve more despite congestive heart failure.  But they also said, every one I discussed it with, that there’s a plateau that comes somewhere afterward, and things don’t get better from then on.  It becomes a matter of maintaining, holding what you’ve got.

So I’m hoping the plateau for me will involve an ejection factor a bit higher than the 10-15% the VA and private cardiologists measured before therapy.  I need to be able to go out in the world and climb over fences, trespass onto forbidden places.  I need to be able to walk down to the grocery store somewhere and back with a bag of groceries inside each arm.

Or at least I need to be able to walk around the streets somewhere pusing a shopping cart with my belongings in it without tiring myself out too terribly.  Some things in life a person just hates to give up the prospects for.

But phase one is done.  Sorry if you didn’t get your invitation but graduation was never a sure thing.  Even during the final weeks, even the next-to-the-last session the fast six minute measured distance walk took the wind out of my sails.

I’m going to miss all those old guys.  Especially the ones doing post-graduate work hanging around because they didn’t have a courthouse square to hang around in playing dominoes and spitting tobacco.  They’re paying a dear price to go there and can’t even spit.

Old Jules


Wasting your life on something important instead of trivialities

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Once it became obvious the Olathe Medical Center Cardiac Physical Therapy folks weren’t opening the doors on Independence Day, I knew I was in trouble.  Felt the pressure building, depression setting in.  Scurried around searching under things for anti-depressant drugs, then remembered I’ve never had any of those.

Hell, here the colonies declare themselves free to select their own masters instead of the British ones who’d been turning up their noses for so long, and the hired help start wanting holidays to celebrate having a different set of masters. 

And here my old ticker I’m trying to persuade to kick up the ejection to, say, 20% instead of 10%-and-some-change is whining and complaining that I’m not lifting a finger to help it along.   Heart muscle giving winks and nods to the defibrillator, whispering to the lungs and arteries that I’m a lazy, no-good-for-nuthun slacker wastrel.

Obviously I couldn’t sit still for that.  If I’m ever going to climb any more mountains, if I’m going to find the Lost Adams Diggings, damn me, I’m going to have to do physical therapy whether the hospital is shut down, or whether the whole bunch is out there eating hot dogs and popping fireworks.

So I joined the Olathe Community Center gym for a month.  Went down there early this morning, walked around acting like real people, mounted a walking machine and walked the hell out of things.  Wandered over to the weight machines and humped my upper body a while whoopteedoo.  Walked around the track looking down on pee-filled hot tubs and swimming pools, looking out windows into the parking lot, at pictures hung on the walls. 

Sagged to my knees and breathed a while, telling the bastards who were asking if I was okay to mind their own damned business.  Piss me off.

Feeling pretty groovy, all things considered.

Old Jules

I’ll call your walking machine and raise you a bicycle

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I’m sure those nurses down at physical therapy intend the best.  I’ve no doubt when they hector me about the settings on those machines they only have my best interest at heart.  But I still try to cheat and occasionally succeed, steal a few MPH, or a couple of minutes than they said was okay.  But my time’s running out with them anyway.

I’ve got to find some other exercize, might buy a membership at the new community center here, though it’s a tight squeeze in the dollars department.  And yesterday Jeanne’s son, Mike, was over, said he had a Raleigh mountain bike sitting over there not being used. 

So I briefly borrowed the one he was riding, took it up the block to the blind school, or deaf school, whatever, and back.  Just a block, and I was breathing hard, but not too hard when I returned.  Defibrillator didn’t kick me in the chest.  And I didn’t fall off the damned thing.

So I’m going to borrow that bike from him if he’ll loan it to me.  Begin riding it around Olathe, Georgia, Kansas, whereever this place is, dodging automobiles, shaking my fist at drivers who want to share a piece of the road.  Shouting threats and curses.

There are plenty of places I might be able to go to in this town that I was reluctant to try to walk because I run out of steam after a block or two.  But a bicycle!  A hotdiggedydamn Raleigh bicycle with about 90 gears on it, that’s a different herd of sheep entirely.

Gonna be a man about town.  A man to be reckoned with. 

Old Jules

We few, we happy few

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Down at physical therapy we’re folks who’ve seen 17-year cicadas emerge the way they did in 2013 enough times so’s we shrug it off.  Old hat.  Centuries change and we say to one another, “Back in ninteen hunnerd and eight-one I was fishing out in Colorado or somewhere and caught one hell of a brown trout.  Or maybe it was the Black Hills.  Rainbow trout.”

Seventeen year cicadas just ain’t going to impress people such as us.  Because we all remember all the words to, “I’ve got a feeling called the blues since my baby said goodbye.  Lard I don’t know what I’ll dooooo, all I do is sit and cryyyyy oh lard that last long day she said goodbye, etc.” 

There’s an instrumental version on the boom box and a pair of octogenarian who quit whatever machine they’re on and stand together and sing it everytime it plays.  Not too bad duo, either.  And all the rest of us mouth the words while they sing it through.

She’s evidently one of the people who’s got the kind of insurance pays for her to go down there forever as a cost saver.  His ain’t so good.  I overheard them saying his will be running out in a few weeks, a little before mine.

So I’m thinking I might get a chance to get up and sing some old Inkspots or Otis Redding, once he clears out of here.  Maybe Hair, too.  Everybody’s Talking At Me I Don’t Hear A Word They’re Saying Only the Shadows of Their Eyes

Maybe run through a little standup comedy.  Some tap dancing.

Fact is, though, if it weren’t for the fact my energy level and limitations are being demonstrated to me while I listen, I otherwise feel more prone to do some jitterbugging and Texas Two Step and trying to remember the words to songs and sing them except as background noise to 17 year cicadas.

 Got to see a Century change, we did, got to see Haley’s Comet once.  Four times around for those 17 year cicadas.  And we got a feeling called the blooooose.

Ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

Old Jules

Sure I’m poor, but I came by it honest.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The 20-30 people down at my physical therapy are surprisingly homogenous and I’m not saying anything about sexual preferences.  We’re all white, all but three are men, and all but two are above the age of 60.  The nurses, also are all white, but their ages cover a spread from around 30 to a cautious guess of 60.

So when I asked one of the nurses, “Where do you keep all your ethnics?” while she was taking g my blood pressure it seemed an obvious question.  An expression of surprise crossed her face and she flinched, or sort of jumped, then her eyes scanned the room and the people on all the machines. 

What do you mean?”   Seemed more of an accusation than question.

Hey, we all look alike in here.  Everyone here seems to be old, male, white and other than me, well-to-do.  All except me are fairly unpleasing to the eye.  Don’t people with skin pigment get cardiac problems?”  I was just wising off.  I already knew Olathe’s an affluent community and area.   But watching her facial reactions kept me at it.

 Anyway, the old guy at the NUSTEP machine next to me felt the need to set me straight when she went on to other matters.  “We’re not all well to do!”  He ground his teeth a bit.  “I used to be but I lost it all in 401Ks.”  His face was reddening and the blood vessels on his bald scalp were becoming visible.

Sure I’m poor.  But I got that way through honest hard work, good credit, bad marriages, and trusting the 401K people.  Not like these people who got born into it and didn’t get out because of shiftless laziness and rotten attitude.”  I finished my time about then and just grinned.  Couldn’t think of anything to say.

Damn I love that Physical Therapy at Olathe Hospital.  I’m going to be sorry when it runs out.

Old Jules



Hi readers.  The cardiac physical therapy nurses gave me a little counselling today after they caught me cheating on their machines.  I haven’t been sticking with the piddling little times and settings they give me on a piece of paper each session.

So I was boosting my walking speeds up as much as I thought I could get by with, staying longer, and when I saw them approaching I’d quickly adjust the settings.  Same with the como se llama arm exercizing machine and the walking while sitting down one.

But today I saw them getting cagey, trying to use their animal cunning to outsmart me.  Spang caught me trying to spend 15 minutes making circular movements with my arms instead of 10, and at heavier loads and higher speeds.

They’ve got that thing attached to me all the time, shows I-don’t-know-what, and sometimes it twigs them to tell me to pause.  If it isn’t ratting me out I figure nobody else has any business being my governor.

Well heck.  Those little bitty pissant things they put on the paper for me to do just ain’t where I want to be.  Seems to me I ought to have some say in it.  But that isn’t going to happen.  “You shouldn’t even be walking around!”  She scowled at me.  Scowled!  “You are amazing with what you were doing before you even started coming to these sessions.  But you’re going to have to go slow or you’re going to be dead.”

Screw them.

Old Jules


Post card art, lousy dreams and cats

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.  Jeanne’s about to zoom away on her morning bicycle ride, trying to find something long sleeved to block something just this side of the morning chill.    She says she had a lousy dream last night, dreamed Leonard Cohen died.  Bummer.

I recall dreaming Al Jolson died sometime a few years ago, but the fact he’d been dead several decades already took the edge off it.  Not a good dream, but better than when he actually did it.  I was in grammar school at the time and it’s the first time someone I really liked died, I think.  He had just come back from a USO tour visiting troops in Korea and went kerplunk.  Lousier than dreaming about it.

Anyway, in spite of myself I’ve been allowing my mind to wander into Jeanne’s Library job postcard art project.  http://librarymailart.wordpress.com/

Trying to think of something that could be forced down the throat of the post office as a post card and sent over there to be forced down their thoats disguised as art.  I’m considering gluing a 78 rpm record to a 33 rpm LP, a 45 rpm single, and a CD and putting address and stamps on the whole shebang.  Might do it yet if I can find the 78 and 33.

But I wanted to sneak around and tell you about cats, mostly.  That cat documentary at the top got me thinking about Hydrox and might have given me a dream about Niaid last night, or maybe she was just saying hi.  A lot better than dreaming about Al Jolson or Leonard Cohen.

Hydrox, by the way, is hanging in there, and I’m including him in my gratitude affirmations numerous times every day.  Been spending portions of almost every night outdoors doing what cats do.

And I’m about to toodle off to physical therapy to do what old human guys do when they’re hanging in there day to day, including themselves in their own gratitude affirmations numerous times every day.

Old Jules



Physical therapy

This thing's going to need some repairs before anyone can use it again.  Trying to get it airtight enough to do any good in outer space ought to be a full time job for someone.

This thing’s going to need some repairs before anyone can use it again. Trying to get it airtight enough to do any good in outer space ought to be a full time job for someone.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

This area abounds with covered wagons, plows, cultivators, the occasional intercontinental missiles and a few of the people who used them, coveted them, wore them down to a small frazzle, or just sneaked around admiring them when they were shiny and new.  The automobiles get pretty fair physical therapy, but a lot of it just sits rusting in decorative positions in parks, front yards and displayed in unlikely places.

VA Medical Center surprised me by deciding I ought to get some physical therapy they’re too far away to provide.  They’re paying for a few weeks of me going to the Olathe Medical Center for it.  Had my first run at it last week on the day I wasn’t having something done to my goozle.  It was a surprising display of a lot of really old bastards walking around panting and generally being a lot more friendly to one another than they’d probably spent their lives being to other people.

Most appeared to be the sort I smile and speak to when I  meet their eyes in a grocery store or on the street, and they turn their heads away as an alternative to acknowledging I exist.  I sometimes carry the conversation further with, “Don’t you dare say hi to me!  No telling what I’d do back.”

But down there at physical therapy you’re more likely to meet again soon, him on the electric walking machine next to my stationary bicycle.  Snobbing a person off who’s there for a stay in close proximity could lead to all manner of long time discomfort.

So I smiles perlightly and says hi, [first to do it mostly] and while we each try to make something inside us perform better, we discuss weighty matters involving.  That’s right.  Involving.

Involving things our opinions don’t have anymore influence on than they ever did on anything else.  Mostly the weather.

Old Jules