Blessing in Disguise

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Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 1.08.52 AMSundays are pool days at the local gym. As my dad and I entered the gym doors dragging two bags of pool paraphernalia, the guy behind the desk greets us with,” The therapy pool is closed today.” “Urrgh…you kidding?” I thought. Frustration briefly clouded my mind. Not so much with the non-chalant greeter who could care less if I got my workout in, but more with myself. I knew I shouldn’t have dismissed the  nagging, little voice that advised me  to call before I left the house.

Even though I exercise with Elect Wellness two days a week, gaining strength has allowed me to add an extra swim day to my workout routine. At first, I wasn’t sure if my goal of Sunday swimming would come to fruition since I needed to discover a creative and economical way to find someone to assist me in the pool. I put some feelers out, prayed, and put it in the hands of the Lord. As soon as I stopped focusing on it, my prayers were answered. Lauren, a physical therapy student at UTSW, happily volunteered as well as her husband, Ryan, who would provide the braun to transfer me from wheelchair to pool. Lauren, also, gets volunteer hours which she needs to graduate so it’s a win, win situation for both of us.

My frustration quickly turned to determination. I didn’t spend 3 hours getting ready to turn around and go home! I was going to workout. Before I knew it, I heard myself blurting out,”Let’s try the exercise bike!” Every time I come to the gym I pass the stationary bikes on the way to the pool. I knew, eventually, I would be strong enough to give the bike a try. How could I resist with two willing volunteers and my dad ready to help. After carefully analyzing a variety of different bike styles, I picked the one the looked the least cool, but the most practical (story of my life, he he!). The wide, cushiony seat was attached to a straight, firm back with arm rests that could be raised. The large, sturdy pedal covered the entire area of my size 6 shoe. Ryan lifted me from my wheelchair and gently sat me on the surprisingly comfortable seat. The palms of my sweaty hands nervously dug into the arm rests. But, my balance felt remarkably sturdy. Maybe  that was due to my no grip, death grip! Next, Lauren and Ryan assisted in guiding my feet into different pedals and snugly securing the pedal strap across the top of each foot. I was ready for take off! As soon as I attempted my first rotation, my feet slid out of the straps like skates on ice. After several tries, we realized the only solution to this tricky predicament was for my friends to sit on the floor and physically hold each foot on the pedal, guiding them only for the purpose of staying on the pedal, giving them a small tap to get over the top of the rise when needed. (Maybe next time, I’ll  throw some duct tape in my purse!) Slowly, my pumping was mostly powering the bike. Being able to extend my legs out and around in almost a full range of motion was something I haven’t experienced since I was a kid. As I was pedaling, I could feel the wind blowing through my hair. Who cares if the bike was stationary? The resistance of the pedals against my feet, knees, and hips made me feel strong. This first time biking experience brought me such joy! I didn’t want to stop! 15 minutes swiftly flew by, and my legs were jello-like  rubber bands. I didn’t care, I loved every second!

The Lord allowed me to experience another “first” today. Not only, am I so grateful that He sent Lauren, Ryan,  and my dad to help me accomplish it, but that He graced me with the abibility to turn an extremely frustrating moment into a  blessing in disguise!