Walking and talking (about walking)


You wouldn’t know it by the 50 degree weather we’ve been enjoying here in Maine, but its actually December, and I’m pleased as punch.

That’s because, barring the occasional rainy and/or hectic workday, I’ve been taking 30-minute walks during my lunch break (or as Liz calls it, “disappearing”) since April.

I think it started when Liz, Theresa and I started a “who-could-accumulate-the-most-steps-in-a-week” competition. Not long after, the challenge fizzled out and there was an unspoken agreement between the three of us that we would never speak of it again.

Even though the walk-off was no more, I continued to “disappear,” taking advantage of the chance to reset my mind and stretch out my legs. Eight months later, my daily outings have become a necessity, rather than a thinly veiled break.

Which is why after writing about Medicaid cuts and access issues for the past 14 months, I am acutely aware of how lucky I am that I can simply stand up, walk down the hall, open the door, take the stairs, and walk—blithely—down the road.

However, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t use a reminder every once and awhile.

This month, I did a Q&A for our upcoming January issue about evidence-based outcome measurements for wheelchair seat cushions. Long story short, the study looked at whether certain cushions could help prevent pressure ulcers and deep tissue deformation in wheelchair users better than others.

Whether it was raining or I had too much work to do, who knows, but I didn’t get my walk in that day and as I wrote up the Q&A I remember feeling sore from sitting in the same position for so long.

That’s when I thought, “I could use one of those cushions right now,” followed by, “What if I used a wheelchair and needed one of those cushions? Would it be covered? What if it wasn’t? Would I have pressure ulcers?” Then I Googled pictures of "pressure ulcers" and got even more upset.  

I realize there’s no way to enforce this, but wouldn’t it be nice if every time Congress failed to pass competitive bidding relief legislation or CMS issued another restrictive rule, those decision makers had to spend an entire day in a basic, no frills, poorly-fitted wheelchair? No shifting. No standing. No walking.

I bet they’d change their tune pretty quickly. I know I would.