I spent all of August and part of September helping my one Amazing, Fabulous, Glorious Over-Achieving Brain Cell recruit others in kind of an Amway-esque pyramid scheme. You get five friends and they get five friends and down the line, we’ll all be grandly rewarded. Every day I bumped my way down the stairs and into the swimming pool for the Auburn Pool Wall Clutching Method of water aerobics. At this point, I should mention that I absolutely HATE cold pool water. Even in August with triple digit temperatures the norm more than the exception, that water felt like ice cubes down my neck. But through gritted teeth, each day my legs found more confidence. By mid-August, they were taking steps without my having to tap them first. I still recited “left leg, right leg” in my head, but on a good day I didn’t have to tap at all and occasionally I’d even screw up the courage to let go of the side.
Without telling the doctor, I graduated myself from sitting endless days in a wheelchair. By the end of August, I got around with a walker and even tempted fate now and then wobbling about in my apartment with a cane. There was always a wall or piece of furniture on which to steady myself and if I fell … I figured someone would check on me eventually.
Ahh, there’s nothing like a dwindling bank account to propel one’s legs (and brain cells) toward excellence.
I worked on my mouth too. In the delightful cool of those evening summer Sacramento Delta breezes, I sat on my small apartment patio and read books aloud. I started out with the heavy slur of one who might have suffered a tragic stroke. My tongue and lips were on permanent slow-as-you-go and the task was to speed my speech enough that others could understand me. For example, a quick Hi sounded more like, Hiiiiiiaaaaahhh. It felt like enunciating in a vat of mud. But once again, I wondered if there was one Bright, Amazing, Over-Achieving Word-Loving brain cell willing to wake up its sleeping neighbors.
Yes, all through August and half of September — every day — I walked in water. I read through mud.
My hair jumped into the game and valiantly tried to resume its rightful place on my head. Sadly, the score was Head – 1, Hair – 0.
Nevertheless, I was a pool-walking, mouth-moving whirl of baldness under a baseball cap. And as my father might have said … Life, she was Good!!!