The treadmill followed us to Adrian, where it sat in the den gathering dust.
Until late 2005, when it became clear Jeff would never be able to return to work. I think up until this time, he thought he’d be able to beat it.
Despite medications and injections, his blood sugar averaged 350. What we hoped was temporary neuropathy, turned into a permanent nightmare. Unhealable ulcers covered his legs, which were in danger. Poor circulation and deep wounds prompted one doctor to speculate on the future, citing potential, eventual amputation.
Jeff wasn’t depressed. I was terrified. Carrying 298.7 pounds on a 5’3” frame, I realized I was in no shape to help if it came to that. I wasn’t concentrating on taking baby steps. I didn’t have to. My body determined my pace.
It seems incredible to me now that one full minute was as far as I got the first day. Within two weeks though, I had achieved a regular, comfortable 3-minutes. I mean comfortable as in not gasping for breath, seeing little black spots or needing to chug a glass of orange juice to counteract my blood sugar drops from the exertion.
I’d been to my yearly physical, which I tried to avoid by only going every two or three years. I was declared obese, of course, and pre-diabetic which believe it or not was a shock to me. Wearing a size 28 should have been a clue, but that’s not how I saw myself, mostly because that’s not how Jeff saw me, either.
We developed an evening routine. I would come home from work, change my clothes and treadmill for 3 minutes. By the time I’d finished my shower, picked out my work clothes for the next day, Jeff would have dinner ready.
One evening, Jeff stuck his head through the kitchen pass-through. “How many minutes do you have left?” he asked.
“I only have 30 seconds,” I answered.
“Well,” Jeff said, “dinner’s not ready, yet. You can do an extra 30 seconds.”
I might have still had my crabby pants on from work, but I took umbrage. There I was sweating my brains out, seeing the light at the end of the torturous treadmill tunnel and he thinks I’ve got it in me to go another 30 seconds?
But, what I said, was, “Oh, really? Another 30 seconds? You get over here and do 30 seconds if you think it’s so easy!”
Of course, there were a few things wrong with my response. Jeff hadn’t actually implied I was slacking. He hadn’t said he thought it’d be easy. And it was a ridiculously inappropriate suggestion since his feet were continuously painful and he had a great deal of trouble walking.
But, Jeff just laughed. He found it endlessly amusing when I became flustered or got feisty. He wasn’t at all offended . And because that distinctive laugh was unavoidably contagious, I ended up laughing, too.
As Jeff wiped his doubled-over, guffawing tears from his eyes, I glanced down at LED readout.
“4 minutes!” I shouted in astonishment. “See?” Jeff said. “I knew you could do it.”
Quote for the Week:
Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:
Interval Training for Beginners: Go All Out for 20 Seconds
4 Signs it’s Time: To Change Your Routine
The Importance of: Fitness Buddies