Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
My first day back swimming laps since my bout with pneumonia did not go according to plan. I arrived at the pool to find that all of the lanes, except one, already had two people in them, and the one older man who had a lane to himself was determined not to share it. I slid off the edge of the pool into his lane where he was walking laps and swinging water bar bells. I said hello and, following swimming etiquette, politely asked whether he preferred the right or the left side of the lane.
“I need the whole lane,” the man told me. “When I’m walking backwards, I can’t see if someone is behind me and I wouldn’t want to walk into them.”
At one time or another, we all find ourselves sharing a lane with strangers we would not necessarily choose as friends. If the pool is really crowded, we are expected to “circle swim,” down on one side of the pool, turn, and then swim back on the other side. This works well if swimmers of different abilities are committed to make it work.
Not a team player, the man told me to, “Go walk with the ladies in the first lane.”
Knowing those were “fighting” words, my husband, Tony, froze on the pool ladder in anticipation of what might happen next. Surely, he hoped, this man was not talking to me, but he knew he was.
“Go ahead, make my day,” I growled from somewhere deep inside me, using the phrase made famous by actor Clint Eastwoods’ Dirty Harry character. Translation: Keep doing what you’re doing; it will give me an excuse to react in a way that would bring me much pleasure, and you much pain.
“Besides, I’m swimming back stroke laps, not walking like you are,” I added. “Perhaps you should move to the lane with the ladies walking in the water.”
The man ignored me and started walking backwards down the middle of the lane. Okay, we’ll both straddle the middle and see how it works for us. I pushed off the wall and started my back stroke right down the middle of the lane. He intentionally bumped me a few times, but I pretended not to notice. Making the best of every situation is key to living well with Parkinson’s.