We are on our “Retirement Road Trip #1” traveling through the south west …. Currently stopped in Chandler AZ. Chandler’s main feature, for me, is my most precious friend, Loretta. Precious enough that we have made it to Arizona once a year since she and her husband, Roy, moved here (O.K. – so she only moved 2 ½ years ago … but, it feels like forever ……… and I am CERTAIN we will make it here according to my plan).

Barry and I had a loooong arduous drive along Highway 10, in a wind storm, to get here. Long driving days often are a precursor to a bad pain day. I was “trying” not to plan on a bad pain day … for the reuniting with my precious friend … but, it was certainly on my mind. When the moment of uniting came; we chatted and sipped coffee … as if no time had passed. She asked about my time at the HELP clinic and my current pain levels. I realized despite the long drive the day before … my current pain was quite low. (Glad I “tried” not to plan on it!). We eventually chatted our way to dinner time and allowed our boys to join us. Dinner at a restaurant … with chairs/booths … never good for me … sitting is ALWAYS painful.

At the clinic I worked on progressing my “sitting time” from about 30 seconds up to 20 minutes. It took the full 8 weeks, but I got there! My plan was to challenge myself to sit at least once a day for that 20 minutes ….. but, it never quite happened that way. At the restaurant, (soooo yummy… Arriba Mexican Grill in Chandler … HIGHLY recommend it and the “Pollo Con Queso “). Good friends, good food and the dry, warm Arizona weather had me sitting in that booth for about 40 minutes! My personal best!

I now understand why retirees flock to the south for the winter. There is something about the dry, warm, continuous heat pack on the whole body, air. I guess it is similar yet opposite to the cold, wet, continuous ice pack on the whole body, air that can be staggering.

Since I love to “learn” … I did some reading from a very extensive and complicated study from John Hopkin’s University. Their control group had 3 different types of pain sufferers. Each responded to different aspects of the weather, some responded to the temperature, some the barometric pressure, some to the precipitation status. All were more likely to get outside and move about …. Increasing blood flow to the entire body and mostly highly noted was “mood improvement”. My theory to their very complicated bottom line is: It is more about getting out, moving about, and enjoying life.

Another challenge for me: get out and move about … enjoy life … even when it is wet and cold outside.