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14 January 2005

"Come for lunch," she said.  "We can walk before, or after, or not at all," she added.

We used to walk together regularly, but with busy times, holidays, sickness, and bad weather, we'd gotten out of the habit.

It was a glorious day.   The rain that has been pelting California had finally let up, with promise of no more rain for the rest of the week.  The hills already had that dark green look that I love so much which we get for about an hour and a half in the springtime, before the wild grass grows tall and begins to turn brown.

I remembered late that I was supposed to drop by Kaiser to get a blood test today, so I called her and told her I'd probably be a little bit late.

"That's fine," she said.  "Whenever you get here."

I stopped and let them drain a couple of vials of blood out of my arm and then headed on down the highway to her house.   She asked about the tests and I told her about my high blood pressure.  She told me about her high blood pressure and we compared medicines.

There has been lots of remodeling and I spent time admiring the new look and saw that the table had been set for the two of us.

"Do you want to walk before or after we eat?" she asked.

Truth to tell, I didn't want to walk at all.  My body wanted to settle down on the comfy couch, get caught up on all the gossip, have some of the soup I could smell simmering on the stove, and then come back home again.

Instead, I said "Oh, why don't we walk before."

We drove to one of our usual walks and set out.  I had gone about...oh...ten steps when I knew that this wasn't going to be any lark.  I haven't been walking or exercising regularly and she has.   It's not that she expected a power walk, but the path did contain gentle slopes and one short medium degree hill.  I knew that it would be a struggle for me.   And I was not mistaken.

I found I had to stop several times to catch my breath.  She was very patient with me. 

As we began to climb the hill, I was stopping every few steps to catch my breath, and then to pamper my hip.

See, I suspect that I'm developing arthritis in my lower regions.  I can't get up from anywhere without pain in my hips, knees and feet.  The x-rays I had taken a couple of years ago showed arthritic deposits.

As we walked, the hips began to feel better and then the knee "fullness" set in, as it always does when I walk longer than 10 minutes. 

Going back to the car, we had the long downhill to take and that brought sharp pains in one hip.  I felt like a 90 year old woman by the time we got back to the car.

As I started to get into the car, a massive cramp hit behind my knee.  These are cramps I've been getting off and on for about the past 3 years.  Very different from the cramps I've gotten in my calf all of my life.  When you get a cramp in your calf, you hobble to a cold floor and stand on it and it seems to draw the cramp out.  That doesn't work with a cramp behind your knee.  The cramp eventually worked itself out and I got in the car.

She started talking to me about the cramps she has been getting lately, both behind her knee and also in her toes.  I mentioned that I ate a lot of bananas and I'd heard that they were high in potassium, which was good for muscle cramps. 

As we drove, she told me about the aches and pains she's been having and we talked about a mutual friend who had just had gall bladder surgery.

When we arrived at the house, I tried getting out of the car and my bones complained loudly.  I held onto the car until I could move comfortably again.

She asked me if I hurt just when I started to move, or all the time.  I said that it was just when I was getting up and that as I moved it got better.  She told me that when she gets out of a chair she can barely walk, but it eventually feels better and that she takes a lot of ibuprofen.

As she was putting lunch on the table, I realized it was time to take my medicine and I pulled the blood pressure tablets out of my purse. 

"I was going to take my pills too," she said, telling me she was taking blood pressure medication and cholesterol lowering medications.

Over clam chowder and fruit salad, she told me about her husband's recent exam and the prostate problems he was having.

We suddenly looked at each other and realized that we had become little old ladies spending their afternoon talking about their aches and pains and those of their friends.

When lunch was over, I tried to get up and my hip screamed at me.

"Do you want an ibuprofen?" she asked.

My god...My mother is in better shape than this!

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