Life through the eyes of a 30-something Panda Woman who happens to be Chronically Sick and Disabled.

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Just Keep Swimming


 just keep swimming

I love swimming.  

I am inherently a water baby.  My parents first took me swimming aged 3 months and I took to it like the proverbial duck.  In my younger years I was an avid swimmer and was part of a synchronised swimming club where we trained pretty hard.  Our warm up was 40 lengths of the half pool (1km).  I had to stop synchro aged about 12 as I couldn’t get past grade 1 due to my inability to do a ballet leg.  This turns out to be due to the Ehlers Danlos Syndrome but we didn’t know this at the time.  Of course the real reason was that I was the fact kid that didn’t look right in their formations but they couldn’t very well admit that that was why they were advising my parents that I may not want to continue.  I am after all the cub that managed to get chucked out of ballet class aged 3 for being too fat, and I really wasn’t _that_ fat aged 3!

Anyways.  I still love swimming.  I love being near water but I love being in it even more.  There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the cool water against my skin nor the relative weightlessness in water.  Swimming is one of the few forms of exercise I can still manage.  Once I’m in the pool I find it relatively easy and although I usually stick to the slow lane I outpace most of the others in it at my now standard slow pace-myself pace.  

The issues I have with swimming are pre and post.  Pre, like any other activity, I have to motivate myself to do it.  I know I’ll enjoy it but any need to leave my bed is a tug and knowing that I will need energy for something always induces a certain amount of anxiety.  

Once I’m there the disabled changing room is pretty good, I can change quickly and generally get myself in the pool.   As a remnant of synchro I need goggles and an old fashioned nose-clip.  I also plait my hair in advance as it’s ridiculously long and would be a pain otherwise (I have still managed to whack myself in the face with the plait whilst swimming though!)

A while back I bought one of these

waterfi ipod shuffle

Waterfi iPod shuffle

A fully waterproofed iPod shuffle from Waterfi.  It’s a godsend!  Although the buttons are a little stiff from the waterproofing process I can listen to whatever I want as I swim.  Currently I’m listening to an audiobook by Jennifer Saunders. This allows me to not get bored and distract myself from the pain.  Currently, having lost the buds that fit well for the earphones, it also gives me an excuse to stop every length to squish the headphones back in.  I have though ordered some foam moulding ear bud replacements so hope those might solve this issue.

And so today, having been sat in Hammersmith hospital for 3 hours for an Endocrinology consult, I set off for the pool.  This time I went alone.  Got in, readied myself and swam 500m in 30 mins.  It hurt, I won’t lie.  I was struggling to walk before I got in from an odd knee pain and by 150m in my right elbow was giving out too but a combination of OCD around the number 5 and needing to do an even number of lengths to get out where I’d gotten in and left my stick, I persevered to 10 lengths.  You know what? I felt great afterwards.  I even willed myself to go grocery shopping as planned afterwards which i had feared I wouldn’t have the energy for.

I need to really get back into swimming every week.  I went through a phase where I was scared to go alone but I think today I proved to myself that as long as my exhaustion isn’t massive I can manage it.

So my advice is if you enjoyed swimming before you joined the spoonie club it’s well worth trying to get back into it.  

Just Keep Swimming.

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