After I had crawled to my wheelchair, in Alex’s practice rooms, and successfully climbed into it, she looked as pleased as “punch”. I, on the hand, looked & felt like I just completed my first marathon. Alex said ..”there was now a long road of practice, practice,” and guess what? Yes more practice.
I remarked that I wished I could swim rather, as I have always enjoyed splashing around in water. And that is how Bob & I learnt about a small pool about 8 meters by 15 meters in the very same hospital where my new life had started.
Bob took me there a few days later and we learnt there is a procedure, & assessments which all people, wanting to use the pool, are required to go through. You cannot just jump in (not possible for me at this point anyway) and off you go, protocol’s.
There is a physio assigned to you, who will assess your abilities such as balance, core strength, determination, and I suspect a willingness to listen!
This could be fun, I thought to myself, and after she had asked me to complete a few challenging exercises, she felt I would definitely benefit from Aqua-Physio.
My new physio’s name was Kayleigh, she looked so young and so petite, this of course worried me a little, as still being “the blob”, I did wonder how on earth she would “manage” me in to pool?
Getting into the Pool, was Scary, with Nervous Giggles from me!
The HOW, I was going to get in and out, is best seen in this picture (from Pinterest.) (which I have no idea how insert I have been trying all afternoon) so this was my effort
But I did not wear the dress or hat! The contraption squeaked & groaned loudly, it was also awfully slow, no electronics here just human endeavour. Kayleigh’s actually.
It was the most frightening journey I have ever made, except of course flying.
AS my toes felt the water, I started to breathe again, not long now, I thought. But it stopped with a terrible juddering, suddenly I see Kayleigh standing in front of me in the water. How nice, I thought, & then… but who is at the controls of this monstrous machine? Because I don’t see myself swan diving the rest of the way down into the pool.
So, who was at the helm, of this wretched chair? Yes, of course my dear husband, he was there in body, with his hands on the handle, but no driving license.
This may end up in tears, I thought. I held my breath expecting to be well and truly dunked into the water, the temperature of which was unknown to me at this point.
But on this occasion Bob did exceedingly well, his expression said it all,.. “a piece of cake, my dear,” and I slowly descended the last few meters into the surprisingly warm water, oh what heaven, I wished I had brought my soap-on-a-rope! You will understand that since the 23rd of June 2017 I had not been in a bath, well I had, but that was a complete disaster, a blog left for a different time. I had many bed baths, at the beginning, and now showers.
As I was helped out of the chair, Kayleigh had to prise my fingers off the armrest, it felt other-worldly as I felt weightless, my legs began to do as I asked of them, albeit slowly and wobbly. Kayleigh had wrapped a water noodle under my arms and steered me to the side of the pool to hold on the safety rail.
So started the beginning of a 3-week (2 sessions per week) stint of learning to balance, walk, squats, and climbing out of the pool via the steps, which happened quicker than she expected and I explained, out of all the lessons I had to practise, climbing those steps was at the top of my list, because the indignity and sheer terror of THE CHAIR was all the motivation I needed.
Once Kayleigh was happy with the progress and determination I had shown, she no longer came into the water, with me, rather sitting watching from the side of the pool; and no doubt gossiping with Bob. A short time after this victory, Kayleigh was assigned to a different branch. That meant a another physio and another assessment. After that evaluation, I was given an all clear to come and go as I pleased at the pool.
What a fantastic time those 2 years were, we met the most amazing people each week at the pool, one especially comes to mind, I always called her “My Angel”, she was about 11-12 years old when we met, she is a special child born with Cerebral Palsy, in the beginning she would just stare at me through the window while waiting for her physio, but as time went on she would wave back at me, smiling. Then one day she said to me, “Hello Angel” I was so touched and incredibly pleased, especially when she blew kisses to me.