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So I am 60! --- Now What?

Discussion in 'Fitness Journals' started by Justitia, Apr 6, 2008.

  1. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    Thanks Xingcat, Seltzer (the cake is just adorable... :) ) & Jedi (I like your hyperactive avatar!), Thanks very much for the thoughtful and kind words.

    thevinery -- that is so kind of you to say -- you have no idea how inspiring you words are to read. I just read your blog at your link -- and a day with good food is good in itself -- good for you!!! (Though still no weights -- I have had 3 days of good food and 2 days of cardio.

    I know what you mean about the Midwest. I lived there for awhile when I started college-- and I have to say, for the young, wild thing that I was -- I was totally miserable. When I had a chance to go to one of the really good grad schools in my field out there several years later -- I visited and realized I could not do it again. (I was still dancing into the wee hours of the night -- see below-- and there seemed like there was no place to dance... :lol:)

    Good for you, thevinery -- for going against type. You are definitely going to have a long youthful life ahead of you.

    So Speedlimit -- congrats on such a terrific turn around. I am always amazed how much it is possible to undo the "sins" of our past. One of the discouraging things for people as they get older is that what used to work "to look good" doesn't work any more. It is no longer possible just to "diet", e.g. When I was in my 20's, though weight was never an issue for me -- if I went through periods of eating a little too much that caused my figure to not be at its best, all I had to do was stop eating or eat less with no thought to do anything else. But I didn't consider the impact of the several times a week of going dancing (fairly vigorously) til the wee hours of the morning. I was just having fun; but unbeknownst to me -- I was also having a fairly strenuous workout.

    The idea of lifting weights is so foreign to people, and yet it is essential as we get older because we don't naturally move as much since our energy stores are lower. Plus our lifestyles don't permit going nightclubbing until 4 in the Am (unless we are movie stars.:D) It is just too bad that weight lifting is so associated with being a musclehead though that is changing -- again thanks to the movie stars.

    So good for you Speedlimit -- your determination -- your decision "to grow younger" to your former self worked. It can work for all of us.


    Both of you, thevinery & Speedlimit, in what you say -- is so validating. To know that you really get what I am trying to say. It tells me I am not just off my rocker when I write these things. I always wonder if something I am about to write is going to cause people to role their eyes... :rolleyes: And reading your comments are very inspiring to me -- very motivating... :nod:
     
  2. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    I can't beleive I have to learn about blogging now...:p
     
  3. bmacntmac

    bmacntmac Well-Known Member

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  4. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    You're so right about the extra effort it takes to either maintain or make progress as one gets older and the irony is that the benefits are even more important as we age. And while gaining strength is a goal and, I have to admit that vanity does come into the picture, even when I was in my 20's I was saying that the benefits of exercising for me are as much mental as physical. No matter how pressure filled the work day was (and everyday was) a good dose of exercise went a long way to calming me down.

    The amount of misinformation regarding weight lifting is still abundant and that's unfortunate.

    Justitia, I don't think anyone who reads your posts comes away rolling their eyes. I think they come away thinking that you've once again written an extremely thought provoking and insightful post. Keep 'em coming.
     
  5. thevinery

    thevinery Active Member

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    DITTO! Good lord, if you've got any doubt that your way of approaching age and fitness is anything but inspiring, what a long way we have to go in getting everyone up to speed... Lead the way! :claphigh:
     
  6. Speedlimit

    Speedlimit Active Member

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    Biggest change in my workouts of now vs then is that now I make sure I take my rest days, and recovery weeks. I also make sure I get the proper amount of sleep, at least 7 to 8 hours a night along with the proper nutrition. The days of party till 3 am, get up at 5:30 and grab 2 jelly doughnuts and a Pepsi for breakfast days are long gone as you pointed out.

    What I do have to wonder though is what kind of shape I could have been in if I had trained properly in my 20's and 30's. Even living the lifestyle I did I was around 150 solid and with a pack a day nicotine habit I could run 5 miles with no problem.
     
  7. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    I love your sig, speedlimit -- I've been trying to get people clued in here in Israel about what it means -- it makes me laugh.

    I have been in Israel for 10 days now -- the trip was awful, my plane flight had been cancelled months ago and the airlines had never bothered to tell me. I was stuck in Toronto Airport for 13 hours until the next scheduled flight to Tel Aviv, which was itself 13 hours. Then a train ride to Haifa and then to the most awful horrendous dorms I have ever seen.

    This is not the fault of Haifa University -- they have had a major 3 month strike and the regular semester of the spring is still going on as a result. Thus the regular students and faculty are still living in their rooms and apartments.

    The director of the program, who is at my university, never told the students who paid good money (nor myself) what a horrendous living situation we were going to be in -- he wanted the program to go on (I believe so he could collect his rather hefty fee as Director out of what the students have paid). He had no incentive to find (and pay for) alternative tolerable arrangments.

    The dorms are like condemned tenement buildings with no air-conditioning and so badly built, they actually absorb heat rather then fend it away. It is like living in and goign to sleep in an oven -- the irony of that is not lost on me.

    The students are understandably upset. I have been struggling with what to do. I called the Director who has been a good colleague of mine for most of my career at my university to express my dismay and demand that he pay for a solution. He called me a "prima donna" :mad:

    I am being moved on campus to air-conditioned facilities on Monday -- leaving my students behind here. I feel really badly.

    I am struggling between contacting the Dean at my university and trying to get some improvement for the students.

    It is clear that the students would rather be here than not at all, despite the awful living conditions. I believe they will be happiest if I can get them on campus -- maybe only a few at a time.

    If I contact my Dean -- he has a temper -- he gets particularly outraged with incompetance and neglect. (I can definitely relate to that as I am the same way :o) Once that happens, he will move quickly to a solution that will be feasible and reasonably fair in the short run but not necesarily the best in the long run. If I don't contact the Dean -- or at least not yet -- I might be able to give rise to an even better long run result as I gather information and figure out solutions. Once the Dean steps in -- then it is finished.

    Also I have a lot of reluctance to contact the Dean b/c it will yield permanent damage to my colleague. The Dean is already furious with him for dropping the ball in a serious way with regard to a conference that we spent a lot of money on, not only because it was a great idea, but because it would contribute towards building our reputation nationally which is the Dean's goal and his mandate from the University President. It was my colleague's idea and he was in charge and he completely let the publicity fall through because he basically does not want to do any of the work for these things -- and then got a royal chewing out for it (and deservedly so -- though he comes up with all kinds of rationals as to why none of it was his responsibiliy -- as is the case here in Israel.

    If my colleague gets chewed out for this -- I don't think he will ever be able to recover in the Dean's eyes -- and his life can be made pretty miserable. He already does not pull his weight in terms of teaching and service though he publishes pretty well... very provocatively so his work gets a lot of attention but not necessarily the most positive attention. (Though in my opinion what he writes serves an excellent purpose even though I rarely agree with his stand -- his ideas are extremely interesting to me -- and they are provocative -- which I think is good and does bring good reputation to the school. But a number of my colleagues do not like the negative attention he gets for his writings. I disagree with them -- this is the point of scholarly discourse.)

    Also if I pursue the remedy through the Dean route -- I will lose my friend permanently. He has in the past taken it upon himself to stand up to powers that be when I was being badly treated -- and i am forwever grateful for that. SO I am not sure how I feel. But I have been doing a LOT of CYA for him this year with respect to this program -- It would have not gotten off the ground at all but for me. And I am not sure he has not used up all my debt to him and more. One thing is for certain -- I will neer work on a project with him ever again.

    And I am not sure how I will be viewed myself -- raising a red flag abotu one of my colleagues -- and I don't like the diea of doing that anyway. I feel it is important that we are all supportive of each other -- as long as a line hasn't been crossed -- but my colleague has come perilously closs if not across it with this one.

    And as I say -- it is not clear to me that the Dean route is the best way to go anyway.

    I am going to give it a few more days, wait until I get on campus, see what I can do and then re-evaluate. The bottom line is that these students should not be treated so shabbily.

    So needless to say -- I have been doing very little in the way of working out. I have done cardio 3 times since I have been here... still no weights though there is quite a good gym on campus -- whioch will be easier to use once I am living there. I am functioning on less than 6 hours a night sleep as are my students because of the heat and stifling air in the rooms.

    But despite this, my classes are going very well --- the students seem to love it -- and after my last class they kept me an hour asking me questions about the material. And this is after a 2 hour class starting at 8:00 AM with a Haifa faculty member and then another 2 hour class with me. I must say it is pretty gratifying.

    But I am just too tired all the time to do much work. And this is a crunch time. I have 2 articles I must finish while here. One is for a journal at my own school but the other I hope will be a blockbuster. It should have been finished 2 years ago but that is when I started getting sick.

    But if I get them done-- my dean will have a respect for me for all the dimensions of my abilities -- service, teaching and the biggest plum of them all -- scholarship -- something I did in the past quite well but need to reclaim my position again.

    So I apologize for the infrequent postings and for not posting in anyone else's journal. I just have to make it through this summer OK -- and then the pressure of the last 2 1/2 years will be off. I will be able to live a more normal life albeit a much happier one.

    BTW PGC is coming in 10 days to say here. Things are going so well in that department. I just feel so lucky.... :nod:

    Til next time everyone!!!
     
  8. Gila Monster

    Gila Monster Well-Known Member

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    Hey Justitia, I'm really sorry to read about all the bureaucratic misfortunes.
    I hope things are resolved for you and your students! The weather can be pretty intolerable at this time of the year.
    I hope you still manage to enjoy your stay despite the pressure, the heat and the shitty condos. :)
     
  9. thevinery

    thevinery Active Member

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    Despite all the rest of the nonsense going on (which is the worst part of academia, I think - impossible to avoid getting stuck in these kids of Catch-22s), it sounds like the students are loving the experience. That is excellent news.

    Are you taking any pictures in Israel?
     
  10. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    Well here it is. I have been in the air-conditioned place for 6 nights now -- though only 2 nights of good sleep. But that included last night. My back-up drive crashed before I had a chance to restore the files to my newly repaired computer. I have lost a lot of work. I hope when i get back to the states I will find someone who can recover them. They are all my work for the last 15 years -- much of which I can recover from other sources but there 3 most recent years will be difficult.

    I feel like such a dunce that I did not move the back up files immediately to my computer. It didn't hit me until yesterday that they were no longer my "back-up" files but the only copy. I was planning to move them today but, the drive crashed before that happened.

    The most immediately critical items, my work for my two articles and the prep for my course in the fall, I have on a flash drive or preserved in e-mails. So for the moment I can survive.

    With respect to the students, now that I am on campus I have been able to apply pressure to get rooms for them. Two have taken it up but the rest don't want to move until everyone can move. I will see tomorrow how it will go. The woman student who has been the most complaining about the situation has done an about face. Now she wants to stay at the horrible dorms -- and she is persuading the rest of the group to do so. I don't think they want to. But we'll see what happens once I have rooms for everyone, which I hope will be tomorrow.

    I got sick with a stomach ailment that went around and because of that and some total exhaustion, I did not go with the students on a scheduled trip to Jerusalem to do the usual tourist things but also to get into the Knesset (Israel's Congress) and meet the Prime Minister of the Knesset -- whom I believe is the Prime Minister of Israel. But I just needed a break with no pressure to re-nest in the new place, catch up on my sleep and start feeling normal again.


    The schedule here in Haifa, Israel is sort of a combination of orthodox Jewish observance and more Western style. So, Friday is kind of an off day -- University business seems to start at various times form 7:00 AM - 10:00 Am and everything shuts down at 2:00 except the gym which shuts down at 3:00. Stores close down by 4:00 and the busses stop running as well. Sabbath begins at sundown, which is around 8:00PM but everyone is getting ready for it, which is why the shops close. And Sabbath ends at sundown on Saturday.

    Despite Saturday being the Sabbath, the gym is now open from 9:00 Am to 3:00 PM. Some busses run but not all. I believe the trains do not run at all but I am not sure.

    Sunday is supposed to be a regular "business day" but it really isn't. Some parts of the university are open, shops open but not for a full day. The gym opens at 7:00 AM but still closes at 3:00. A lot of stores close around that time.

    Monday through Thursday the gym is open form 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM. It is a pretty good gym -- lots of cardio equipment, free weights, etc.
     
  11. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    So I am declaring today my first day back to physical fitness.... (No, really... :p)

    I have been working up my work-out plan base on Olesya Novik's Back to Basics: 20 x 12 weight program for 12 weeks. It is a good starter and re-starter program.

    I was originally going to do her Fat Inferno Cardio Program which is cardio 3 days a week: 1 day HIIT, 1 day fast paced and 1 day LISS. But I just don't think I have the energy to learn a new cardio format. Fasted LISS has always worked for me. So maybe when I get in better shape again -- I will try the Inferno program out.

    So my plan is as follows:

    Fasted Cardio in AM 5 days a week either Sun- Thursday or Monday- Friday and the first 4 weeks of Olesya's weights in the PM -- which is a 3 day split: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday.

    I have pretty much figured out how to keep to my food plan through proper shopping and cooking and of course I brought all my supplements with me and a fair supply of Nitrean Protein powder. But I think I did not bring enough.

    So PGC is coming this Thursday and I am having him bring a lot of stuff. I am adding protein powder to the list as he has Nitrean too.

    So today I woke up after 8 hours sleep (for the first time in 3 weeks) at 10:30. I didn't head to the gym until 1:00 but getting into it was like a farce. Everything is closed, gated, and you can only get in by security guard -- except since today is Saturday and the Sabbath, the guards are all gone and you can't get in anywhere.

    Because of the potential for terrorist activities -- the whole place -- as beautiful as it is -- is also like a military compound. High fences everywhere with barbed wire across the top. You can't move easily between the dorms and the school buildings.

    So finding a way into the building with the gym was one of the most frustrating experiences because the normal routes were all closed today. I spent over an hour following the directions of various guards and never finding a way in. Finally one of the guards took pity on me and called the cruising Security.

    It turns out that the way in was through an innocuous side entrance in which the door had been propped open with a slab of rock -- no guard nothing. Anyone can walk in . And everyone knows about this. It completely defeats the purpose of the security... :doh: :no:

    But I got in, did my 45 minutes of fasted cardio from 2-3 PM and am now trying to eat my breakfast -- which for some reason, I have no appetite.

    But I don't have to be perfect :nope: I just have to start. So today is start day.... :claphigh:

    Though I got up late (10:30 AM) my goal is to hit the hay by 10:00 PM so I can get on a regular cycle and get to the gym in the early AM. I teach in the morning -- something I have not done in 30 years.... I am not a morning person... :no: :no: And if I want to do fasted cardio I have to get to bed early enough to get up early enough so I can do it -- eat and get clean and do morning prep before my class which start somewhere between 10 & 10:30 Am, depending on the day.

    I am also beginning to get isolated. I was hanging out with the students and particularly with the student host a lot -- but now that I am over at the campus dorms. SO I am really looking forward to PGC arriving.

    PGC is going through his own stress right now. His mother is starting fail (she is 95) and it is the one that is a slow mental deterioration that can go on for years. He is not able to manage taking care of her form long distance 00 she is in Chicago in a retirement home and him in Florida and also trying to be with m as much as he can as well as his professional work. I have never seen him so stressed out and overwhelmed. I keep telling him he does not have to come to Israel -- but he is determined. I will be happy he is here and I am trying to get everything set up so it is easy for him to work here. I am in a suite and believe it or not they have two desks here. So we will be able to work together. We have never really done that yet.

    I was listening to Israeli radio music on my iRiver MP3 player but I somehow got a craving for my own radio station--- which fortunately streams.

    SO I am sitting here in Israel, finishing US style food, wearing US style clothes, coming from a US style work-out. Now I am listening to a US radio station.

    I am not traveling as well as I normally do. I think the situation at the start -- the heat, the horrific dorms -- the neglect by the director just did me in.

    I am looking for a scale. I want to see what I am when I start. I forgot to bring my BF measurement stuff. But maybe it is better that I don't know for now... I might get pretty disgusted with myself.

    I don't meant to sound so depressed -- but I think I am... I feel quite thwarted in terms of my plans both by external circumstances and my own getting in my own way.

    But maybe as I get more on track I will feel better... :nod:
     
  12. thevinery

    thevinery Active Member

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    Welcome Back, Justitia!!

    I'm sure a lot of the down feeling is going to subside when you get back into the routine. Really looking forward to hearing some updates.

    And yes... sneaking around armed guards to get back into the gym... well done. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Hi Justitia. I'm glad to see that despite so much going on and you being away from home you decided to start getting back into fitness again. After the run around you got trying to get to the gym on Day 1, the hard part may be behind you. :lol:

    I hope things start going more smoothly for you and the students in the week ahead and have a great time with PGC.
     
  14. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    So I did it!!!! :jumping::jumping::claphigh:

    I made it to the gym for weights for the first time in 10 1/2 months -- the last 4 (at least) of which were due to stalling. (The rest from recovering from injuries that culminated in a herniated disk.)

    And was it a blast.... :D

    The new routine is a split and today was leg day -- which made it even more hilarious.

    The cardio machines (of which there were well over 20) were filled mixed with men and women. But only men were doing weights -- except one rail thin young woman who was using the machines.

    And as typical of men who don't really know what they are doing -- everyone of them were working on their upper body -- presses, etc. There were a couple on the seated leg curl working out their ham strings but barely.

    Also, the men in Israel are for the most part really slender to rail thin. Sort of the way the US used to be before the obesity explosion. So you can imagine all these skinny legs doing bench presses and arm curls etc. And except for one older trainer who must be in his late 50's (and in really good shape though still slender -- but pretty much solid muscle), all the people there were at most 35, most in their 20's and most of those in their early 20's.

    So you can imagine the stares I got when this older woman (me ;) )lines herself up sideways to watch in the mirror as she does ATG squats. It was like a. no one ever did squats there before, b. no one ever saw a woman work out with free weights (I just used an empty Z bar -- 25 lbs -- for my first day -- but still it was "a BB on that woman's shoulders" and c. "she's is squatting!"

    All the guys averted their eyes so I couldn't see they were watching me in a slight state of surprise -- but I saw them -- (and I felt them.) And this one woman who was working the machines -- she looked at me like she resented me horning in on her territory and with something even more dramatic....

    It fed my ego enough that it dampened the disheartening feeling I had when I looked at my totally soft body, with middle age thickness in the torso, the poochy belly, the general overall softness and overweightness. I did 4 sets of 10 reps. But by the end, i could already feel the beginning of my strength come back!!!

    SO there was very little in the way of machines to support the exercises I was supposed to do for legs -- so I had to improvise on the spot. And that actually felt good -- because I could improvise. It reminded me how much I had learned and understood about working out and working out different parts of the body that I could figure out something to do.

    So this was my workout:

    Leg extensions: 4 sets of 10 reps - I am not sure what the "weight" was -- I never have figured out how to read the numbers on those machines. But assuming that the numbers were kilos -- I was using 40 lbs. But I just don't thinks so. It was too easy. I had picked the right number, however, because I went to failure on the last rep of the last set -- which is what I am supposed to do -- but who knows what the weight was.

    ATG squats: 4 sets of 10 reps with an empty 25 lb Z bar on my back. I never did ATG squats before - I had read a lot about them last night -- proper form -- the dangers to watch out for -- how to avoid injuries, particularly to the knees. I had no problem -- and again I picked the correct weight because I was just at failure on the last rep of the last set.

    Standing leg curls: 4 sets of 15 on each side. -- well --no standing leg curl machines. So I did the seated curls (I didn't even see a lying leg curl machine -- but I may have missed it.) SO that works out both legs at the same time -- there I used what seemed like 55 lbs on the plates.

    Donkey calf raises: 3 sets of 12 -- well that took a LOT of ingenuity. No donkey Calf,machines, no 45 degree leg presses -- no leg presses at all in fact -- basically -- no leg machines altogether.

    So I found this small 18" x 24" wood platform that was about 6 " off the ground. It was against the mirrored wall.I got the Z bar, put it on my back and hung my heels off the edge and start doing calf raises. The box was so light weight it started to tip over. So I went and got a 30 lb dumbbell -- pulled the box just a few inches away from the mirror, put the DB there (so it wouldn't roll back but still hold the box down as I hung off the other edge. And I did the 3 sets of 12.

    I bring my PDA not only to list my exercises but also all the readings about doing them if I need to refer to that. And in addition, it has a timer -- so I could time the rest periods. It gives off a little beep but all the people in my immediate area could hear it. I really looked like I "meant business" :lol: by their standards - and that I really knew what I was doing -- which in fact I was! :)

    And on top of that, I was drinking my Beverly Intl Glutamine Select with BCAAs in Black Cherry formula -- and so I was carrying around this bottle of weird pink stuff and taking a gulp every few reps... They were certainly wondering what that was -- I am sure they thought i was steroids or something evil like that. :evil:

    And I stretched out thoroughly and carefully -- as my PT taught me to -- particularly to protect my adductor muscles. I looked pretty flabby well I did it -- but I could still stretch further and better than the young'uns around me ---:madpimp:

    So I got the wrong info as to until when the gym was open -- I was old -- it was until 3:00 but in fact it was open until 10:30 PM. So I had cut out my cardio and my food timing wasn't as perfect but the big thing is...

    I'M BACK!!!
     
  15. Jedi

    Jedi Well-Known Member

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    :claphigh::bb::claphigh:
    WTG Justitia, and sounds like a great first workout ;) I think you may et some DOMS over the next 48 hours :D
     
  16. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    Yes, I had pretty bad DOMS.

    And then I disappeared again. This time b/c of PGC's mother.

    This is another of one of my HUGELY long posts -- with descriptions of events and some philosophical musings at the end. It is the first time I have really thought about and broached this issue: death and dying. So what I write are my very first thoughts on the matter.

    I completely understand if people want to skip this. :nod:

    When he visited her a few weeks ago (she lives in Chicago -- He in Florida) he noticed her lower legs were red and swollen to half their size. She is a very fit and strong woman -- 95 years old, very active and way too stoic. She didn't tell anyone and she has a lot of short term memory loss these days. SO she did not even know when this started. PGC spent his entire trip getting her to doctors, arranging for nurses to come in daily -- which is not covered by Medicare. (She is in a very well-run retirement home but for some reason they do not provide any medical support -- even the one nurse on staff can't do anything including checking her out. It has to do with some legal issues -- which I cannot understand -- and PGC won't let me check it out.)

    As I have noted in earlier posts, PGC is not very good at getting good medical care nor motivating doctors to do their best. He has a fundamental hostility to them that is so counter-productive. I have no idea where it comes from -- though I have been trying to probe. This is so paradoxical b/c I have such anger management issues in my life in general and I have been learning so much from PGC to diffuse them and take a different perspective. He is so good at motivating people to do things (and always the right things -- he could be manipulative in a negative way if he wanted to but he never does that -- rare combo -- manipulative skills and integrity. :nod:)

    But when it comes to doctors, it is the exact reverse. He is so provoking, irritating, self-righteous -- he shoots himself in the foot when it comes to doctors. On the other hand, that is the one area when I have almost no issues around that -- I am good at picking the very best doctors --I do my homework and they are usually very appreciative of my ability to understand what is going on and they also appreciate that I appreciate their skill. We function more collaboratively -- they do no feel defensive when I raise possible strategies -- and overall, we bond so well that they take special care to look after me. And it helps that I almost always recover miraculously well from whatever they do -- that I reaffirm their sense of themselves as healers.

    So after the doctor examined PGC's mother and ran tests, he said there was no evidence of any problem and that she needed special support hose until the swelling went down. It was the only time PGC raved about a doctor and how good he was and how happy PGC finally found a regular doctor for his mother -- which she did not have because she literally never got sick.

    So PGC arranged for a nurse from a service to come in daily to put on the support stocking and the first day after the diagnosis, the nurse came over, went into the bedroom to help with putting on the stockings and came out and abruptly came out and said she would not put the stockings on, PGC's mother had a massive infection in her legs and needed to be hospitalized immediately. Obviously PGC was in a little shock -- I certainly was -- and it really made me feel powerless to be all the way over here in Israel and not able to take over and take charge -- (though PGC would never let me anyway.) I wanted to call that doctor and give him a piece of my anger management issues and scare the bejesus out of him when he realized he was talking to a lawyer. But of course PGC said no.

    So they put PGC's mother on antibiotics intravenously and things seemed under control and PGC left back for Florida.

    Two evenings before he was to leave for Israel (the day that I did my legs workout), he gets a call from the emergency room at the hospital -- his mother has been re-admitted -- they were not sure what was wrong but they suspected she had a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics. The emergency room doctor told PGC to get up to Chicago immediately. He got a flight for the next day and called me to tell me that Israel was at least postponed or off altogether. He was not sure how serious things were -- the emergency room doctor just said his mother's skin was all inflamed quite seriously and damaged. They had no dermatologist on staff. But they were taking her off the antibiotics and putting her on steroids. (My research showed that was exactly the right thing to do.)

    Then the next day, one hour before PGC was leaving for his flight, he was called by the allergist on staff. The allergist said his mother's skin was totally destroyed -- that this was a rare reaction -- there really is no treatment -- doctors try various things but usually it is no good. Basically he was saying PGC's mother was dying. So PGC broke down on the phone to me and for the first time ever -- he cried. I felt so bad I couldn't be there to hold and comfort him. He also was so concerned about ruining my trip to Israel!! I did my best to assure him that was irrelevant -- but he is so giving and so focused on satisfying other people's needs he never takes care of himself or even acknowledges that he has needs.

    Anyway -- that is when I went off program. I wish I was like Seltzer. I don't have that discipline or sense that it would make me feel better to stay on program. I just reach for comfort food -- ice cream, cookies (I even thought of alcohol this time, my emotions were in such a twisted knot, for PGC, for his mother with whom I am pretty bonded)-- and I am not a drinker at all -- I did manage to talk myself out of that -- it wasn't too hard since I am not inclined that way -- the easiest argument was that I would not be of any help to PGC if I did that.)

    So that was Tuesday. Wednesday, PGC went into the hospital to see his mother for the first time since this -- braced for seeing his mother in an awful condition -- and he walks in and he says -- she wasn't that bad. She looked like she had a severe 2nd degree burn all over her body but not on her back. By Wednesday afternoon, they were running biopsy still ominous about her -- but she herself was in chipper spirits. By Thursday she was up and about in a wheel chair, PGC put her on the phone to me and she was her usual engaging, good-humored self. They said they were going to transfer her to a hospital with a burn unit (which my research also said was the right thing to do -- even though it was an allergy reaction the effect on the skin was if it had been burned.) They found a doctor who specialized in burns at one of the leading burn units in the country. It took a few more hours to find a bed. Friday, the biopsy report came back and apparently the awful thing they were sure she had she did not. The allergist said there had been no deterioration in his mother's condition. By the end of Friday her condition had improved so much, they released her from the hospital.

    Saturday, PGC flew back to Florida, and we re-scheduled his trip to Israel to leave this Monday.

    I have never been on such an emotional roller coaster like that before in my life. I had already made plans to leave Israel ASAP to be with him. Poor PGC -- who was so exhausted before this even happened -- could barely move. I kept telling him he did not have to come to Israel but he was insistent.

    So he arrives this Tuesday. And today... I try to get back on schedule. Of course all the gains I had made in the week I was on plan disappeared in the few days of cookie eating. But was is true -- it just takes a few days for me to be on plan and results start showing rather quickly -- very motivating.

    With regard to PGC's mother -- she has said repeatedly for a year now -- and this time more intensely so -- she wants to go. There is nothing more for her to look forward to. She has expressed this repeatedly to PGC and she has even expressed this to me several times. Her husband has been dead for 10 years. Her daughter, PGC's sister, died very young of breast cancer. PGC's mother and father raised the sister's two children as the sister's husband had a nervous breakdown after his wife's death and remained institutionalized until his own death.

    She has seen her two grand-children grown, one married to a wonderful man with one great grandchild and another on the way. The other now engaged to another very terrific guy. PGC's own daughter (who is adopted from Korea) is also engage and living with her fiancée.

    PGC's mother has experienced everything one could hope for in one's life. She wants to go. So PGC, during this crises, gave orders for only palliative care, to keep her as comfortable as possible.

    Just this past week, the New York Times had an article on death and dying The New Old Age -- we are facing a whole new phenomenon now that medical care and health maintenance and self-care has improved so much. And decisions have to be made. And Medicare needs a complete overhaul in face of that.

    The article describes the 3 major trajectories of death. The first is death from cancer - about 20% of Americans will die this way, the number peaking at age 65. The cancer course of death is years of good health until the cancer emerges, then weeks or months of steep decline. The individual requires years of excellent medical care prior to the emerging cancer and then hospice support during the "sprint to death."

    If one loves past 65, the next course peaks about 10 years later at age 75 -- which is death from organ failure: heart or lung, e.g.. About 25% of Americans die this way. The course is a life punctuated by bouts of illness alternating with periods of relative stability. These individuals require quick, aggressive first rate care at the first sign of trouble -- until finally, one incident fails to respond to medical treatment and death occurs suddenly.

    For those who live past the age of 85, approximately 40% of Americans, is the most prolonged. Either gradual increasing physical frailty or growing dementia, at the very least short term memory loss. This course is long, can go on for many years, is exhausting for everyone and humiliating. It also can bankrupt families.

    It is this last course that PGC's mother is on -- the dementia route --- though this last physical incident is probably the result of her immune system breaking down. As one person in the NY Times article said, "the reward for living past 85 is that you get to rot to death."

    This last course is the one facing the majority of us because though the numbers now are that 40% of Americans will face this course -- as improvements progress in prevention and treatment for cancer. heart disease and other earlier life terminating illnesses, more and more of us will be at this last End Of Life stage.

    I do have a hope, for both PGC's mother and PGC (and indirectly myself), that PGC's mother wish comes true. It must be wonderful to reach a point in your life when you know you are done, you have done it all and there is nothing left that you wish to experience. I hope I live to such an age and then when I do -- that death will come quickly.
     
  17. Chadster

    Chadster Well-Known Member

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    That's great Justitia!!!! :)
     
  18. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    Gone again and back. The last 3 weeks have been a trip -- literally. While in Israel, I went on fabulous trip with my students, PGC and I took a couple of days in Jerusalem and then we flew back to the US.

    I've been pretty consistent with cardio but I have only done weights twice. I am hoping to do weights tonight.

    My food has been pretty bad but I have been clean for a few days now.

    So I am going to start journaling now to get me going.

    Today, Wednesday Aug 13 2008

    Fasted Am Cardio (though I did it at 11:00 AM)

    Breakfast: 1 cup low fat cottage cheese, 28 g of toasted tamari soaked almonds.

    Mid-morning snack: 3 oz Turkey breast 1 1/2 oz leerdammer cheese.

    Lunch: 5 oz lamb shank (very lean), salad, 3 Tbsp Ginger & Carrot vinaigrette dressing (10 g fat, 4 carbs)

    Mid afternoon snack: ATW Protein shake with Heavy cream.

    I have a "Faculty Meet & Greet" with the new 1st year law students at 5:00. I am hoping to get back to go do weights at 7:00. Will report back.

    EDIT: Well, when I finally got to school -- I ate the lunch at 4:30. I left the Meet & Greet after half an hour. I felt uncomfortable -- some weird stuff happened with a couple of faculty members. Largely I was feeling paranoid -- I think out of guilt for not getting any writing done this summer. Everyone was talking about their "article." I haven't written in over 2 years. The spring of '06 when I was finishing the final editing process of my last piece which was a major one -- is when all my medical problems started.

    I have a draft started of a short piece that is to go into a symposium issue of ours from our conference last spring. It is pretty good but only about 10% done. Each part takes a lot of work (at least for me) to do -- as I tend to write pretty "meaty". It is hard for me just to dash stuff off with what I already know to say.

    I had hoped to get it done while in Israel -- but the situation there was impossible -- fraught with so many problems. I had also hoped to have gotten started on writing up my next major piece which is a statistical study I did on the effectiveness of an affirmative action program we had - a 10 year data base. The results were quite surprising (very positive results way beyond what the statistics would have predicted) so I want to publish it.

    Great plans --little execution.

    So I came up to my office to start writing for an hour instead of continuing on the meet and greet. And I discovered I left my protein powder at home -- and I felt tired --which I have been feeling all the time now-- and I worked for about 45 minutes and then just sat there procrastinating looking up about Rooibos tea -- and I canceled doing weights -- and I came home to watch a DVD & go to bed -- and the DVD I had rented I hadn't realized was one I rented before and stopped watching because it was too violent for me -- and I went to the new supermarket downstairs which has one of these machines you can rent DVDs -- I got one and also got some lemon meringue pie. :o

    And this is how my day ends almost every day. I could not put on a pair of pants I originally intended to wear at the faculty/student event because I have developed a pooch in my belly.

    It is depressing. Everyday I start out with good intentions and I end up scuttling them by the end. I have no energy -- and I feel disheartened. Is it because I am 60? Is it because I am walking around with a low grade sinus infection all the time? Is ti because I don't sleep well because of my guilt for not writing? For being so angry with my colleague, the director of the program who refused to take responsibility for the mess he caused at our summer program -- and is still causing by abandoning his responsibilities? And I have to take up the job?

    I am not sure.

    But it is 8:00 AM Thursday now and time to start again.
     
    #78 Justitia, Aug 13, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  19. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    So to update. I did cardio Thursday & Friday and took Saturday and Sunday off. I did my 3rd set of weights on Sunday mid-day and found where my limits are in my condition now.

    My left shoulder is hurting and I am concerned it is the rotator cuff. I did my weight workout anyway -- which was working out chest, tris and delts. I was careful not to overdo but my shoulder was considerably more sore and hurt more afterwards. I knew I was taking a risk -- but I could not stand putting off the weights any longer.

    The shoulder hurt quite a bit the rest of the day. I was careful not to use it too much. But when I woke up today -- it was as if it was almost all better. I think I know what caused the irritation -- it was lifting my rollerboard brief case -- which gets quite heavy -- into the car, carrying too much weigh on my shoulder, etc. I am beginning to feel confident that I have not torn the cuff.

    So I've packed my briefcase lighter -- switched shoulders for carrying my purse and am careful to rest my food cooler bag rest on the roller board and not my shoulder.

    I am on antibiotics again for sinuses -- I feel certain it has to do with this last tooth that has the implant. The crown that was made was bad and the dentist tried to see if I wouldn't notice. I am a little pissed at him. But I know I will have to investigate further the source of this chronic infection. I have to motivate him to find out. The smell and the taste of the infection is constant -- it is really unpleasant.

    My food has not been great -- but it is mostly prepared for this week so that shouldn't be a problem anymore.

    Today was the first day of class -- and as often happens, with butterflies in my stomach I get behind in my food. But at least it is clean. I did get my fasted cardio in.

    I have figured out -- finally -- a routine that I think will work for me: fasted cardio Monday through Friday and weights Tuesday and Thursday evening and Saturday morning. That is pretty much what I did last week and it worked pretty well.
     
  20. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Good luck with your new routine and the new semester. As always, I'll be following along.
     

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