Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'll Never Be Esther Williams Again...

The weather has been extremely hot and humid across most of the country the last few days.  New Jersey is no exception! So to escape the heat my sister and I have been taking her girls to our town pool.  It was remodeled a few years ago, it's a far cry better than it was when I was younger!  We always had a pool in our backyard, but as we got older and my parents health got worse we finally removed it.  I must admit, I miss it so much!

This will be my first official MG summer.  I got sick in June of last year, but didn't officially become a member of the "MG Club" until the fall.  I couldn't wait to get in the water and swim to my hearts content, water has always been so liberating for me. I love to swim laps to clear my head. There's is something so meditative about swimming, stroke after stroke you free your mind and relax your body.  It gives you time to reflect and ponder things.  

I went to the pool for the first time the other day.  I felt so free in the water, almost like there was no muscle weakness at all.  I floated along, looking at the clouds above my head as the cool water splashed around meI was the "OLD" me again, or so I thought! I decided to swim some laps, BIG mistake, I swam about 20 feet when I could feel my arms and legs weaken, my motions became slower, I could feel myself sinking under the water!  While I was in no danger of drowning I stopped trying to swim laps.  I didn't want to be the "fat lady" that the lifeguards had to save!  So I went back to floating and gentle paddling about.  I felt so cool and refreshed when I got out of the water.  My body was tired but nowadays that's the norm.  We went home, and as we went to prepare dinner I dumbstruck by how weak I felt. I could barely stand!  My sister finished fixing dinner, and I spent the rest of the evening in my recliner.  I dozed off, and eventually got up and went to bed to rest up from all my swimming fun!

I got up as usual to my morning medication alarm and took my first dose of Mestinon.  Jumping out of bed first thing in the morning is never easy for me anymore, I kind of ease into it gradually.  So as I put my feet on the floor to stand, I wasn't shocked when I had a morning case of spaghetti legs.  Going about my morning I was getting more fatigued by the moment, I hadn't felt so weak in quite a while.  I went back to bed to rest a little more.  I was still exhausted when I got back up.  It would take almost all day for me to feel up to par!

Yesterday was a scorcher, it was in the mid 90's with high humidity.  So off to the pool we went. Again I made an attempt at swimming some laps.  Sadly the outcome was the same.  I have a lot of limb girdle weakness, so climbing stairs and doing things that require a lot of shoulder movement are very difficult.  So I guess laps are out of the question!  I was resigned to floating and bobbing around, enjoying every minute of the cooling effects and my weary muscles.

Today I'm struggling with everything I need to do, my body is so tired and weak, I feel like a participated in a marathon! So here I am typing in my recliner reflecting on another change in my life.  Myasthenia Gravis and fun in the pool don't make the best of friends!  Just walking about in the pool against the weight of the water has left me almost immobile. Even my Mestinon is of little use today!

I'm trying not to let this upset me, but I'm finding it rather difficult.  My life doesn't depend on swimming laps in a town pool, but I was once again shocked back into my "NEW" reality.  I will "NEVER" be Esther Williams again!"



  1. Now I'M bawling. I'm sorry you had to experience that. It makes me sad that you're sad. We didn't even put the pool up this year (blow up ring kind that's about 30 inches deep). Doug would have to help me step over the side, and he put a little stool for me to sit on. I couldn't float too much because of the trach...have to keep my neck above water. I miss just floating underwater. {sigh} Well, we'll do laps in heaven I suppose!

  2. I am sorry that you were not as strong to swim again. I hope the heat will get better and maybe your strength too

  3. Hi Rachel,

    I guess thats why us MGer's aren't allowed to swim alone. The same thing happened to me a few years ago.

    I was desperate for a swim so a friend and I went to sidmouth beach. I got into the water which felt lovely but after just a few strokes it was all I could do to keep my head above the water.

    It was scary. You now need to try and stay cool and rest. Heat just zaps your energy! Who am I to tell you that! I am naughty too and do things I really shouldn't! LOL

    Rach xx

  4. It is surprising how swimming can make me so tired. I'm not aware of using all those muscles in the water, until i get out and get home....boy am I tired!

    It's no fun to loose some fun...if that makes sense. Sorry your swimming took so much out of you.

    I've been tempted to go to one of those free water places where they have big showers of water shooting up from the ground and overhead...sounds cooling but not tiring, and I could go there in my wheelchair!

  5. Thank you all for your comments!

    I wasn't that surprised when I had trouble doing laps, but the weakness I experienced after the fact really took me by surprise!

    We've all made adjustments, this too we go on the list of many...


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