I got into the pool the other day. So how is this earth shaking news? I used to swim all the time, at least three days a week for nearly 20 years. Then in 2014-16 I had this inexplicable weird thing going on in my replaced right knee, where it would fill with blood, rendering me immobile and in great pain for days, and weeks on end. I actually noted that it happened 40 times in 52 weeks in 2015, which left me useless most of the year. I had several come to Jesus moments where I understood the message I was receiving was about surrendering control. I also became even more familiar with living with chronic pain, a subject I was certain I had previously mastered.
So what interrupted my swimming was when I got into the pool one day in 2015 and my trick knee froze, leaving me immobilized in the water. It took an act of Congress to get me out of the water, and fear of re-ocurrence prohibited me from entering the water again for nearly two years.
About three weeks ago on a lazy Sunday afternoon I walked through the fear. I drove to the pool, told the guy at the desk that I was re-entering the water after a long absence and could he keep an eye on me?! Sure he said mumbling something about old ladies. I gingerly lowered myself into the pool and after a few terrifying moments actually enjoyed it and stayed in for at least thirty minutes. The miracle was my body did not hurt the entire rest of that day. That was worth noting as my body always hurts. It is just what happens when you mess with Mother Nature. Parts hurt. Always.
Three weeks passed and I rationalized from one day to the next why I could not possibly go swimming that day. Finally on Thursday I went again. And again I had to walk through the fear to get into the water. It was immediately warm and comforting. As I moved through the water I was aware of my hurting parts. I was really aware of my knees until I decided this is probably how knee prostheses feel in the water. It had been so long I had truly forgotten. As I began to relax through backstroke (oh my shoulder!) and breaststroke (why did I leave my goggles at home?) and stretching and bending, something else happened. I began to forget all the scary reasons why I put off this lovely form of exercise!
I began to think about how swimming should be mandatory for every citizen. You must get into the water and float for at least 25 minutes every day! Think of how unstressed our population would be if everyone just got into the water and moved around.
Why is it so hard to do this? How long will I allow this old fear to hold me hostage? I don’t have the answer to it except to say that my new goal is at least once a week to get back into the water, as I still get my cardio in other ways. I imagine at some point the fear will just fade away, maybe even glom onto someone else who needs it more than I do.
Apparently this aqua movement not only shifted the pain, but also my brain. I finally got started on #20! How to design it has left me frozen in inactivity since before I went to OH for the Quilt National opening. I had typed the story and so this morning I made the screen and painted the background cloth, plus several remnants that will also be used for lettering. I am still not 100% sure where it is leading me, but I work well with that kind of direction. I had a little problem with the paint leaving blobs on the cloth but immediately saw it not as crisis but as design element with which I can work.
Martha Ginn says
Carol, You have inspired me to get back in the pool. Next week. I have always enjoyed being in the water but have let a year go by with first one excuse and then another (won’t bore you with them). I just got back from a 12-day music tour in Ireland and amazed myself and others since I was the senior citizen on the trip. Everyone was quick to lend a hand on the uneven ground, going up or down slopes or steps and I gladly accepted the help. I had been exercising on a recumbent bike which was the best for my replaced knees, and much quicker than the pool with all the changing clothes added. But your description of being in the water makes me eager to get back in! Thanks!
Lol Martha…glad I could be of assistance! And I also notice when I travel how different my strengh is in the outside world as opposed to “my” everyday world. I also do the recumbent bike which I understand is good for our circulation!
Franki Kohler says
Way to go Carol! Glad to hear the mermaid in you is being released to her natural habitat. xo
lol, girlfriend! Good way to look at it!
I was so glad to read this story. I have been using the pool as my main source of exercise more and more as I head towards my knee replacement surgery next month. It is always so wonderful to just have that short time during the day when nothing hurts.
The part about your knee filling with blood is alarming. Did the doctors find nothing they could do to help with that?
Thanks Debby! No further exploration will be done to determine cause of blood pooling. I’ve had too much surgery and anything more, even explorative could cost me the leg. I don’t want to know that badly! For the past 5 months it has been manageable which is good.