Just Keep Swimming

DoryYesterday it began. Aqua therapy. It sounds like I met with a shrink in a giant water tank and discussed prenatal issues (My mother just left me floating there, she never talked to me, she drank beer and ate enormous amounts of baklava). But no, it is something my doctor prescribed for fibromyalgia. You perform exercises in a heated pool as instructed by a physical therapist. There is less impact on your joints and you are able to use the water as resistance to strengthen muscle. Theoretically, you’ll have greater flexibility because your muscles will relax in the warmth of the pool.

But I did not find it relaxing. First, I was the youngest person in the pool by at least 25 years. There were two extremely large men walking up and down the lane where I was getting my instructions. One had a hairy back. It was extraordinary. Like a Bernese Mountain Dog. There just isn’t enough chlorine in the world for that back. A woman in a fuchsia geometric-patterned bathing suit walked the lane over. Her breasts, like two pink traffic cones, floated up and then under the surface of the water as she walked. She kept nodding and smiling at me, probably relieved to have another female in the pool to balance the testosterone and ph level.

There was a young guy cleaning the floor around the pool with a high pressure spray gun attached to a large plastic container. He wore jeans, work boots, a waffle Henley shirt and a thick green hooded sweatshirt–the hood up. This made me wonder, what the hell is he spraying for? Swimming cockroaches? A super strain of fungus? Back hair? To make matters worse, the pool was contained by a huge dome tarp that dripped water. It landed in the center of my head frequently with a firm loud plop. I would lift my leg as instructed. Plop. I’d move over a few steps. Plop. I’d walk backwards with my arms pushing in and out. Plop, plop.

Aqua Therapy my arse. This was Chinese Water Torture.

I have to go back tomorrow, but I wish, like Dory, I could just forget it ever happened. Especially because besides the bizarreness of it all, I felt decrepid. I was hardly doing anything. Swishing my arms around, lifting my legs up and down, walking, stretching, rolling my shoulders, rolling my eyes. And afterwards I felt sore. I felt like I had just gone through some strenuous triathlon training. It was pathetic. But this is where I am at. Home on a leave from work with more health issues then probably all three of my pool-mates. Starting from square one. No longer a person who can walk for an hour, run three miles, swim 40 laps, shop at a blow-out sale on Presidents Day. Who gave me this disease and why?

I think there is no easy answer to that question, except perhaps to say nature and nurture. I have a lot of work to do. Figuring out what to put in my mouth. Keeping my body moving but not moving too much or I get inflamed. I’m supposed to meditate. God knows I’m going to need help with that one. If you think I have writers block you can’t imagine how blocked I am with meditation. I have more tests to take, more pills to swallow, more doctors to visit, more aqua torture to endure.

Do I feel hopeful? Determined? Up to the challenge? I would say no. Right now, I feel mostly resigned. I wish I was one of those people who is told they’ll never walk again and through incredible grit and faith and ball busting hard work they wind up running a marathon. But I’m not. And yet, I don’t want to be in constant pain. I don’t want to slow my family down. I don’t want to get a hairy back. So I’m willing to try. I’m willing to fail and try again. And that is something. That is what Dory would do.



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4 responses to “Just Keep Swimming

  1. WSW

    Meditation…I know. But it can be done, and believe me, I am the last person on the planet anyone would expect to say so. Try downloading a ten minute guided meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn on iTunes. I don’t know what it is, but there’s SOMETHING in the tone of his voice that is very soothing. Try an Epsom Salts bath before meditating. It’s old school, but it really really works on pain and it helps with relaxation. FWIW.

  2. Susan

    Friends and loved ones got your back and we don’t care about hairy.
    Go slow as you need to.
    And look at all the material you’re getting.

  3. Great link. A thousand thanks!

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