2pm, Wednesday the 18th April
Since I first became paralysed my dreams have provided an escape from the restrictive shackles of my body. Each night I dream dreams where I am walking, stumbling or floating. I am never stationary and never restricted to a wheelchair.
Yesterday I went for a swim. It was the first time I had been able to test myself without the fight against gravity. I couldn’t hide my joy at the sensation, grinning from ear to ear for the whole half hour-long session. It felt as though I was dreaming, ‘walking on a dream’ to quote Empire of the Sun. Although I could walk I wasn’t fully in control of my legs and would fall/dip whenever I bent my knees more than they could hold. The hydrotherapist was keen to assess me so was getting me to do all these funny exercises, some very good but some of the exercises I could have done without the pool. I, on the other hand was desperate to do my own thing and make the most of the buoyancy. Every time she would look away I would have a go at a squat or take a few steps. Every now and again she would turn around and I would be trying to re-find my feet with my head just poking out the surface. Eventually I feel she gave in and let me have a go at swimming so I swam, I swam and I felt like one of those swimming sloths in David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II. The muscle wastage had left me much more buoyant than previously and my limbs could not move quickly so I really was swimming like a sloth.
The session finished far too soon. I was hoisted out of the pool, had a shower and when I re-entered my wheelchair everything was back to normal. Once again, I could not stand and was restricted to my four wheels. We got home and the tiredness hit me. I guess I had worked my body without even noticing, that’s the great thing about doing a workout that you enjoy.
The rest of the day was reasonably uneventful. I had lunch with Mum at home before being taken back to Woking exhausted. In the afternoon I had arm group which I left half way through to get some time in bed. It had been a good day and the hydrotherapy session had gone better than I could have hoped, allowing my dreams to become reality.
Many thanks for reading,
Until next time. Bon Voyage!
By Angus the swimming sloth
The following week I was lucky enough to have an extra half an hour in the pool to explore my movements. For this session my girlfriend Alex joined me to assist me with my swimming, and to make sure I didn’t drown! The video of which is shown below:
The pool is the only place where I can move freely without the fear of falling. It is a blessing to have this feeling whilst awake, not just in my dreams.