Radiogurl a la Carte

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2004
Exercise Your Inner Librarian

It's a gorgeous day outside. I walked down to Wally World after realizing I'd forgotten a few odds and ends when I was there last night. Like Pine Sol, aluminum foil, sandwich bags, etc. It is not far - maybe half a mile each way, if that. And the temperature is probably in the 80's F or thereabouts, with mostly brilliant blue skies, that impossibly deep turquoise I've never seen anywhere but in the desert.

I am now really exhausted from just that little bit of exertion. There's a story behind that.

About ten years ago I lost a lot of weight, too. I dropped from a size 24 to a size 8/10 in a year's time. I looked better, at least for a while. I was not healthy, though. I didn't diet at all, at least not consciously. Instead, I was literally working myself to death. I started work at 4AM and didn't finish up on any given day until at LEAST 6:15PM, and all too often, I wasn't done until near midnight. You do the math. And because I was working virtually nonstop for most of those hours, I went as many as four days straight without eating anything. Sometimes I'd just forget to eat. Other days I simply didn't have the time.

After a while of doing that, I ended up in the emergency room with all of the classic symptoms of a heart attack: chest pains, difficulty breathing, my lips and extremities were blue, pain radiating down my left arm. Only it wasn't technically a heart attack. Instead, I had become so run-down that my body had begun to cannibalize itself to try and recover a severe iron deficiency. The doctor said that since iron carries oxygen in your blood, and I had virtually no iron in my blood at all, my heart was in fact operating much as it would in a heart attack. What causes a heart attack is when a blocked artery stops the heart from receiving oxygen. Compounding the problem, my blood volume was also down by 20%.

At the time, I just shrugged and thought to myself that fine, if I was anemic, I would take iron.

It wasn't until a few days later in a follow-up visit to the doctor that I was told, in essence, "No, you don't understand. You're at a point when this is life-threatening if you don't take care of yourself." He told me he might have given me an iron injection, but my levels were so low he believed it would have sent me into anaphylactic shock and killed me.

I won't go into the gory details. Obviously I survived and I didn't attempt to watch my diet at all for the intervening years, which resulted in my ballooning to a much larger size and still being extremely unhealthy. I'm trying now to take a more pragmatic approach. I still become anemic at the drop of a hat. Fortunately anemia is unlikely while on the Atkins diet because of the emphasis on meats and iron-enhancing vegetables. My eating habits have improved drastically overall. I'm conscious of what goes into my body and I probably now eat four or five times as many vegetables as I did before Atkins, and far fewer sweets. I don't miss them, either!

But exercise of any kind still leaves me drained. I hope that I can begin to rebuild my tolerance now that I'm becoming a more healthy weight. As with anyone else, I have that period of physiological euphoria immediately after exercise. The elevated mood evaporates quickly and I'm left shaky and often nauseated and headachy. I make sure to drink enough water - another positive influence of Atkins - and I'm learning that it helps to eat something immediate following a period of activity. It's frustrating, though, to want to do more exercise, knowing that it's really better for me if I do, and yet to know that exercise for me is really debilitating for several hours afterward.

Oh well. As frustrated as I am this afternoon, I really have gained a lot of stamina compared to where I was a year ago. I couldn't ever have walked this much then, especially when a good quarter-mile is uphill. I had to stop once on the way back because my arms were aching from the bags I was carrying. A year ago I'd have had to stop several times along the way just to breathe. Dropping on the order of 65-70 lbs. really makes a huge difference!

I did go back and buy the cardigan I wanted. It's a deep maroon cable-knit with bright gold metallic buttons. I will probably replace the buttons with some solid-color ones. Come to think of it, I should've bought some new maroon ones while I was there. Oh well, there's no hurry on that, since I shouldn't need a sweater for at least another couple of weeks or so. I love the style of this one - it has a wide ribbed fold-back collar and it's the really long style I prefer, with the hem at mid-thigh; the comfy sort of thing that you just cuddle up in and enjoy its soft warmth. I went to the large ladies' sizes to get it because I like my sweaters on the roomy side. I got the smallest women's size available (16W) and figure I can probably get away with that almost indefinitely. (00 borrows my old XXL sweater every year, for the same reason.)

This week seemed to be my jackpot week for finding clothes I like. Maybe it's because more classic styles are coming back into fashion. I think the kiddie magazines tout the new trend as "1950's librarian sexy." I don't care what they call it, I'm just glad it's there!

Speaking of librarians, I just placed my first order on Amazon. I ordered a book, courtesy of a review by fellow DL'er sunnflower. The book is called Elegance and it sounds like yummy reading. I also ordered a music CD, an instrumental called Celtic Harpestry. I heard one song from the collection eons ago, and was hooked. It's very calming, good to play in the background after a long and frantic day. Amazon lists it as New Age. I'd say more neo-classical. In any event, I love it.

Ack... 00 was supposed to come pick me up so we can do laundry, but Pipeboy's truck broke down so we can't go until tomorrow. Oh joy. Guess I will have to walk back to the grocery store this afternoon, after all. At least I don't have a lot of stuff to pick up and carry back up the hill. I'll wait until about 4-ish and start walking. It's not a big deal to walk down but I don't want to walk home in the dark, since I have to walk through a small wooded area. I am not worried about creeps and weirdoes, but would worry about losing my footing in a few places where it's steep.

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )