Recently, shortly after my 90th birthday, my doctor felt that I should try to build up my strength. He suggested I drink Ensure® (I can’t stand anything that closely resembles milk, etc. and told him so, but he wanted me to try Ensure®. He also suggested I get a bicycle for some good but easy daily exercise. Okay, he’s the doctor.
The Ensure® was too much for me even to contemplate since I much prefer a bottle of dark beer with my lunch, but I did think a bike might be fun. I hadn’t ridden in many a year. I looked around and found a nice “old-school” bike with balloon tires, one speed (I’d never be able to master even a three-speed, not to mention like ten and up. An additional plus (for me), this baby had that marvel that used to impress me greatly as a kid: New Departure Coaster Brakes. Although it had been years since I had ridden a bike, they say you never forget and for the most part, I think they’re right. But you do have to consider age and condition.
So far the results have been mixed but encouraging. I cleaned the bike up on April 30th, made sure everything was oiled and working and the next day, May first, I’d take her for a spin around the neighborhood. It also turned out the first of May was a pick-up day for rubbish, tree branches, limbs, etc. Just pile the stuff in the street by the driveway. My next-door neighbor obediently did just that.
I got on my bike in our garage with my wife doubtfully watching and overall, it felt pretty good. I hit the pedals and started down the driveway. As I did this, perhaps in a burst of unwarranted overconfidence, laughing and talking over my shoulder to my wife, I didn’t notice the neighbor’s clean-up pile that waited just ahead.
Talk about exercise! I’ll tell you, there’s a lot more to exercise than meets the eye. Man, what an experience, but still, I find it hard that the city can justify nearly $4,000 for the emergency vehicle that took me three miles to the wrong hospital. And since that hospital didn’t use the plan I have, they billed me nearly $2,000 for emergency services and a three-day stay in ICU just to make sure I was going to be all right.
Unfortunately, my insurance plan would only cover those costs if I called ahead and got prior approval. I’m not so sure they’d have approved anyway if I told them I intended to drive my new bike into a pile of rubbish. But being unconscious, I couldn’t have called, so the joke’s on them.
I really feel bad for my poor wife though. My exercise accident upset her so much she was a nervous wreck. She followed the emergency vehicle in our new Lexus. The entire incident had so upset her that she didn’t see the red light and a beer truck T-boned her. Insurance will cover most of the damage to the car…well, they determined it to be a total loss, and but whatever we end up getting can go toward another car.
I have no idea what her stay will amount to since she has the same medical plan I do, But with the surgery and all, I imagine it’s going to be a pretty stiff number. But, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining here is that she’s not suffering at all, and when she comes out of her coma, the doctors tell me she probably won’t remember a thing about the entire incident.
My doctor did manage to come around to see me. He smiled and said, “The last time I saw you we decided you needed more exercise, didn’t we? Well, perhaps a bicycle is a bit too much so perhaps we should try exercising in the garage.” I liked the part where he kept saying “we”, but he’s a very nice doctor, so I said nothing.
When I was discharged, I donated the bike to The St. Vincent de Paul Society and opted to jog in place inside the garage.
We live in a crazy world. The funniest things happen. Well, it’s my own fault that the oil from my old pickup leaked all over the floor. And since I lost my glasses in the neighbor’s rubbish I didn’t notice the oily floor.
I have to laugh though, at the expression on my son’s face when he came by two days later to see why no one answered the phone.
He said, “Dad, why are you lying here on the garage floor? Don’t you see it’s all oily?”
The upside to all this is that now, back in the hospital, I can have a nurse push my wheelchair up to see my sweet wife. Of course, she can’t talk, but I’m sure she knows I’m there holding her hand (it’s a pity they couldn’t save the other hand, the one that got crushed in the accident), but the upside to that is, now she can get out of a lot of housework I supposed I can do for her.
Well, this exercise business has certainly been an eye-opener and I have lost nearly seven pounds I’m glad I no longer have to carry around.
The moment my wife wakes from her coma, I’ll be sure to write a follow-up. (That is if the burns on my hand permit. Up until now I never dreamed the handles on pots and pans could get so hot, but now that I’m the cook, I’m learning quickly.
Whoever knew a little exercise could be so exciting?