………………….I blogged previously about my fears at returning to my old stomping ground at Wymondham Leisure Centre. I hadn’t been there in many, many months and I’d not spoken to or met any former colleagues from my fitness day. The access group I founded recently had a tour of the new facilities and it was organised via Steve Goddard my old manager. I was really worried about going and after working on an Accessibility Guide until late the night before (I’d put it off worried about doing it and committing to going). This was followed by a sleepless night before the day arrived and I was dreading it. I hadn’t been in the fitness side of the centre in a decade and not the pool side in about 4 years. The last time being when I could walk in the centre using my walking sticks.
The tour went really well, and it was well attended. I also got to see Stevie G for the first time in close to 20 years, and it was like we had seen one another yesterday. We were straight back in to talking about how we both were, what we were up to now, what had happened to me in my car accident and so on. We looked at the Gym and my resting pulse must have been about 180 bpm. I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. Then as I calmed down and adjusted I got to look at a lovely facility and one that I am sure there would be potential for me to use some of the stations and as my strength builds light free weights and so on. My biggest danger though is comparing what I can do now with what I used to do and I MUST STOP DOING THAT I AM ME, I AM PROUD TO BE ME, I AM GOING TO DO ALL I CAN TO LEAD A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.
Going poolside the lifeguard trainer/manager kindly showed me how the hoist worked and showed me the wet side wheelchair (something I never knew existed) so I can get their wheelchair wet and not my own post swim. I was excited and terrified. There were suddenly less and less barriers in my way, and less and less voices on my bus shouting out what I can’t do and why I can’t do it. It was all becoming real. As I was leaving Steve said to me “so when are we seeing you next.” He could see I looked like a Rabbit caught in headlights and I said I want to be swimming by the end of 2016. He instantly started cutting that deadline date, half in jest when he said next week, but also because he knows me, what I am like and understood the barriers I was facing. We settled on meeting for a drink by the end of July.
We had that drink on Tuesday, initially the first one was cancelled due to an HR commitment issue that came up for him, I then cancelled a couple bottling it. Then on Monday I got the phone call about my Hydrotherapy course starting in August, and it was like one of those bolts of lightening that strike telling me we must meet up. So we did, I was nervous as hell scooting down there, the sweat was pouring off me and I was petrified. At the reception desk one of the course tutors I worked closely with at City College was there. It was a lovely surprise seeing her and calmed me down enough to tell the receptionist why I was there. Then we went and had a water and a chat.
We spoke more about my prognosis and what has and hasn’t been done and what can/cannot and this isn’t always easy but I was totally relaxed speaking with Steve. He got in an instant the loss of dignity I feel now compared to when I used to workout and swim prior to my car accident. I was totally independent and left sweating buckets in the past, now as he said to me “it is not a Swimming Pool to you Seachy, it is a Pool, the swimming bit may come in the future, but for now it is a Pool you can come in and do your exercises even if you are only in the pool for 20 minutes the guards won’t mind getting you in and out. He asked about the Hydrotherapy and I said the date of my first session is 17th August, so my next goal has been set and that is to be in the pool before August ends.
So there you go, the man who pushed me as a 16 year old to always work hard, enjoy life, make the most of every opportunity given to you, had faith in me to manage at a young age and look after the Red and then Yellow teams in the Gym and then the Gym itself. He reminded me about the exercise programs I used to write and how we reviewed them every 10 or so sessions, sometimes they didn’t change sometimes they did, and sometimes they went backwards. He was of course right and I have a more rounded approach and thought process for my hydrotherapy and approach to getting back in the pool. My end of year goal has also been slashed by 4 months but Mr G was always a very difficult man to say no to!
We also spoke about running some projects and fundraising events to coincide with other community days/weeks in my hometown with the aim to promote independence in the centre and the pool with cintroduction of a pool pod………………….