Resiliency and the Art of Failure – Part Two

This week, the warm weather sent Mom and I out into our neighborhood to try out her new wheelchair. On the second hill of the first day, mom was on one of her repeating loops in response to the sound of my labored breathing. In an effort to stop the buzz kill drowning out the birdsong, I innocently began an infomercial about Sergeant Marcia’s Boot camp. Her laughter, combined with the concentration needed to follow the monologue, eliminated the loop, AND I liked the concept.

The great thing is, pushing an adult in a wheelchair is an incredible workout. Even the slightest incline becomes a challenge, both on the up, because it requires so much power, and the down due to the increased effort required to ensure control. The chair alone is 40+ pounds, which is about the same weight as the single I will soon be car-topping to row on Lake Cochichuate. There were even times I was able to apply some of the more recent gains from Pilates, at least for a few minutes.

I figure that six weeks of wheelchair boot-camp is as effective as ‘Mommy and Me’ fitness groups at the mall performed with light weight agility. (No disrespect intended to dedicated new moms who are getting back in shape.) I’m just sayin’ technology seems to be on point in the whole ergonomically designed baby stroller, and self-propelled differently able athlete wheelchair markets, not so much with the wheelchair (many of which are transporters, if you get the drift) propelled by caregivers demographic.

Being out and about with her, is easier than taking a walk by myself during the day and wondering if she’s ok the whole time. She comes home a bit more animated, and less agitated. I come home feeling more like my competent athletic self. The tradeoff for having to hear the same comments repeated multiple times, comes in the form of memories.

On the third day, we were going down a bumpy section of road when I experienced a visceral memory of  being pushed in a stroller by her, going aaaahhh ahhh ahh to make my voice sound funny on the same kind of rough surface. I wondered if she was remembering the same thing. I sent up a test balloon, “Hey mom, don’t throw you’re shoes out so I have to take you back over that part again to get them”.  Sure enough, she laughed without hesitation, or need for translation.

Of course, there was one nice day, when she dug in her heels and wouldn’t buy in to the walk du jour. I firmly reminded myself it wasn’t personal, and went on to the day’s studies. Oh, and in case you are wondering what all this has to do with failure. I assure you there is plenty … or I wouldn’t have been so out of breath on those hills to begin with. This particular challenge is a work in progress, as I grapple to unearth the learning, growth, and insight that have occurred unobserved beneath the surface, during my most recent temporary and essential setbacks.

Next week I hope you will return for a conversation with MIT Head Football Coach Chad Martinovich, who will share his thoughts on the necessity of setbacks and failures on the road to success, in Resiliency and the Art of Failure – Part Three.

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6 Responses to Resiliency and the Art of Failure – Part Two

  1. Erin Martinovich says:

    I love the concept of Marcia bootcamp – it brings resiliency to all of the many places in your life where you need it most. It is a good reminder to me today that resiliency is a skill that must be practiced over and over… thanks for the reminder.

    • …. and over and over again, more times than we care to be reminded. Thank you for continuing to bring joy, laughter and friendship to this process. I value your keen observations and support. much love.

  2. Amy Lapetina says:

    I can relate to this one as I used to push my mother-in-law in her wheelchair just from my car and into her doctor’s appointments. It is extremely difficult but you don’t want to moan and groan too loud for fear that you will be hurting their feelings! It shows how much you love her that you take her on your travels with her. What a blessing you are to each other
    !

    • Maybe we can find a good engineer to re-design this type of wheelchair for active folks who push folks. After all someday that will be us and I sure hope it will be easier for someone to push me around. Thanks for sharing the story of your mother-in-law. It made me laugh. Hope you have a good day.

  3. Pam garrison says:

    The fresh air, exercise and talking are great for both of you. I remember being wheeled down Irving Road as a baby. You might see my father walking in your travels (with help from his wheeler). I love your blogs, Beth.

    • WE did see him at the top of the street. He looks so much better and stronger. How cool that you remember your stroller days. The little inclines are starting to get easier. Thanks for taking the time to continue reading. Hope life is treating you well.

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