Things ebb and flow in the world of dementia–we have good and bad days. I remember my grandmother saying this about herself throughout her waning years. I called her Sitto as did my sister and all the other cousins. Sitto lived to be 97 even after me prodding her on to make it to 100.
Mom has good and bad days and right now we’re experiencing some better days where her moods aren’t so amplified in one direction or the other. Still, I thought it wise to take care of myself, mentally and physically. I was set on seeking out a mental health group knowledgeable in caring for patients with dementia. I also set off to join an exercise class. Given my recent Achilles’ tear went on the hunt to yoga classes but instead wound up in a Pilates class last Wednesday. Hindsight tells me that I should have stayed with the mental health idea.
I knew things were going the wrong way when I began focusing on the clock. It seemed the minute hand was stuck in one position. Or was I stuck in one position? No telling but when the instructor, a friend of mine–Jen–who owns the place, explained the most recent cruel Pilates position as core-building, I thought, Do I really need my core built at all? A resounding NO echoed in my mind and heart. Still, bolting out of class wasn’t an option. I had my appearances to maintain afterall.
I wanted people to think I was awesome, even through my groans, through the latest torturous pose–on your back, legs extended, feet off the floor, and… hold for a count of…
“Oh come on! Really?”
I was dying here. And we’d only made it 10 minutes into the class.
The clock laughed out loud at me, “You fool! Did you really think you could beat me?”
But what human can beat the ever-devious clock? Not. One. Soul.
My stomach muscles quaked. And I hoped no one else was witnessing my disgusting show. Then, my thighs began to shiver under the strain. Soon, my gluteus maximus thrummed. Oh. The torture.
I shredded my pupils away from the face of that dastardly clock and began to breathe. That was after 15 minutes into class.
As it turns out, breathing is a good thing. I suppose I had always known this but it never really becomes critically obvious until one’s head is under water or one is using one’s muscles to do some inane exercise in Pilates!
Breathe in–I wheezed. And… Out–with a whish and coughed. Breathe in, again. Whish out, again. Cough.
Good gravy. What have I done to myself?
After 30 minutes, my muscles did something they’d never ever done before. They got up and walked off. My body however, now an empty shell, lay there on the mat–a nice comfy rubbery number–and begged to take a short nappy nap. But mean, mean Jen (watch out for her, she wants you to die) wasn’t done with us. What had I ever done to her? Anyway, she told us all to get onto one hip.
My eyes squinted and instead of saying, Huh? I asked (myself), Why?
The answer? To torture us. That’s why.
And Jen delivered. She tried to kill us all. But since I was the newby, I was dying first. And fast.
Oh the pain. Oh the agony.
Again, why had I done this to myself? The question crossed my frontal lobe but then soon dissipated because I needed all of my wits, balance and energy to lift my sorry body up onto one elbow and a single foot in order to grind out any fat that might be hiding in my pathetic musculature.
After switching to the other hip, it was 10 minutes to the end of class when Jen spent a good 5 minutes trying to kill us again.
Finally, face first onto the mat and I started to laugh. I thought, “Oh my goodness. I’m SO blogging about this.”
While down and laughing, the other ladies began laughing too. They knew what it meant to be new in this class. They knew how difficult that first day was. They knew! And not one of them warned me to run, go, hide… Save Yourself!
And to that, I will dedicate my life’s work in bringing each one of those ladies–and I have your names–DOWN!
But it wasn’t over. Not even after class had ended. The coming days brought more treachery. I will even say, the coming days, peaked. My muscles rebelled. I felt like one big sore muscle.
“I need a paramedic,” I said. “What in the heck is that muscle? Are you supposed to have them there?”
Bob said, “It’s your own fault.”
I love how sympathy overflows in Bob.
So, today is Monday. Pilates starts at 5:15p.
Do you think I’ll go?
Guess you’ll have to wait for that answer. Until next time.
And I write books (when I can sit up straight without crying).