Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Meanwhile, back at the pool...

Wow. Well, Wednesday night, teaching night. If anyone's actually reading this & didn't read last weekend's post about last Wednesday's class - go read it now 'cause that's the background for this.

Unfortunately, the young lady I talked about last week has decided not to take the class. I was so dissappointed - but in the end it was her call. She did actually come tonight - made the decision as everyone else was working on wet exits with sprayskirts on. She told me what she'd decided & went into the locker room - well, fortunately I listened to the little voice in my head that said, a little bit later, "Better go check on her". She wasn't crying as she left - but she just looked pretty sad.

I was so glad I did. She's already changed & was just getting ready to leave but I asked if we could just talk for a little while. Started out by mentioning that I'd done a little reading up on neuropathy, that I hadn't understood last week what a strange thing this was she was dealing with, and that I was very sorry I hadn't asked her for a little more information because it sounded like a really difficult thing to come back from.

Well - she took the time to tell me what she's been through and I ended up really impressed. Her own conclusion about the kayaking class was that she was just pushing herself a little too far too fast & that it might be better to step back & do some more swimming just to get more comfortable in the water.

She put it all beautifully into perspective for me when she told me that she'd at one point been so debilitated by the pain & had such a hard time getting around that the school had asked that she not come back.

Now I didn't get if that meant permanently or just taking a leave of absence to recover - but whichever it was, she wasn't having it, came back, toughed it out, & there she was, so there! And well enough now that to look at her, you'd never know anything had been wrong.

Suddenly, instead of looking at someone who I was feeling really sorry for because she was afraid to capsize her boat - I was looking at someone who had through sheer determination fought her way through something & had, in the process, had learned enough about herself & about personal goals & expectations to know when to say "OK, I'm not ready for this". Not, "I can't do this" - which is what I was afraid she was saying. No - it was definitely that she wasn't ready - but she was already thinking about what she could do next to keep making progress (which sounds like swimming, swimming, swimming until she gets back to her old comfort level in the water - which sounds like a good plan).

As she talked, she started smiling & that was great to see. I think I was seeing a lot of pride in having stayed when the college wanted her not to - and just in getting as far as she has when it's been such a tough road. She also mentioned - in response to my apology for not asking for more info when she first mentioned it - that she tends to gloss it over because people tend to - i think her word was "pamper" her when they do know & she doesn't want that. Nice. Some people would totally go the other way. Easy enough to do when life hands you something like that - and not necessarily wrong - just not as productive as her view of it.

As I said, I went in because I was worried about her because of one stupid little thing she couldn't make herself do - ended up sort of amazed at how much she's already done, instead. I'm always amazed at people who go through things like this at an unfairly young age & but pull it off with a grace you'd admire in a person twice their age (I have one friend of whom that is particularly true & if it wasn't almost one o'clock in the morning I'd have to touch on that - but I can't even start to do that one justice at this hour). Ended up with a whole lot of respect for her - I don't think I said that straight out, but boy, I sure hope she saw that.

Will probably have to skip next week due to a financial review, which bums me out as the rest of the class seemed to have a great time tonight & are learning really, really fast (some of these kids may be rolling by the end of the 6 sessions)!

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