Opinion & Editorial

Cheers to better health, healing and each other

I have been struggling lately to get my weekly column out on time. Our days since Jim’s retirement have been filled with scheduled doctors’ appointments, haircuts, pedicures—you know… preventative maintenance for not only our home and car, but for our bodies as well—and errands to town for groceries and just the general “busy-ness” of living. 

For the past several weeks, however, we’ve added regular twice-a-week visits to the Campbell Community Center in Eugene where Jim takes part in a wonderful fitness class called “Fight Back with Neuromuscular Exercise.” Many of his group of 6-8 people, like Jim, are dealing with balance and coordination issues and their caring and patient instructor, Eric Beins, takes them through strength- and balance-building exercises each Tuesday and Thursday. Since mid-April, when Jim signed up for the class, our whole family has seen how much improvement he’s showing. Jim loves the class and enjoys the social interaction he has with Eric and the others who attend with him. I am made welcome there as Jim’s “assistant.” It’s my job to make sure Jim’s walker is available when needed for the standing exercises and to move it when it tends to get in the way during the sitting segments. I’m also the official “ball chaser” when loose balls that the class uses, escape. The class takes place in a beautiful new room recently added in the renovation of the Campbell Center. It has floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the Willamette River as it flows past at Skinner’s Butte Park. We all received a bonus for the past few weeks when we began seeing the beautiful pair of bald eagles who built a nest this spring a short ways from the center, soaring slowing outside the windows. 

In the last couple of weeks, Jim has added twice-weekly physical therapy sessions to his routine, as well. He chose to schedule them on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, 2-hours before his fitness classes, to save trips to town. The PT workouts are more strenuous, using 2-pound ankle weights to his leg lifts, and he is knows he has had a workout when he leaves after each session, but he is determined to gain strength and balance before our next vacation scheduled for the end of June. 

Each day, twice daily, when he is not in his classes, he works diligently on the homework exercises that he has been assigned by his physical therapist. We even bought some 2-pound ankle weights for him to use. I have no doubt that by the time we head off for our vacation in June, we will be able to enjoy it as much as we did the one we took last fall. 

I am so proud of this man who has been so active all of his life as a rancher and store owner. He used to love to run 8-miles a day, several days a week, into his 60s and even completed the Portland Marathon one year. Two hip replacements, a pelvis, broken in 3 places after a fall, and two surgeries that fused vertebrae in his back brought an end to all of that, however. He’s had to walk with a cane and now, a walker, for the past 4 years. I ordered him a new walker recently because his old one was adorned with duct tape “repairs”—a trademark of Jim’s from his ranching days. 

We will be celebrating our 59th wedding anniversary at the end of this month—on May 30. He graduated from Springfield High School in 1958 and played on the winning basketball team that year. I met him after he returned from Germany where he spent a 3-year hitch in service to the U.S. Army at the time the Berlin Wall was being built. After he returned, I was asked to keep score for his AAU basketball team in Springfield, and we were married in 1964 in the gymnasium of St. Alice Catholic Church while the new church was being built. As it turned out, basketball played a big part in our lives over the years.

Happy Anniversary, Jim Edwards… my husband… my Superman. Through this week’s column, I want to express my love and deep respect for you a bit early because we never know what our days will be like down the road for either of us.

I believe that we all tend to take our blessings for granted as we wade through the intricacies of daily living. We need to express our love and appreciation as often as possible when we feel them, especially in the winters of our lives. Life may be difficult at times, but if you look for them, there are also blessings.

Read Pat Online: Allthingslorane.com



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