Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rubberbands and Swimming Revisited

It’s all about rehabilitation now. My elbow bends to 130° and straightens to about 3° meaning I can do most day to day things without too much trouble. I can reach the back of my neck finally and can touch my right shoulder with the fingers of my right hand. So good progress there.

Unfortunately my right arm is very very weak still. I can hardly lift anything and all the muscles I built up at the gym in the last nine months have gone. Bugger. To combat this I have been given a big yellow rubber band, woo woo! Yellow is the easiest of rubber bands and I hope to progress to the harder green and blue ones quickly. I’ve found the rubber bands useful for more than just strengthening my feeble arm. They can be deployed in such a fashion that I become a rubber ninja, or as attractive head scarves or even to give the impression of flowing golden locks (well actually none of this accurate, what I really look like when using the bands in these ways is a complete idiot, but hey, we all need a laugh now and then).

Now that I’m finally working on strengthening my arm, the desire to get on my bike for a real ride has been insanely strong. So much so that I’ve actually been for an extremely tentative and short 2km ride for the Bikewise Business Battle. I was safe at all times and had no real problems, other than not really being able to reach the handlebars and not being able to put any weight on my bung arm. So I learnt an important lesson. I’m not ready for the bike. Sigh.

However in the spirit of perseverance I’ve discovered an old favourite fall back exercise, swimming. I really love swimming. I always have. In fact as a child it was impossible to keep me out of water from the moment I could toddle. My poor parents, I was continually throwing myself into puddles, usually face down, and generally being a menace.

As you can see I was at home in the water at 9 months old and by 20 months was an accomplished swimmer. As you can also see from the second photo, we should all be extremely glad that stubbies craze that swept New Zealand in the 70s is over (shudder).

Back to the pool I’ve headed, but lets be honest here, while I love the actual activity of swimming, I very much loath many of its necessary ceremonies, and even more so now that I can actually see. Before this week the last time I went swimming I still had glasses which meant I really couldn’t see properly, which was often a blessing. Why you ask? Well let me list my top ten things that I loath about associated evils of swimming, in no particular order.

  1. Full frontal female nudity. I don’t want to see it. Call me a prude, but I don’t. I especially don’t want to see it in my colleagues. And I can definitely live without seeing in from anyone over the age of 60, that’s just too cruel a reminder of what is still to come.
  2. Being surprised in the showers by a colleague when naked. As much as I hate seeing my workmates naked, I like them seeing me in my birthday suit even less. It is just wrong. Unfortunately when there’s a pool less than 10 minutes walk from your office and you swim regularly it’s bound to happen. The only way to prevent it is by not showering properly and spending the rest of the day smelling of that delicious chemical chlorine, and/or perform the dance of the wet towel whereby you try to dry and dress yourself without exposing any flesh between your neck and your knees. Of course it is impossible to properly dry yourself in this manner and this in turn makes your struggle to pull your clothes onto your still mostly wet body, while keeping it covered, more than a little ridiculous. After you’ve attempted this fiasco once, and been left feeling like a prudish idiot, you soon come to terms with that fact people are going to see you naked when you get changed and if you just get on with it quickly and don’t make a fuss, generally no one will even notice. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never be one of those women who confidently stride about the changing room with their towel wrapped around their head (?!), but I have learnt a bit of dignity when dressing and undressing and that means flashing a bit of boob and butt. No one cares after all.
  3. Groups of screaming school children. Oh how I hate them. My first day back at the pool and I walked into a maelstrom of screaming. There were school swimming sports on in most of the lanes. But worse than this is when you’re in the shower, just finished drying and suddenly the changing room erupts. One moment peaceful post swim serenity, then next 20 small girls all shouting at each other and a stressed teacher trying to control them. Upon exiting the shower you find your gear has been subsumed beneath the tiny people and you feel like a giant intruding into their hideously loud land of pre-swim excitement.
  4. Men in speedoes. When I couldn’t see it didn’t bother me, but now. My precious eyes. Remember kids, speedoes are wrong.
  5. Wearing swimming togs in public.
  6. The walk of shame. That long, long walk the goes from where you’ve put your gear on a chair, to where you get in the pool. Everyone can see you in your lovely swimsuit, your fetching swimming cap (mmmmm purple rubber), and your extremely flattering googles. You’ve never looked better in your life and you know it. Yeah sure, everyone else has to do it as well, but what are self-confidence issues for if not to point out how hideous this situation is. I find it is best to focus on walking purposefully, as tall as possible, gut sucked in like you’re trying to squeeze through the eye of a needle, and focus on cleaning your googles or checking which is the slow lane. I get to the end of the pool quickly and slip into the water with as much grace as I can muster. Once in the pool all worries evaporate in the flaw-hiding water.
  7. Wearing swimming togs in public.
  8. Fast people in the slow lane. I’m slow at the moment. Really slow. In fact mostly I have to use the kick board only because my bung arm isn’t up to doing more a couple of laps in a row. I don’t want to be mown down, I also don’t want to be dived on when feel the need to get in the pool like a show off, or kicked in the face when you do a kick turn. Lots of people in the fast and medium lanes? Bad luck, either swim slow in my slow lane or get in a crowded lane with all the other fast people.
  9. Wearing swimming togs in public.
  10. People trying to talk to me at the pool. When I’m at the pool, I’m in a zone. It’s the zone I use to cope with all the horrors of swimming as detailed above. I’m there to swim. Do Not burst my bubble, I won’t be polite, I’ll possibly ignore you, I may not even notice you. Once I’ve exited the pool, then I can talk to you. Not before.

That’s quite a list of things I hate about swimming isn’t it, but none of these things, or even all of these things combined, can keep me from swimming. Once in the water I fall into a happy trance of going back and forth, up and down the pool. It’s almost as good as being on my bike. Obviously there’s no adrenalin rush, but swimming de-stresses and calms me like nothing else. And as an added bonus my physio says it’s one of the best things I can do for my arm. Yes! So I’ll be back next week. Doing length after length. Getting my arm stronger and stronger so when I see the doc on the 23rd of March there will be no reason for him to say I have to wait to get on my bike.

And now, another poem.


The line is hard and straight
Silver & purple
A narrow, raised ridge.
It curves with me
A shallow valley

The line tells a tale, but only half.
Of harsh impact
Of rebuilding
Of boundaries crossed

The line hides the steel
Close to (close up) the surface
Deep inside
Use that steel

The line reminds
A fine wire fashioned from flesh
from me
for me

The line drives me on.

1 comment:

CrazyChris said...

Mmmm... poetry....

O freddled gruntbuggly thy micturations are to me
As plured gabbleblochits on a lurgid bee.
Groop, I implore thee my foonting turlingdromes.
And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,
Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurlecruncheon, see if I don't.

...and yes, ban speedos, especially from the fat and hairy