Monday, September 17, 2007

one unhappy H2O hour

I finally went to the aquatics class recommended by the MS Society at my local Y this a.m. The plan was to attend every Wednesday and alternate Mondays. It's held 11:00-12:00, so it almost fits my schedule. I decided to start on a Monday, my day off for working on Saturday. So off I went this morning in my swimsuit, with lots sunscreen on, as its an outdoor pool. Turns out sunburn was the least of my worries.

When I arrived, there were already 10-12 old people in the pool doing warm ups. I got in the pool using a ladder, and found a spot towards the back of the group. The instructor, a late middle-aged woman in a floppy hat, called out to start grapevining. I wasn't sure what she meant. I couldn't see her legs, or most of the classes'. Some people were sort of twisting back and forth going across the pool. One of them said to me "It's like Greek folk dance." So I started doing step in front step behind, like a Bulgarian folk dance I learned in college. I noticed that about half the class was just sort of jogging in place and socializing.

The various moves kept changing. After 20 minutes, I felt wiped out. But I thought I could tough it out to at least the half hour. Most of the people in the class looked 70, with a smattering of 60-year olds. I thought I had to be able to keep up with them. The water was making it easier for me to do some things.

We moved on to jumping jacks. And frog kicks. Karate kicks. I started really failing. Te instructor told me not to try to keep up with the instructor, but to jog in place. At that point, jogging in place was harder than jumping jacks. Finally, we did some stretching at the side of the pool. It was sort of thrilling that I could do something like a rond du jamb, sort of.

So I made it through the hour. But I could barely get out of the pool. Fortunately, there was a ramp for wheelchairs to go into the pool, so I could hold on to that railing on my way out. My left leg just crumpled. I had to sit in a chair next to the pool for 15 minutes before I could walk as far as my bag and cane. The instructor came over and asked if I was ok. I didn't know what to say. I told her I had MS. She said I did really well, but that I should come to the deep water class on Tues. and Thurs. That would be better for balance. I told her that I worked, and that wouldn't fit my schedule. Then she said there is an evening class at 6:00. I said that wouldn't fit my schedule either. (As always, I want to growl about people assuming middle class folk work 9-5. But I digress.)

I managed to haul myself into the dressing room. One of the other "students" went off on a long rant about tree-huggers and wild fire and development. She seemed angry with me, but I didn't know why. (Much later, I realized it was my NRDC tote bag that set her off. So what?)) I was trying to change my clothes without falling. My plan was to stop at Target on the way home and pick up an Rx along with some cleaning products.

When I got up from the bench to navigate my way out of the Y, I realized that plan might be a bad idea. My knee was buckling every other step. So I teetered to the car, leaning heavily on the cane. There I sat. I decided to come home, eat something, rest a bit and regroup. Then I'd feel better. Another good plan.

I dissolved in tears when I got home. I was weak and battered and everything seemed too much. I called my EAP, which I had been considering for ages. They are working on a referral for me, but they haven't called back.

Twelve hours later, and I can stand briefly. Most of me aches. Maybe more Ibuprofen before bed? I don't think I'll be able to work tomorrow. Maybe just the morning? I should have quit class after half an hour. All of that jumping and jogging, though extremely low impact, were more physical activity that I've had in eons. I think my mother is fitter than I am. I'm not sure I can go back, or if I should.

1 comment:

katherine said...

how awful that it was awful. my first experience was not that bad otherwise i wouldn't have gone back. but i could barely walk too. Now 5 weeks later,i do less in the class and i only do what i think my body can cope with. i don't keep up with the 80 year olds but my instructor is very understanding and always demonstrates the moves so that helps. i often just do the arm motions since doing arms and legs together is too tricky for me.