Next month, I go on Medicare. I never thought I’d be old enough, but I am. For me, it’s a good thing because I’ll have much better medical insurance than I do now, and even some dental because I chose (with the help of my insurance person friend) something called Medicare Advantage, which is really great, no copays, etc. I have lousy insurance right now through the Marketplace because I went part-time a couple of years ago and sort of semi-retired.
Outside of borderline blood sugar issues, I’m pretty healthy. I walk almost every day into the woods here in Eugene, Oregon. For me, it’s not just walking. It’s an adventure into the woods where everything changes each day. While I visited California, my friends and my daughters took me on their trails, and so did my sister of course. I did fine except for on that super hot day in Santa Rosa, California when my sister Jennifer took me way up into the hills, and there was no shade at all. When I walk uphill, it’s always in the woods where there’s plenty of shade.
I also got to walk for miles on a beach in Malibu where my daughter Megan took me and I got to climb to the top of a mountain in the east bay hills with my dear friend Diane. She lives in Fremont. My older daughter Melissa, who lives in Emeryville, took me on her favorite trail along the bay and I also got to walk through the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco where my friend Nancy lives, and attend my friend Floyd Salas’ memorial at Bird and Beckett Bookstore. Nancy and her boyfriend Lewis took me to a really cool cafe where we ate a late breakfast. The omelet I had was delicious. People usually walk around neighborhoods instead of drive in San Francisco because of parking, and it’s also a walking city. It was a cold foggy day, a stark change from LA where it was warm and sunny, but it didn’t matter to me.
Walking is what I do. It’s who I am — it’s everything. When I returned to Oregon, I was excited to return to woods and neighborhood trails to see how much things had changed in two weeks — what was blooming now that wasn’t before? I discovered that the entire woods had burst into shades of green literally everywhere, that the wild Nooka roses bloomed all over, along with the blooming Queen Anne’s Lace, those super tall plants with the giant leaves and huge white flowers, some even 10 feet tall. They weren’t blooming before I left. On one trail, I saw bunches of the wild tough leaf irises, so perfect and beautiful. There’s something special about seeing flowers grow wild in the woods or on the neighborhood trail instead of in someone’s front or back yard. I even saw some columbines today.
But something has happened to interrupt my walking, and it’s breaking my heart. I had felt a little bit of pain on the insides of my ankles a while back after wearing my hiking boots at times, but nothing major and it would go away. I was fine while in California and even when I first returned to Oregon. Suddenly, the pain got worse, especially in one foot — not only the inner ankle but the heel of my foot as well and even a bit on the outside of the foot. How could this be? This isn’t supposed to happen, but it does. I am not a runner or a jumper. I simply walk. I have orthopedic inserts now, which really help, and even special orthopedic tennies, which weren’t cheap. I have attempted to diagnose the pain — and can only come up with plantar fasciitis or tendonitis. Yikes! Today I walked with the orthopedic inserts and shoes, hoping that would do the trick, and for a while, my foot did feel okay, but after a while, nope. Here comes the pain. I pushed further than I should have up the hill into the woods, but didn’t go all the way to the top this time. It was so beautiful there, I just had to see everything. Finally, I did turn around and limp back down the hill, feeling utterly defeated and sad. Even my favorite tree didn’t give me solace today.
As I sit here resting my feet after walking over 10,000 steps, I can only think of how essential the walks are for me. I’ll get some of the special gel for arthritic pain my sister recommended, and hope for the best. and maybe stay off my feet for a couple of days at least. Is this what happens when a person gets older?