bunt sign

Monday, March 26, 2001

When I see how well my old neighbor Grady is doing, in spite of all his physical problems, I wonder why it's so hard for me to bend over these days. I pulled weeds for twenty minutes this afternoon. It didn't look like a strenuous job, but by the time I was through I could hardly bend my legs or catch my breath. It was quite a revelation. I seem to be deteriorating rapidly.

Grady looks good, though. I stopped by his house on my errand run this morning, because some of my mail is still being delivered to the old place. He was in the hospital for four months, had several operations and has at least one more yet to come. He's lost 140 pounds so far, with maybe another hundred to go. At least he knows what's slowing him down, and that it's being taken care of.

The biggest difference I noticed was in his face. He's far from gaunt, but the weight he's lost there makes him look like a different person. He moves around a lot more easily, too, and his attitude is better. He's always had mood swings, looking forward to some grand scheme one minute, then shaking his head and telling me how hard life is the next.

He was pretty upbeat about everything today, even talking about going to some Giants games this summer. He says it'll be a relief to be able to sit in a seat like everyone else, instead of having to perch on the edge because he couldn't fit. Once they sew back the muscles in his belly, he'll be able to exercise and get into the kind of shape he hasn't been in since I've known him. Usually I'm the one cheering him up, but he kind of inspired me today.

I'm not sure what he inspired me to do, though. I couldn't believe how quickly I got worn out gardening today. And my day at work was so stressful it felt as if a dozen people were flinging tennis balls at my head. I'd dodge one and here would come another, so fast I couldn't get out of the way. If I could have caught my breath I would have started throwing them back. Instead I just curled up in a ball and felt my stomach tightening.

So I'll have take a cue from Grady and look at the bigger picture. He tells me he died twice while he was under the knife, and he's feeling fortunate to have another chance. Now he's determined to take advantage of it, by getting himself into better shape. Diet, exercise, and a positive attitude. It's going to take some work, but I'll give it a shot. If he can go through all that's happened to him and come up smiling, I can at least make an effort.

Sebastopol hills, mustard fields

When Grady weighed over 400 pounds, I could look in the mirror and feel good about how I took care of myself. It's kind of mean-spirited to use someone with so many physical problems as a yardstick to make myself feel better, and I'm paying the price now. I'm ashamed that I've let myself go this way, and I have no excuse.

If I don't take the initiative and work on my mind and body at this point, I should be even more ashamed.

The weird thing is, I don't even have much of an appetite these days. I just eat without thinking about it, when all I'd have to do is wait until I'm hungry and I'd have half the problem solved. Should be easy, right?

As far as exercise goes, I'm not sure how much I can do when it's so hard to move. I still walk a couple of miles almost every day, but that doesn't seem to be doing me any good. I got so tired tonight doing so little work in the garden that it scared me. I might have to work up to a more strenuous program, but I intend to get there, however long it takes.

The positive attitude will have to come from improved diet and exercise, because I don't know what else to do to change the way I'm feeling about myself. I feel like such a lump lately, and until now I haven't done anything to change that. If one change leads to another, all I have to do is get myself on the right track. Yeah, that's all.

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