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Sunday, January 8, 2012

POST 538 - -01/08/12: OUTER BANKS, NORTH CAROLINA

Luckily, right foot injury is NOT Shin Splint...only a severely sprained ankle. Much better already today. Have walked on it all day with no pain killer. Quite sore to be certain, but not life threatening.

Today was a day at the Food Bank. Sunday is intended to be an opportunity for folks who attend church services to receive food...locals have, however, discovered the Pantry is open. The food pickup truck usually returns to the Pantry about 10:00 am. Today, it did not arrive until 12:30 pm...in the middle of services.

Disappointing was that only a meager offering was delivered. Two small boxes of frozen meat; two small boxes of bread & pastry; not a single veggie, no fruit, no dry food, no canned food.

I and the driver unloaded and stocked the freezer and shelve. It took only about five minutes to complete the entire job.

The first few folks into the Pantry left with two or three shopping bags full of food...those coming moments later left with next to nothing, as there was not much remaining.

Being a volunteer, I keep my thoughts mainly to myself. It is, however, a bit emotional to see those in need having so little from which to choose.

A number thanked me for my painting effort...a couple asked if I had time to help them with their painting project(s) at home....thank you; and yes !

A few days ago, my Bellingham friend, Sandra, suggested I try Bubble Wrap to add insulation for warmth inside SPIA. Stopped in at a national chain hardware store, where I picked up 12 " x 30 feet at $12.00 . A bit later, stopped in at a much smaller local chain store where I picked up another 30 feet x 12" (identical wrap) for $5.00. Guess it pays to shop around.

While in the shopping center, popped into the local Mexican Restaurant where I enjoyed a lunch plate...which I very much needed. Except for my morning porridge, had been 2.5 days without eating...simply hate to stop working when on a roll; then, am too bushed to be hungry.

Watched the first quarter of the BRONCO - STEELER playoff NFL game. First time seeing Tebow and was duly impressed. Shut off HAPPY CLAM's TV and at 7:30 pm, slipped into SPIA's bed.

...only to snap awake an hour later with a developing left leg cramp from ankle through the back side of my knee, ending at my buttock...a serious ham string cramp.

I have learned while walking that my leg cramp nearly always develops soon after retiring. With careful observation, have connected cramping with too little water drunk during the day. The past three days have been with nearly NO drinking water.

In the past, I would shoot out of bed - or off my chair / couch - stiffen the cramping leg to combat the straining muscle. This only made the pain far worse and often left lingering soreness for two or three days.

So, thought I would share this evening's discovery:

I lay perfectly still. The cramp was developing into a doozie. I did NOT move. I silently spoke to my tightening muscle...OK, I screwed up big time and you are about to punish me. I deserve punishment for not giving you enough water...I am very sorry and will strive to do so in the future.

But, for now, I refuse to fight you....

For the next 10 minutes, I concentrated mentally on my tightening muscle, willing my body to relax...to simply let go. I finally settled on starting with the top of my head and slowly shut down all reflex...moving down to my neck, along my spine, into my leg and finally the offending muscle. The pain INSTANTLY went away.

I lay unmoving for a minute or two; then, tried to apply a bit of movement; WHAM...the muscle stiffened again.

I ALWAYS have a bottle of drinking water at my bedside...have done so for years.

Concentrated another few minutes of mental / physical relaxation; I reached for my water bottle, took a sip...and when I got away with that, drained 1/2 of the bottle.

The spasm did not return.

Most folks probably are way ahead of me in this realm...nearly 80 years old and just learning how to treat my body.

We have much yet to do together, my body and me. Some satisfaction comes from my body's willingness to tolerate my errors and give me another chance.

Thank you.

No employment for me Monday or Tuesday. I want very much to return to Columbia to see Roy and Elva before they return to Madrid on Tuesday. Alas, I cannot make it. Wish them a safe trip home and look forward to our meeting again down the road.

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