Monday, September 9, 2019

When you've got your health. . . . .

My water aerobics class at the Y finally returned today.
We’ve been on hiatus while they cleaned the pool. It’s been unavailable for two weeks; they’d better be able to perform brain surgery in there after making us wait so long.

          We go there to improve our fitness, or at least maintain the level we’re already at, so it’s only logical that conversation often turns to health. A., one of the regulars, was her usual sweetly pudgy self, and treaded water like a pro with the rest of us for 15 minutes. Her white hair has grown in nicely after her bout with ovarian cancer.

 M. stayed in the warm pool; the hip she had replaced years ago has been acting up.

P. relayed to me that a mutual friend’s husband is rebounding well from his prostate surgery, but that this friend had just had a patch of squamous cell melanoma removed from a spot close to her eye.

          Another M., a faithful attendee, I first met at the gym 5 or so years ago. She stands out since she’s not only in great shape, she’s a rare and welcome person of color in our too-white-bread suburban YMCA. She’d told me that she’d once lost 100 pounds, hard to believe when you saw her trim shape. I hadn’t seen her there for quite a while, but people come and go in the summer with vacations.

          She had to leave early, and when she left the pool I was surprised to see that she’d gained quite a bit of weight. Too bad, I thought, after her earlier achievement. My thoughts turned to the series of too-tight pants I’d tried on the night before and I resolved to myself that I wouldn’t let that happen to me.

          She was still in the locker room when I finished, and was chatting with a friend one row over.

          M, “You look like you’ve lost some weight.”

          Friend, “Oh, thanks! I’ve been trying.”

          M., “Yeah. I’ve put a lot on. I haven’t been able to get to the gym. They took out a quarter of my lung this spring.”


  1. a quarter of a lung? Yikes. Hope she stays okay after that. I'd quite like to try water aerobics, but there isn't a pool anywhere near me and I don't drive, so I'll have to settle for walking to keep sort of fit.

    1. A quarter of a lung, depending on which lung, means 25% of lung capacity is lost, or less, if it's the left lung. This, in most people over 50, is not noticeable in daily activity. I worked in the field for over 50 years....
      On the other hand, my congestive hear failure has moved from stage 2 to 3, and is bordering on 4. I have maybe a year, at this rate. So, even not 'having my health', it's ok...I've lived a long life, 74 years so far, seen most parts of the world, have kids and grands that love me, and done pretty much whatever I wanted to do and accomplish.
      I like the idea of death as rejoining the earth. My carbon molecules will rejoin the earth's, and help life move on. I also think I can give back things, all the things I didn't do, all the things I didn't try, all the mistakes I made, I can give back to the earth for another chance by someone or something. It comforts me. Also, that my molecules will eventually meet Cary's, my wife, died in 98, and we will rejoin, the bond that was strong. Just my thoughts.....

    2. You've certainly achieved a remarkable attitude to your diagnosis. I wish you well on your journey. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. My dad lost 1/3 of a lung to a fistula. He just got skinnier!

  3. That really is the thing, isn't it? If you don't have your health, nothing else really matters! Wow, some of those people have been through the wringer! Good for all of you, still getting out and being active. -Jenn

  4. Ouch. I do hope that she can get back to the gym and the pool.
    A painful lesson about the judgements we make with only part of the story...

  5. Wow! That's a lot of medical activity! How can it possibly take so long to clean a pool?!

  6. Our pool opens again yesterday after two weeks. They not only paint it after emptying it, but they then have to warm up all that water! Good story about your friends.

  7. I didn't expect that conclusion. Meanwhile I await the fall beginning of our exercise class. I am not overly excited about it, but it must be done.

  8. I'm not much for being in a pool. dip in and out. I can swim fine but pools just suck the heat out of me.


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