Water as therapy

I am a pool person– I spent nearly every day from March til October  in the pool from the time I was 6 until I turned 22.   Then we moved away from home and although we had access to a pool, it wasn’t a lap pool, more one of those artistic looking things that really didn’t encourage swimming.  The town we moved to after that (our current one) doesn’t have a decent public pool.  We have a few college pools that require you to be a student to use them and several private membership pools, but nothing for the general public that doesn’t want to spend $600-$1200 a year on swim club fees.  So outside of swimming lessons for the kids, we haven’t swam at all for the last 7 years. 

So today I went in for my first day of Aqua Therapy.  I was so excited to get to go in the water all alone, no kids dragging on me at all.  I got there early, showered, was all ready.  (Note to self: you need flip flops and you don’t need a towel and bring a flatter bag next time!)  The instructor was there and there were more than 30 elderly people in the pool already.  I was the youngest person there, excepting the intern.  I got in the water chest deep, and started walking as instructed.  Boy, was it hard.  I hadn’t expected that.  After a while the instructor told me to walk sideways, which was even harder.  My hip started hurting, then my knees, the the tops of my feet near my ankles.  I finally whispered to the lady across from me if it was supposed to feel this way and she told me to talk to my therapist, who when I finally got back over there told me that my time was up on that exercise anyway. 

Next up was low marching, which was not a problem, and then a goose-march step, which wasn’t much more difficult.  Squats were so far from not bad that I was shocked.  Squats outside the pool are not possible for me at all, but in the pool, it was just up-down-up-down (this is not to say that there wasn’t any knee or hip clicking or popping- there was – but it didn’t hurt). 

After all that I made my way to the deep end with some arm floaties and made v’s with my legs – open -close – open out to my left and right sides.  The instructor thought that would hurt, but it wasn’t too bad. Then out and back front and back. That one nearly had me crying.  It hurt so much.  I stopped early on that one.  Then I got to bicycle my legs, which started off easy and ended up with me feeling very tired.

Then I was done.  I got a sheet of things to work on once the pool at my gym opens and I went to get out of the pool.  I felt pretty good walking to the stairs, but with each one I climbed, gravity reasserted its pull on my limbs and I felt heavier and heavier.  By the time I got to the top I was so heavy and sore that I could barely walk to the locker room.  By the time I got to the door I was crying, not just from the pain, but from the shock of the weight of the world.  I had forgotten how heavy real life feels. 

In the locker room I talked to one of the other ladies that had been in therapy with me.  She told me how she usually schedules an extra hour into her daily plan for therapy days, as she can’t get straight out of the pool & straight back into clothes right away and how she has to rest for another hour after that and to plan to have convenience foods for lunch or pick something up.  That it hasn’t really gotten any easier for her, even though she feels like the therapy is helping her in regular life.  I thanked her for her advice because this is the kind of stuff that the doctor never manages to remember to tell you.

I made my way in to shower, but ended up just rinsing off, as I couldn’t really raise my arms or my legs.  It was so demoralizing.  I finally got into my clothes and got out to the parking lot, limping all the way.  The lady that watched my youngest child while I was out was nice enough to feed us lunch when she saw how exhausted I was and then I had to go pick up my middle child, who was throwing up in his kindergarten classroom.  We’ve spent the afternoon resting and watching TV/surfing the internet. Even four hours later I’m still limping through the house.  My ankles and knees and hips hurt from all the activity.  My shoulders hurt from the strain of holding my body up on the floaties.

I hope this is worth it.  It is, right?  Everyone else thinks it helps?

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