I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but rumor has it that exercise promotes good health. And not necessarily big, ambitious exercise — though kudos to those of us managing that — but really modest+daily exercise can do a lot for a person.
Take my Dad. Pop fell and broke the head of his femur clean off about a month ago. Surgeons doing their remarkable engineering/patching work screwed the ball of that femur back on so that within hours he could move again, albeit painfully, wobbly, weakly. But the point was, he had no restrictions. He could use his leg as much as he could, and we all knew that the more he used it, the better he would get.
So Dad has been working with a crack team of physical and occupational therapists who are getting him moving, with nurses keeping his pain in check. And my family has noticed: Dad looks better than he has in months.
You know? He seems less confused, his complexion is clearer. His health stats are as good as ever (except for his memory, he’s quite healthy). And he’s getting stronger every day.
It sounds kind of cruel, I know, but this broken bone may have brought my dad a real boon of health. (Fingers and toes crossed here.)
And of course, I can’t help but think the reason he fell in the first place is that he was weak and teetery. He has a bad back, which makes him hunch over, which puts his center of balance off. But also, he spends most of his day in a chair. (Yes, I know, like father like daughter.) He is afraid to walk far, for fear of getting lost. So he stays in a very small area during most of his day. When we come to visit him, we mostly take him out for a meal, but don’t really spend much time just walking.
Dad lost the strength and balance in his legs over the past few months, and now he’s getting it back, painfully and traumatically, but it’s coming back. With the exercise, his confusion seems less severe. That is, his brain is working better.
Monday he moves back to his apartment, armed now with a walker, therapists and helpers who can help Dad keep up his new old habit of daily exercise.
And I am once again awed and humbled by the human body’s desire to heal and be well. Even in an 82-year-old man.
I know that not all hip fractures go this well. I was very fearful that this fall would force Dad into a much lower spiral of health. The opposite has happened, and I feel very lucky. Thankful for the great care he’s gotten from family and pros.
Off to see Pop now. Kiss a caregiver today, will you? Or an older relative?
And work on that moving every day habit, okay? I will if you will.