Monday, September 6, 2010

Aquatics - calling my name or not?

Last week I was browsing Southern California's Arthritis Foundation's website and their Quality of Life Programs. It just so happens that the local YMCA has an aquatics class for arthritis. I called to ask about it and the person in the aquatics department could not give me any information besides the class time and that I would have to be a member to take it. Luckily they offer a free seven day pass, which means I could try it out before committing to a membership of fifty dollars a month and a registration fee.

But before trying the class I would have to undertake one of the most difficult tasks a woman ever has to face - buying a swimsuit. Even worse, swimsuit season is basically over so there is almost nothing available in stores. I found a tank and short set on the clearance rack at Target, which would be good enough to at least try the class.

There were two different classes, one at noon on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and the other at two on Tuesday and Thursday. Because of work, Thursday was pretty much my only option.

So on Thursday I went to the YMCA. I put on my swimsuit, sucked in my stomach, and walked out to the pool. I was there pretty early, so the lifeguard told me I could get in and swim until the others got there. The pool was a wonderful eighty-five degrees and I floated around for the next twenty minutes. Slowly the pool filled with older women that obviously knew each other. Eventually someone asked if I meant to be at that class and I had to explain the RA. The class was mostly stretching which felt good, but I began to get really cold and my hands and feet ached very badly. I still thought it was worth it though and decided I would try it again.

It turned out that I only had to work a half day on Friday, so I packed my gym bag and decided that I would go to the noon class. By the time I was ready to leave work, I had pretty much talked myself out of going, which I am notorious for. But I also knew that this was the perfect opportunity to go because I could come home and relax afterward the class, knowing that I did something good for my body. This time there were quite a few more people and a different instructor, who once again asked if I was in the right place. This class was much more involved and even though it was not really intense, I felt like I got more from it. Again my hands began to ache again because of the cool water and having to grip the side of the pool for some of the exercises hurt. I was also a little disappointed that I was not able to converse with anyone at this particular class because only the instructor spoke English to me, which definitely made me feel out of place.

I am interested in continuing the class, but my work schedule is the first problem. It would have to be altered if I want to take that particular class because my lunch is sixty minutes long and so is the class. There is no way I could drive there, take the class, shower, and drive back in less than ninety minutes. My boss has already let me switch one of my days off, so I am hesitant to ask for more. Plus I really do not like scheduling things over my lunch hour because it is that much more exhausting and sometimes I really need that time to rest.

But I did find out that they have a low impact aquatics class in the evening. It is not the arthritis class, but there would be other benefits to the class. I might meet some people closer to my age group for one. I enjoyed the older women I met and they definitely appreciated that I was able to explain who the Situation was, but it would be cool make some friends. I also would not have to rush at work, etc. I would have a couple of hours after work to even take a nap if I want to.

My other worry is how I felt after the classes. My hands ached quite a bit after the first class and even worse after the second. We went out Friday evening and between the extreme heat and a general bad feeling, we ended up going home after an hour. I felt even worse on Saturday. My right was swelling and I was in pain throughout work. We tried to go out that evening, but once again I felt weak and nauseous. Same thing Sunday and I left work early today.

It may be a coincidence that this awful period falls right after taking some swimming classes, but it does worry me. I may complain a lot but I have not felt this bad in a long time. Pain is one thing, but feeling weak, nauseous, and dizzy is too much. Especially when I feel fine one moment and awful the next. I told Rommel that I will probably make an appointment to see the rheumatologist in the next couple of weeks instead of waiting until October. I keep saying that I would rather stay on the plaquenil feeling the way I do instead of trying something else that might not work and deal with new side effects, but I might be willing to take that gamble now.

So the aquatic classes are on the top of my list, but will have to wait for awhile. Instead Rommel and I are going to try to walk more, etc., to get some exercise.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

This has been the biggest battle for me. Knowing when the cut off is between safe stretching and over doing to throw me into a flare from hell. I get so absolutely frustrated by the quiet limitations this horrible disease places on me. I want to mow the lawn, I want to clean my house, I want to go walk through a antique store, I want to cook thanksgiving dinner forever.... but, my body says different & I have to make peace with it. My hands are really getting to me this week. not liking it one bit. Feel better & I pray this has not set off a flare for you. Hug. Tammy