Climbing a steep hill…A milestone day?…

Seafaring boat on dry dock.

“Fascinating Fact of the Day About Ireland”
Croaghaun in Ireland is the second highest cliff in Europe.

There’s a steep hill from where the house is located up to the long gravel driveway, which leads to the main road. Many times over these past two months, I wondered if and when I could tackle that hill.

I set a target date of July 4th. This date would be easy to remember due to its significance in the US as the holiday, Independence Day. The closer the date approached, I knew I was going to tackle it.

After walking inside the house for almost two months on level surfaces, with one flight of stairs to the bedroom level, I knew it was unrealistic to think the indoor walking was comparable to walking outdoors on rocky, uneven surfaces.  
Another waterway at low tide.

And thus, outdoor walking, albeit at a slow progression, is my new mission as an adjunct to indoor walking, which I must also continue. Once I can work my way to the road. Hopefully, I’ll feel confident in partaking in tours during the upcoming cruise from Amsterdam in another month.  

We’ll spend two nights in a hotel in Amsterdam and will surely want to walk around the historic city and explore the sights. My ability to walk for more extended periods is vital to this and other upcoming visits to various cities and countries.

After the cruise, we’ll be heading to England, mostly in and around Cornwall and (think scenery from Poldark, Doc Martin, and Broadchurch, all filmed in and around Cornwall and the further away, Bristol).

Certainly, while in England, we’ll take advantage of opportunities to walk into town, which is possible at a few of the four rentals, including a two-night stay in Southampton before boarding another cruise that will take us back to the US for a family visit.
This bird was identified as a Hooded Crow, or Grey Crow in Ireland, as determined by a friend (who lives in UK and Marloth Park), Lynne, who, along with her husband Mick, are expert birders.  Thanks once again, Lynne!!!

Being on a cruise requires a tremendous amount of walking and going up and down steps. It’s often quite a distance from the cabin to any of the venues we prefer overall; the cafe, the restaurants, the bars, the theatre, and more.  

During the first evening’s required “muster drill,” approximately five flights of stairs must be navigated up and down. Since I don’t have any visible signs of recovering, I’d prefer not to draw attention to myself by stopping too often to catch my breath or rest my legs.

When I first had this major surgery, I’d been told to expect 8 to 12 weeks for a full recovery. I’m sure some patients do accomplish this goal, but I haven’t been one of them.  
A cattle family lounging together on a hill
With the two heart surgeries and two leg surgeries, I may be slower than many others but then again, faster than others. It’s a personal thing predicated by many factors.
Also, today is the first day in many months I have not worn the bandages on my left leg. Recently, as my leg has healed, the adhesive from the bandage has been causing a tremendous amount of itching, keeping me awake at night.

This morning I took a shower, patted it dry, and put on Capri length pants to avoid rubbing the still-open wound. I’ll have to cover it when I go outdoors to walk, but for now, as I sit here in the comfy chair, preparing today’s post, it feels good to have fresh air on the leg after so long.

Small seafaring vessel.

The incision in my right thigh is still black and blue and feels as if it has needles in it. At night, I have to put a pillow between my knees to avoid the pain. (I no longer take any pain medication).

What else is still painful and uncomfortable? The incision scar in my sternum is itchy, feels as if it’s pulling the skin, and remains raised. The hardest part is having trouble bending over to pick up something from the floor or looking for something in the tiny under-the-counter refrigerator in the kitchen.

Although comfortable while sitting, the chair I use is low to the ground, and I have trouble standing up from it. My legs are still sore from the surgeries, and I don’t possess the leg strength I had in the past.

There’s not a lot of crime in Connemara. The police department in Carna is located in a tiny building. Police officers are referred to as “Garda” in Ireland.

From time to time, my heart does weird things; too fast, too slow missed beats.  These can be unnerving, but I’ve decided not to worry about it when I know this is not unusual during the first year post bypass.

Nonetheless, I feel pretty good overall. I can perform most household tasks, cook, do laundry and make the bed. Tom continues to be helpful, but now I make a point of doing things for myself.

In five days, it will be five months since the bypass, and now it’s three months since the leg surgeries. For the first time in my life, I haven’t pushed myself to do more and more. Taking it slowly works best in this game.

Nearby ruins.  Many such buildings are found in the countryside.

So, maybe today is a milestone day…no bandages for now and…I can walk up and down the steep hill, which I am currently doing each day, walking further and further. I’m grateful to be alive and remind myself of this fact every day, and each time I feel a twinge of discomfort.

Today, another rainy day, we’ll stay in and revel in a quiet Sunday, the views of the bay, the wildflowers blooming all around us, and a great meal for dinner after a tasty breakfast of scrambled eggs with onions and cheese.

Enjoy your Sunday, too!

                    Photo from one year ago today, July 7, 2018:
We were busy inside the house preparing for last night’s dinner party. But, we knew the mongooses had arrived by the high-pitched cackling and squeals. Tom always drops a few uncracked raw eggs on the ground to keep them around while we make up the bowl of six to eight eggs (depending on the size of the “band”).  For more photos, please click here.

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