Wounded Fish Unite!
PP expects such masochistic dedication to swimming from “The Type”—Super Swimmer Woman, but when she thinks about it, she and many of her friends are guilty of it too, just not to the same degree.
So when SSW divulges to PP one night in the sauna, lying flat on her back, unable to move after her workout, how she swims two miles and it takes her over 2 hours (“I’m embarrassed to admit”) and how after the first mile she starts to feel the pinched nerve in her neck and toward the middle of the second mile she feels (or doesn’t feel) numbness in her right arm and PP thinks to herself. Shit. Why the hell do you swim so far? Why not just swim a mile and leave it at that with the minimal pain in your arm and neck, but no numbness from the pinched nerve?
Isn’t this just a bit extreme? What drives her to keep swimming even when she’s in this intense pain? Is it a fear of gaining weight? Or losing her athleticism in her middle age? Or her brain exploding cuz swimming is the only activity that keeps her sane?
Or all of the above?
And she’s not the only one, though her case is more extreme than most. PP’s best swimming friend, JJ, injured her shoulder years ago. Not swimming but in a nasty fall. Had a surgery. Maybe two. 10 years later the soreness flares up and she’s supposed to lay off swimming.
Oh, maybe for a little while. A week at most. And when she gets in the water after a week on dry land, she hurts so badly. But does she stop swimming?
And PP’s dear friend, JM, from Jr. High School, facing a shoulder surgery this fall shakes her head in refusal when confronted with the possibility of not swimming. “Just take me out back and shoot me when I can’t swim anymore. That’s all I ask.”
And while all these women seem extreme in their fanaticism to continue swimming, PP gets it. She, too, hurts sometimes after a swim. Her neck can ache and her right shoulder feels tight. But then she sits in the hot tub. Relaxes in the sauna. The pain eases off. And it’s all good.
Yet if she quit swimming, she probably wouldn’t have this neck pain at all. Or it would be much more minimal.
So why does she continue to swim? Why do any of these women? Is it just to stay slim, fit and youthful?
Of course, PP can’t speak for them, but for her, yes, she must admit, this is part of it. Yet as she’s written before, it goes deeper, the power of swimming. It is the one thing that keeps her sane through it all. Without it, well, JM may be right. Just take her out and shoot her.
But not before she gets one last swim in.
That’s her Final Request.