Blog 14   7 Million Steps – The First 2 weeks Unplugged – it’s a little long…I learned a Life Lesson!

Our first 2 weeks finished Thursday October 5th there has been a lot going on behind the scenes that youhave not been privy too, but after speaking to Kelly last night I decided to take you briefly into our lives on a couple of the issues we have had to deal with!

Every day I am out of bed and getting ready at 5 or 5.30 am – Kelly likes to sleep in until maybe 6 am.

I make our smoothie, full of goodness (thank you Doc Angela) and our coffee, sometimes we also have oatmeal, it perhaps seems a lot but it has to sustain in me for several hours and Kelly if she is riding her hand cycle.

I have to carry everything I need for the day on my back, this has proved a problem, as when I was training in Australia I rarely used a back pack, so getting used to the pack and carrying enough water has been a challenge. Anotherchallenge had been coming out of a cold Australian winter… into this intense heat!

In those first 3 days I seriously had no idea what was ahead of me, (um I still don’t hahahaha) I had a map and that was it. I soon learned to check out the topography before walking, especially after Day 3 (over 95d f) a climb for 3 hours and day 4 (another 95d + day) a climb for 4 hours, at least there was shade which offered shelter from the piercing heat.

In my pack I usually carry 2 bananas, an apple and protein bars as well as about 2 ½ litres of water with electrolytes.

Enough of the background…

Day 1 I had plenty of company Warrior Momz, friends and it was a fun day. We were staying in Temecula at a friend’s house, Kelly and I sleeping in the RV my 2 friends in the house.

Day 2 I Was walking with Warrior Mom Laquita we spent a very dangerous day dodging cars as the roads had only very narrow shoulders.  We still managed to chat most of the way, and enjoyed lots of laughs and OMG moments especially when we spoke about our sons. Unfortunately Laquita injured her knee so she was unable to walk on Sunday! Day 3 I was walking on my own and I woke up with the beginnings of a UTI (this is the fun part) I haven’t had a UTI in years, but I felt all was not right! Obviously this resulted in emergency “pee” stops frequently that day. It was also the day I ran out of water ½ way through a 3 hour climb, only to be rescued by my angels which I wrote about previously.

Tuesday, I walked with Warrior Mom Debbie Flynn, we had some confusion about the walk, starting late and we ended up walking til dusk. The UTI only caused me minor discomfort, so it was a great day and another 4 hour long climb! The scenery was stunning along the way Debbie giving me sage advice on various issues I may encounter!                                                                                                             Fast forward the UTI hung in there for several days, what was worse, some days I didn’t find the tree in time and I suffered a series of embarrassing accidents. In truth no one knew except me and I was frankly at 67 years of age disgusted with myself. On the bright side it was so hot, so I dried out pretty quickly but then it was the smell the degradation the embarrassment! Once I got back to the RV, I would throw myself in the shower and scrub myself clean with my clothes beside me… The next day I would be up and walking like nothing had happened! I finally got some medication that worked and all was starting to settle down thank God!

Wednesday 4th October will go down in the history of this walk as my “Armageddon” day.

Kelly had asked me to wake her early but for various reasons, which included an 80 mile drive to commence the walk from the correct location, I didn’t start walking until 10.15 am. I wasn’t overly concerned as the road was flat, in my mind I was in heaven! I had brought the umbrella with me, but my attempts to put it up resulted in the wind blowing it inside out, so back in the car it went.

I kept walking at a good pace to achieve my 22 mile goal! I still had the leftover from the UTI so every so often I quickly sought refuge behind a tree. I had plenty of water so at least I wasn’t thirsty. I walked on and on and on… It got hotter and I got hotter – it was disgusting! THERE WAS NO SHADE! I believe it was over 100 degrees that day. Still I kept walking I was on a mission, but I felt defeated!  Between battling with the UTI and the cruel unrelenting heat I felt totally beaten.

I called Kelly, but initially she was 2 hours away, so I had to keep walking. Ahead I saw a building, by this time it was about 1.30 pm. As I got closer I noticed it was a Mexican Restaurant, to me it was an Oasis! I found the entrance and walked in saying to the bewildered server, I NEED A LONG DRINK WITH HEAPS OF ICE! At that moment I felt the urge to pee so my next demand was “where is your rest room?” She pointed behind me so I left the drink and bolted! OMG I felt demented!

I gulped the drink down and briefly told her why I was walking! Then the owner came and berated me for taking off my shoes! My feet were swollen and so sore, you know how you feel wearing shoes that are too tight! I apologised profusely and left the restaurant and back into the heat. In the meantime Kelly had texted me she was ½ hour away. Still determined to continue walking I managed to get to 18 miles before Kelly rescued me and drove me back to the RV. I was exhausted, sleeping most of the way! Once back I threw myself on my bed and slept. I felt totally beaten and a total failure my god this was only my second week. My feet ached I had blisters on both big toes, both little toes and my left heal. All in one day! My feet swelled and my shoes were too tight another problem I had not encountered before. Kelly realised I was at breaking point so she suggested taking the following morning off going to the Anthem Outlets and getting bigger shoes, I felt better already!

Getting the shoes Kelly then suggested we visit Ability360 – this is her gym, and where we are having our Phoenix Welcome Event on the 16th. OMG I loved the gym, they have a walking area where I met three “walkers” and I had some fun with them! I then started exploring, found Kelly and decided to do a work out for variety! This gym is so impressive it has everything, I felt at home and connected with several people with injuries. They were all so positive and focused on their recovery… For me this is when I am the happiest other than when I am with my family.

As for the feet I have a strict regime after every walk and I now proudly sport calluses instead of blisters and know there will be no pedicures til the walk is finished.

Last night I was speaking to Kelly, she had no clue of what was going on with the UTI, other than I had one, when I told her about the accidents she laughed and said “welcome to the world of SCI!” And then I realised this was my journey to experience a small part of the degradation many with SCI go through! And I needed to write about it! To my family who read and watch everything I write please do not worry about me I am good, UTI under control. Mentally, I am in a good place and my confidence grows with every day and my blisters are nearly healed! Thank god for Epsom Salts!