My Mom, her friend Jean and I signed up to go take a water aerobic's class at the Jim Thorpe Rehab center. It was quite an ordeal to get a permission slip from my doctor in Dallas-seems the Jim Thorpe center kept refusing an out of state area code. The little volunteer there could not understand why anyone would fax something to them from Dallas. A lot of us don't look far beyond their own backyard.
Anyway, I limped past the line up and noted I was maybe not the largest person in the room but I was definitely the youngest. I don't have varicose veins but I do have a lot of tattoos and a pierced nose. But, the strange thing was, since we were all sitting around fairly exposed no one took notice. Each person was locked in their own private hell of embarrassment.
The therapy pool is set up specificially for arthritis patients. Fortunately for me, I have some arthritic "changes" in my foot so I qualified. It was perfect for Mom, small pool, small class, senior citizens.
A therapy pool is heaven. It's WARM. There is no muscle freezing cold shock, it's like being folded in a warm embrace. Because it's in a medical center, it's got lots of good chemicals in it and is just sparkling clean. EVERYONE must shower before getting in (praise the LORD!). The steps into the pool are easy to negotiate and grab bars abound.
I really appreciated all the care they took surrounding getting into the pool. For me, with a weakened limb, being IN the pool is great, but flopping around on dry land is a bit of a challenge. The dressing rooms opened right out into the pool, a few steps and you were in. No limping around the permimenter hoping you don't slip or that your left butt cheek isn't hanging out.
Mom, Jean and I and the rest of the kids used to go swimming in the public pools in the summer. And for a moment, it felt like that. Things have changed a bit, Mom is a little uncertain in the water, but she was brave, and took my arm when she needed to.
It was a very bonding moment. Roles might have changed a bit, but surrounded by the warm water and friends old and new, we were just two people who loved and trusted each other.
I went into this experience as an outsider-intending to write a funny piece about kicking it with the seniors in the therapy pool. But in the end, I acknowledged my own infirmities and shared the simple joy of weightlessness and movement with some new friends.