Thanks for reading the Osteoarthritis: Just Another Challenge blog. My purpose in writing is the same as previous posts, to persuade you to engage in a daily exercise program planned and monitored by a physical therapist under the supervision of a medical practitioner. If you live in or near Portland, Oregon, I strongly recommend Dr. Nels Carlson (OHSU Spine Center 503.418.9888) and Beyond the Clinic (physical therapy in the home, office, or gym – 503.496.0385) for the jobs of helping to plan, monitor and supervise your daily exercise program.
My name is Rich. I’m a sixty-six year old retired elementary school teacher who still enjoys the rush and challenge of working with young people. I get a kid fix every now and then with my grandchildren and by substitute teaching in my old district in Sandy, Oregon. My exercise partner, social director and most excellent spouse is Sue, also a retired elementary teacher. This blog is the inspiration of Aaron of Beyond the Clinic. Aaron is my physical therapist, friend and mentor.
Before encountering Aaron and Dr. Carlson, substitute teaching was an onerous task. I looked forward to my infrequent work days with dread. The work days were filled with grumpiness due to severe discomfort in my back, neck and shoulders.
After a day of work, I would go home to take a nap, have an early dinner and then off to bed. Often it would take two days to recover before I could work again. Because of the joy and stimulation of working with kids, I continued to substitute despite the discomfort.
Months of climbing stairs, stretching and strengthening muscles and refining the exercise program with Aaron, dramatically changed the picture of dread and discomfort described above.
For example, I subbed at a middle school several times in January. One of those times I went on a walking Chinese New Year’s parade through Sandy with nearly two hundred sixth graders. Another day required working with up to forty-four sixth graders in a class with only a short break for lunch. Nonetheless, I found myself smiling at the end of both days because I’d had so much fun and experienced so little discomfort.
On one occasion I taught sixth graders for eight hours and then went to the local high school and climbed thirty stairs in forty minutes. Sue & I had dinner and went to an art show on the other side of town. Yes, I was still smiling at the end of a sixteen hour day because I’d had so much fun and experienced so little discomfort.
If you’re reading this blog and/or surfing the net looking for easy answers or painless solutions to your osteoarthritis, shut down your computer and go exercise. Go slowly, listen to your body, but move and believe that if you continue to exercise, you too will transform your life.