Several of you have asked how I'm doing and my mind immediately goes to this: I take cardiac rehab with seventy year olds. That sentence alone should make you laugh. I still have anesthesia brain. I forget lots and lots. Last week, instead of saying "Scott", I kept calling friend's husband, "Squat". No matter how I tried I could not force "Scott" out of my mouth. I've forgotten appointments, I've forgotten friends who are coming over to visit me. If I don't write it down, then it likely won't happen. I digress. What was I writing about?
Rehab with seventy year olds is the most elegant display of elementary prowess I've ever been privy to experience.Three days a week, ten of us sit in pairs on a set of five benches. The first goal is to arrive early enough to sit on the first bench since it's closest to the entrance of the rehab center. First one in, first one out. And you know what? Old people are early to everything. Nothing better to do? Show-up early to rehab. Wanna gossip with your heart patient friends? Sit on an uncomfortable bench with your walker and compression hose and chat while you wait. Got a hankering for sweets? Arrive early and someone most assuredly has a ziplock bag of zagnuts or orange slice jelly candy. (P.S. those are the cool kids).
It's been almost four weeks, I'm still trying to decide if my new friends are flirting with me or harassing me. Old people humor is always a little off, maybe with a tinge of sexual? I'm not really sure. I'm not planning to be that old. Last week, one asked me where my dad was (my chaffuer whose driving services are no longer needed, since now I CAN DRIVE). Thinking it was a polite gesture, I let him know that Dad flew back home and told him, "thank you for thinking of him." He shot back with, "Oh, well, I'll send him a sympathy card for having to be your dad".
Once Shae, the head scheduler, opens the door to our exercise room, she greets everyone at the door with a hug and asks them how they are doing. My first time experiencing this, I wanted to put my head between my legs and back away like the shamed puppy I am. Ugh- people gotta know me and I gotta talk to them? Yikes. I would have to hearken my alter ego, Tina Belcher, and be social, only its rehab and there is NO ACCESS TO ALCOHOL. For shame, Our Lady of the Lake, you're catholic! Where's that eucharist wine?
Also on this first day of rehab, a gentleman and- yes, at seventy you are a gentlemen whether you act like it or not asked me if I had a zipper to which I responded, "No, and I don't have cigarettes either". To highlight my stupidity, he pointed his finger at my chest, which I looked down and realized he was talking about my sternotomy. The scar is pretty hard to miss, its only 5 or 6 inches long. Suddenly, no one can hide their intrigue. Thirty eight year old fitness coaches don't come to rehab because we don't have heart attacks. Everyone wants to know if I've head a heart attack. Let me let you in on a secret, if they can tell their doctors that at least they didn't have a heart attack when they were thirty eight, then they win. They get bragging rights and are better than me.
Another secret: they are all better than me. I'm the whimpy white girl in class. I can't yet use my arms to exercise, something to do with the fact my sternum and rib-cage haven't healed and therefore my arms aren't attached to anything. The only thing that's keeping me together is the metal thread they used to wire my sternum back together. That's right- Katie Schellack can now dupe TSA. It gives me great joy knowing that I can rightly cause them deserved consternation to make up for all the times they've forced me to flash them through their body scanners. I'm forgetting again...
Back to my classmates, the jocks can pump their arms on the elliptical or step machine or upper arm bike. I'm pretty sure that underneath the glory of wrinkles and wisdom, they're gloating at me. If I were seventy plus years and could do something a thirty eight year old couldn't do, I'd be gloating, too. And don't confuse the jocks with the elitist jocks. The elitist jocks can do the major moves, like bring their arms over the head and lean from one side to the other to stretch. I'm not trying to hide my jealously or incredulity. Let's take a moment to point out the sad, pathetic irony that, I- a fitness coach, fit mom, marathon runner, tennis player, and multiple race winner, am jealous of old retired people who carry candy in their pockets whose scars you can't even see because 'aging skin hides a multitude of sins'.
I take that back. I can't wait to be old. How else can I get away with speaking my mind, talking off-color and everyone else will just brush me off as being "old and out of touch"? Except for Mrs. Bubbles (I can't use real names due to HIPAA regulations). She's not out of touch at all. It was her birthday two weeks ago and since we're all best friends now, we asked about her plans, "drink champagne" is what she said. Right on, Mrs. Bubbles, I'll toast to that. Mrs. Bubbles is married, but not to Mr. Rubs (again HIPAA) who is also in rehab and who also brought petite-fores for her birthday. I'm pretty sure he was dressed up, too. That day, he wore suspenders with his shorts. Sly dog.