Friday, May 14, 2010

Fish Out of Water

Recently I've had some health issues causing me to see a  Rhuemetologist, who recommends that  yoga and swimming are the only acceptable forms of exercise.  As my health has declined, I have been unable to exercise, yet have lost about 30 pounds (man what I would have given to do that at other times in my life!). But I miss the chance to shake my money maker so I've asked him if I can lift weights, use the elliptical, recumbent bike, etc. Apparently, I can do whatever I can handle that doesn't hurt me or tire me excessively, but he prefers that I stick to yoga and swimming.  I prefer to try my regular exercise routine but it turns out that those things all hurt me, especially my hips, and at my next appointment I complain to him that I have actually had to stop exercising altogether and am in fact experiencing new pain.

After bending me like a pretzel, this way and that, into positions I don't think I could have gotten into when I was twenty, much less now that I'm (gasp) 40 and falling apart, he recommends big long needle in my hip (not happening) and he would like me to swim.  I can try yoga because I need to work on my flexibility (ouch, thanks, you really know how to hurt a girl), but he really wants me to swim two or three times a week and come back in a month.

He hands me an address to an indoor pool ( I am supposed to stay away from the sun like a vampire, I sparkle in the sun's rays) and off I go.  Now, I am not the least bit interested in yoga, but  I really don't like to swim at all.  Never have.  Not even as a child.  I like to float in the pool.  In fact, I prefer a blow up pool in the back yard to a big in ground pool.  When my kids were little, every summer we put up the blow up Dough Boy pool.  I played a great game of "see who can swim under mommy on the floaty thing the most times or the fastest"  (yes beer in hand like any good mommy, and no, we don't live in a double-wide) .  I  am not a good swimmer.  If its possible to be a clumsy swimmer, that's me.  My Grandma loves to tell anyone who will listen that when she put the pool in when I was a small child, she taught every child in the neighborhood to swim.....except for me, no matter how hard she tried.  In fact, if any of you have met my grandmother, I'm sure you've heard her tell it, over and over again.  It's really good for my self-esteem by the way, and no, I never thought about drowning on purpose while listening to her tell it while I was in the pool trying to do the breast stroke while everyone was watching me.

But it isn't just that I don't like to swim, he was sending me to a public pool.  Umm yuck.  I mean, I have visions of the public pools of my childhood at the park, crowded with smelly, snot nosed kids gulping pool water all day long and never getting out to pee (come on, you know you never got out to pee either), babies in diapers in the water, and who knows how often they clean the pool or check the chemicals, aaahhh!!   And aside from the yuck factor, how the hell am I going to swim in public with my Grandma right there in my head telling everyone that no matter how hard she tried she just couldn't teach me how to swim?  Will they open early enough for me to get there and swim before everyone else?  And will I be motivated enough to get up that early to swim? Doubtful.

Well,  I have to do it right?  Right.  So, off I go, looking for the yucky indoor public pool.  I think I know where it is because I have passed it before, only... I can't find it.  Doc only gave me the address on a Post-it note, no name or anything.  In addition to just plain being directionally challenged, I get easily confused these days due to what ails me, so after finally finding the address, which is a strip mall, housing several businesses identified by suite numbers, one of which is my husband's former ortho doctor, I throw in the towel in frustration and decide to go back the next day now that I've found the address.  At this point I'm just about to decide that all these little problems are signs that I shouldn't be doing this, I was not meant to swim and that  my only salvation is a bottle of wine, when my husband tells me that he remembers the physical therapist there has an indoor pool.  This is awesome news!  That means no public pool for me!!  Yay, no cooties!   No clumsy breast stroke in front of a crowd of onlookers!  Okay!  I can do this!  So.... I'll go tomorrow no problem.

But tomorrow comes, and  here is the problem, I have no referral from my doctor.  "But" I say "I have a Post-it. With the address on it.  For an indoor pool, in which I am supposed to swim".  For some reason, this does not seem reasonable to the front desk staff.  Hmmmm....well, it takes a couple of weeks to get a referral, but I am welcome to join the water aerobics class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday if I like.  Crap!  It is a sign, I am NOT supposed to swim. But okay, I'll ask the Doc (who is on vacation right now, imagine!) for a DAMN referral if he thinks this is what I should do and take the class in the meantime.   I have worked damn hard to follow doctors orders, and to get over my aversion to swimming and  to making an ass of myself in public and I am not gonna backslide now baby!

So I show up bright and early Friday morning in my tasteful little two piece suit with the halter style top and skirt on the bottom, which covers all my sins (which are admittedly the product of too many Zins) yet is still stylish, pay my seven bucks and walk the green mile back to the pool area, right smack into the Senior Citizens Club.

Now, I am not an ageist.  I love the elderly.  God willing, I'm gonna be elderly one day.  But both my primary care physician's and my specialist's main clientele are the elderly, and I recently spent quite a bit of time and effort convincing my primary care physician that I AM NOT AN 80 YEAR OLD WOMAN, SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG WITH THE WAY I'M FEELING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT DAMN IT!!  Not to mention the fact that I was looking around for my Grandma to see if she was there to tell everyone that I could never be taught how to swim (she doesn't belong the the Senior Citizens Club, but you can see why I might be concerned, no?).  So I was nonplussed to say the least.  But there I was, might as make the best of it.  I was sure I wasn't gonna get much of a workout but what the hell, at least the water was warm.

Holy cow!  Those old ladies kicked my ass!  There wasn't even any actual swimming.  There was a whole lot of ass kickin goin on!  I was the youngest woman there by about 30 years, and I was the only one out of breath, the least flexible, and the least coordinated.  In order to cover up my discomfort, I regressed back to high school and cracked joke after joke, cracking myself up.  Unfortunately, those old biddies take their water fitness seriously and barely gave me a courtesy laugh.

After about twenty humiliating minutes I shut my pie hole and finished the class in awkward silence, except the occasional demonstration of several moves from a woman who, on land, I was sure I could run circles around (okay, now I'm not so sure).

Anyway, pride wounded, I went home wondering if I would in fact go back to the class, for a number of reasons.  Because I was so uncomfortable, I didn't think I had gotten much out of the class.  But good God!  That night I was so sore you would think I'd run a marathon!  I was sure I would not be able to go again!  I could not believe I couldn't handle a senior citizens water aerobics class!  After I got over (drowned) my pride, I decided to give it another try.  I'm not usually that proud, and I really, really need some form of exercise, and hey, if these ladies can kick my ass at their ripe old age, there must be something to this water aerobics thing, so I'm gonna go back.  And I did go back, a week later.  This time there were fewer people, but I knew some of the moves, felt more confident and when I walked in, they new my name.  It was like walking into Cheers!  Hey, Norm!  Hey, Mindi!  We were worried that you were sore last week!  Great!  I'm the wuss in the senior class.  But, like a champ, I worked hard, and I kept up with the old broads.  My Grandma would have been proud of me, I didn't swallow any water.  And I was a little sore afterward, but not much, a good sore.  So I went back again, this time only two days later.  Hey, Norm!  There were 10 women there today!  One was even close to my age, and nobody kick my ass or had to show me how to do one move.  They even laughed at my jokes ( I did swallow water this time,  don't you dare tell my Grandma)!  So I'm part of the senior crowd, I just don't get the discount.

I finally got my physical therapy referral and it's not even for the same place.  I start next week because the water aerobics isn't really doing much for my hip, even if I think my thighs and core are getting firmer.

But you know what?  I went way out of my comfort zone, and learned a little something about myself, and about someone else in the process (old chicks kick ass!).  And I think I found a little of my Mojo in the process, so  I'm still gonna go work out with my Calendar Girls :)


  1. Good job Mama! I'm proud of you! Love you!

  2. I'm home alone and haven't left the computer since 8:00am. Loser, I know, This story made me laugh out loud. Keep up the exercise program, you'll feel better and stronger each day.

  3. Good for you! Just so ya know...the yoga class and Zumba class I took with my Mom? ...Was at "The Senior Citizens Center." :) (Old chicks DO kick ass!) And yes, some of the ladies were not so friendly at first. I think THEY have their insecurities TOO!! So they are cautious of the new person. You should be VERY PROUD of yourself. You did that ALL "on your own." (I had my Mom with me.) You have strength and courage and determination. Very impressive.

  4. Thanks Candy, I'm going again Friday if your free......