Week 12 (March 4- 10)
The final days of Iowa living had finally come! While it’s a little bittersweet to leave my family after being reunited for so long, I was ready to take ahold of my own life and have the opportunity to pursue my goals again. Now that I knew I was getting to go home, I had booked my schedule solid for the next week. How was it possible to have been home for four months and still have a million things I needed to do in these final days in Iowa?? Obviously I needed to pack, but that was the least of my worries. I am a chronic procrastinator when it comes to packing and I do not foresee that ever changing in my future.
I wanted to spend a decent amount of this week exercising my newfound freedom and finally drive to go see some friends. I felt like a 16 year old again. And I drove like one too. Those of you that have had the privilege of being a passenger in my car, I am much more cautious these days. Actually, I was a little bit angry with myself for sticking around the house the first few days after being cleared to drive. I had all these big plans to head to the nearest city and study for my NASM exam at a coffee shop and run a few errands, but I found myself a little anxious to get behind the wheel alone. I had spent the last several months in social isolation because I couldn’t drive, and now that I could, I felt paralyzed. I tried to cut myself some slack. I think with anything you do, it’s normal to feel unconfident or unmotivated to do something once you are out of practice. I just needed to take a breath and not feel like a failure soley because I didn’t complete a solo trip in the timeline I had set for myself.
But either way, I did need to study for my NASM exam. I was determined to only have to take that dang thing one time. I’ve read so many articles and watched so many videos on how to pass the exam your first time and stumbled across several reading materials that say somewhere around 50% of CPT hopefuls fail the first time they take it. Gulp. I also needed to get CPR certified before I showed up at the testing center. I had scheduled to take it in Des Moines on the 10th and, at the beginning of week 12, I completed an online CPR course and went to my moms hospital to test out in person. And all I have to say about that is THE SCENE IS SAFE!!!
This week felt strangely reminiscent of when I was preparing to move out to California the first time. I had a lotttt of people I wanted to see and a lot of goodbyes to give. Which I hate. I’m absolutely horrible at final goodbyes and have perfected how to say goodbye without really saying goodbye. “I’m sure I’ll see you again before I head back!!!!” Rarely does that happen whether I want it to or not, but I did have some final final goodbyes planned with our neighbors, my friends from college and of course my PT fam.
Dang, I was going to miss my silver haired friends in PT!!!! They have put such a huge smile on my face on days where I just didn’t want to get out of bed and go. Not to mention, the other patients motivated me to the max when I couldn’t seem to even get one step per minute on the Nustep and they were SCHOOLING ME. Not only that, but I’ll miss my physical therapists. I’m so thankful for what they’ve been able to do for me and could never possibly find the words to express that. SO, I got them a cookie cake and frosted it myself. I told them that if they don’t have anything nice to say about the subpar frosting job to keep their yaps shut because I frosted it with love and not with skill. Hit me up for your frosting needs in the future, I am an artist.
That evening we planned a taco bar and margarita night with our neighbors! I had been feeling a little bit under the weather the last few days but I was not going to let that inhibit my ability to consume margaritas. Banksy had gotten fixed that morning and was super drowsy and attached at my hip, so I was thankful to host the party and not have to leave her. She sat on my lap as we ate, drank and played games. I am so thankful my parents have found such great friends in the small community they live in. Makes me feel good knowing that as I’m preparing to leave.
The next morning I had brunch plans with my friends in Des Moines, but woke up at 5 am to find that the alcohol did not, in fact, kill whatever bug I was dealing with. I had a low grade fever along with a horrible sore throat and ended up having to also cancel my last few physical therapy appointments. With all the Coronavirus stuff beginning to ramp up, I figured it to be in our best interest to reschedule to Wednesday evening. I was pretty bummed, but couldn’t afford to get sicker before embarking on our 27 hour long drive back to California.
I ended up spending the whole weekend resting, which just about killed me since I finally had the capacity to do more things. I saw the week after getting approved to drive being a lot different than it was, but I had to let that go. That is a big lesson that I have learned in this process. Life doesn’t always happen within the timeline you assign, in fact it rarely does. You can drive yourself crazy holding yourselves so steadfastly to these deadlines that don’t even exist.
I managed to chill enough over the weekend to feel at least OK by Monday. Which was HUGELY important to me because my mom and I had big Bachelor finale plans. She had another meeting in Des Moines, so the plan was to roll into the Embassy Suites, partake in their free happy hour, and have our friends up to our room for a charcuterie board extravaganza while we drink wine and yell at Peter for being such a damn dingbat. I did my world famous non goodbye to our friends as they left. We were going to try to make it to their place before I leave so rather than say “in case I don’t see you!” I said “I’m sure I’ll see you again!!” to avoid a pretty sad goodbye. Escaped another one!!!
That next morning was a big day for me. My mom had her meetings all day and I had my NASM exam. THE TIME WAS FINALLY HERE. I might take the time to write a separate post about how I studies and what my test taking experience was like, but for now I’ll keep it short and sweet. I woke up to a hotel suite to myself and a checklist of things to do. This was the first time in a long time I felt like my old self. I made a coffee, headed down to the fitness center and hopped on the bike, studied my flashcards on quilt as I walked on the treadmill and then finished with some light weights i(DB deadlifts, RDLs, shoulder presses and finished with assisted single leg squats with my surgical leg). After that I enjoyed some free breakfast (and another coffee) in the courtyard before heading upstairs to study and get ready (and drink another coffee).
The next part of my day was a little bit overwhelming. At that point I had only driven my new car about 3 times, none of which were in a city that has more than 2 stoplights. Not only did I have to drive myself to the testing center in Des Moines, but I had to pack up the hotel, check out, retrieve the car from valet and go to an unfamiliar location to take a test that I am extremely nervous for at this point. It doesn’t sound like much in respect to a normal person’s day. Hell that sounds like a relaxing day compared to what I was used to before my surgery. But at this stage in my life, it was just about all I could handle. I drove like a grandma all the way to the testing center, and while I felt prepared I was sweating bullets in the car.
I walked out of that testing center feeling like a million bucks. When you leave the test cubicle to go into the lobby, you still don’t know if you passed or not. I was pretty confident that I did, but I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. I had dealt with enough of that. So rather than panic, I took a deep breath as I head the lady at the front desk whisper my name. She turned a giant TV monitor to me with my test results. PASS!! Holy shit thank GOD. And that was it. Kind of anticlimactic, besides the fact that I let out a “Woo!!” when I got out to my car. I did it. I would be returning to California as a NASM certified personal trainer.
I have spent so much time during this recovery really getting to know the material, so to see that actually pay off felt amazing. Since I haven’t been able to be at my normal level of activity during this recovery, I felt like working on getting through the NASM study materials helped fill that void. Maybe I couldn’t physically do any of the exercises, but reading about it was something. I headed to a cute little coffee shop in the East Village to wait for my mom to finish her meetings and treated myself to a vegan donut and oat milk latte. Almost felt like I was back in LA again. I was starting to feel normal again, and that’s a feeling I have missed so so much.
Check out the next weekhere!