sometimes they listen.

Two gifts from the universe yesterday.

I got up at half-past six to go to my first PT session at the downtown Y. As if the Gibbs-Main-East area couldn’t get any better, there is a really cool Y on the corner. Seriously, I have never heard of them having hot tubs and saunas. (Tried the hot tub. Left the sauna well enough alone.) I did various lifts and stretches, then some weights underwater, cycling with my legs while suspended from a pair of foam noodles — one would’ve sufficed, but hey! — and finally waterwalking.

The only downside to water work is the same thing that makes it so awesome: I am weightless in the water.

I love the water because I can dance and twirl and really move with little to no pain. The thing is that I can do this because I am buoyant like you wouldn’t believe. The weights I used were shaped like paddles. They needed to be a scootch smaller or differently shaped, because you give a girl my size a pair of paddles, well, I wasn’t nearly heavy enough to counter the drag. It’s not a matter of building my core at that point. It’s a matter of weighing me down at the ankles so I’m actually working my arms and core instead of flailing about, trying to stay up. Waterwalking operates on a similar principle. On land I am plenty steady and stable enough to walk in a straight line. In water, even at the shallowest end, fuhgeddaboudit. I’ll be staggering drunkenly unless you give me a tether. I could do it with a tether to tug, just rope with knots in that will droop as I get closer to the wall.

But the cycling’s awesome. I was always the girl who could tread water longer than anyone else in gym class. I have brilliant strong legs; they just hurt often. So I think I will cycle into the deep end and back next time (“deep end”, hah, it’s six feet and change at its deepest).

Also, with my hair pulled up out of the water, I look all of thirteen. This wonderful woman and I traded what-are-you-in-fors and I said I had fibro, and she said I couldn’t be much older than what, thirteen? So I told her I was twenty-seven and burst into giggles because oh, I get this all the time and I’ve decided to be delighted about it instead of offended. Especially when it’s meant so kindly. And it was. Everyone there meant things kindly. How do you think I found out about the hot tub? The nice man who watched me water-stumbling told me on his way out. Anyway, the woman who got the shock of her life told me I was blessed and should have a blessed day.

And I did, in ways she could never have anticipated.

Serendipity may be 2014’s word, if years have words. My new therapist, Wade (no, really) was able to see me at 7pm at Highland Family Medicine, which was lucky because normally on Tuesday nights the latest you can get is 6, and Simon doesn’t get home until 5:45, so 6 would’ve meant breaking the laws of physics, never mind a few traffic regs. Being Simon, he got me there early, so we waited. I was nervous, cranky, and less 38mg of caffeine (aka one can of Pepsi) so my head was pounding. Advil didn’t touch it.

And I heard my name, and I said, “You look exactly like you sound on the phone.” And it was true.

So we went down the hall to a room that seated nine or ten. “Sit wherever you like,” said Wade. Er. I was feeling very Anna-ish, very much like I ought just to sit on the floor, but I fought it and picked the seat by his desk. I don’t like loads of distance between myself and my counselor, you know? I have a quiet enough voice. I’m hard to make out. So I want to be near enough that it’s not so much trouble.

Wade is left-handed, Not From Here, and a friend of my Jessica. Instant trust when he mentioned that last — I said I’d been at St Joseph, dealing with class-clash issues and what it’s like receiving charity when you’ve been middle-class, even lower-middle for your particular area. And he put the pieces together. He’s also in regular touch with my Doc V. And he’s still a student, too, but an older one like I am. I like having students for counselors. It means they’re willing to learn me instead of imposing fixed notions on me. I am an education for any professional, so this should be fun as well as helpful.

The focus is more on the presence of anxiety in my life, and the ways it contributes to disability, and also the cultural issues I still have. Possibly also also how 9/11 played into my subsequent inability to fly. There is so much fuckery in my head, and now that my family is not a stressor, I can figure out how it ties together. We can.

I’ll see him once every other Monday at 7pm at the clinic. I think. I need to ring to figure that out. We’ll try to get me a less expensive psychiatrist, one that’s fine with Doc V prescribing my meds. Ah, the perks of having a care team that’s really a team. Rochester has a major asset in the Strong system and the way the University of Rochester links into it. I’m so proud of my second city. I really am. I feel safe, like I’m going to get a fair shot at a future because now there are people addressing the things that have stopped me. What isn’t fixable is adaptable. God. Did you ever think I’d have so much hope?


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