Emergencies are breaking up that old gang of mine.
Today, at aqua aerobics, we missed Nida, one of us six regulars. She’s waiting for a cardiac-capacity clearance for replacement surgery on both knees. Never one to complain, Nida only called attention to herself when pain became too much for walking.
Last week, Celia fell off a pickup truck while reaching to close her passenger-side door. She suffered broken fingers and wrist and a cut below an eyebrow; mercifully, her injuries didn’t require keeping her in the hospital for longer than a few days.
Her cut sutured perfectly by a plastic surgeon, her arm already liberated from the sling, though her two fingers remain protectively wrapped together, Celia can’t wait for her own doctor’s clearance to rejoin us—always first to brave the waters of the cold months, that’s Celia.
Also today, Linda got out of the water earlier than usual to see a doctor for gallstones. She and Celia also suffer from asthma. Tessie has stopped coming altogether; she’s undergoing rehab for bad shoulder and hip. She had had that even before she joined our pool exercise, which seemed to help, but insomnia made it impossible for her to get up early enough for it.
Of all of us, Annabel, our generous host, is the invincible one. High cholesterol and sugar counts and fatty liver don’t bother her, so long as she’s easy on herself, doing things in moderation, she says. A “positive attitude leaves no place for worry.”
She had just lost her husband of 51 years, yet carries her grief admirably. Assisted by her three sons, she continues to take care of their businesses. She’s on top of everything, yet never appears harassed. At it the longest—at least five years—she credits our aqua regimen for her good disposition, ability to focus, and capacity for hard work. Breaks for travel and concerts help, too, she says.
I was myself absent for two weeks because of a spur on my left ankle that had caused some painful swelling and made walking difficult. Always on the lookout for diabetes, a scourge of mom’s family, I regularly have blood tests and see my eye doctor.
I joined the aquabelles three years ago, when my weight threatened to begin to run away. Apart from dieting, I needed to exercise, and gyms somehow didn’t appeal to me.
I might have gone overboard when I went to Annabel’s cardiologist for my spur, but I’m glad I did. She ordered a complete blood test and, on sight, told me to lose weight. Immediately I went on a no-carbs, no-sugar diet, and quickly lost five pounds. I seem able to keep the trend nicely.
It was the same cardiologist who referred me to a foot and ankle doctor, who after an x-ray, told me to continue to lose weight and sent me to rehab twice a week for three weeks.
Only today, after exercise, and completing my rehab, I went to see him again. He noticed a “remarkable improvement” by my walk alone and told me no further rehab and simply continue some prescribed exercises at home, on my own, to strengthen my tendons.
As it happened, it was the weakened tendon, not the spur, that had caused my pain. I may slowly resume my 6,000 steps daily, but not to the point of exhaustion, and I don’t even need those special expensive shoes, just “soft, comfortable ones,” my doctor said. I don’t even have to see him again—not until the pain recurs and the spur gets really in the away, in which case it will have to be scraped off, by surgery! Well, I’m terrified enough to not get there.
Except for Celia, who turned 81 recently, all of us are in our late 70s. Many of our aches and pains had been preconditions we had brought with us to aqua aerobics. The pool chlorine causes me some skin allergy, but all in all the benefits outweigh that inconvenience.
I still surprise myself whenever I get up at 7 a.m. three times a week to be ready by 7:30 for Meya, who passes for me after Nida. She also takes me home after our post-exercise breakfast, which I’m amazed I can now resist. I limit myself to lots of water, fruits and coffee. Once or twice a week I do intermittent fasting for 12-14 hours. I sleep better.
I have no illusions, nor do I wish to turn back the hands of time. I’m just happy to take care of myself by exercising and breakfasting and chatting with my fellow aquabelles. We’ve bonded so well we’ve started looking out for one another. And lately, I must say, we’ve been quite busy.