Tuesday, August 7, 2012


You would think I would be a mature adult at this point in my life.  Something about IVF, twins, and autism times 3 should have molded me into a competent, functional adult yet after my behavior yesterday at the community recreation center, I have my doubts.  Here is the scene:  I have just finished doing my exercises in the pool, involving swimming laps and walking backward through the lazy river, when I proceed to swim behind the seniors water aerobics class on the way to the stairs.  For those who know me, I think most would agree that I am typically a polite and courteous person (especially with strangers since I am a Texan after all).  I was swimming slowly and as far away from the class as possible (the class is not roped off and there were people around it) because I didn't want to disrupt the class.  However, the older adult female teaching the class caught my attention and, with the tone of a teacher, pointed at the sign indicating a class was in progress.

I stopped and said, "Yes, I can read.  I was just getting out of the pool."  With a tone dripping with disapproval, she explained that I could simply walk.  Now I should have just continued on and let her tone and attitude roll off my back along with the chlorinated water but the child in me couldn't resist responding in a way that my previous 13-year-old self would have applauded.  I waved my fingers in the air and stated in a sappy, annoying tone, "Well, PARDON ME!"  I then proceeded to the stairs and then to the hot tub.

Steaming figuratively and literally in the spa, I was trying to convince myself that my response, although relatively mild considering what filth can exit my lips, was justified and that I was being treated as a child by an older crowd of women.  I also was puzzled by my emotional reaction to it because it simply hurt my feelings.  I hate to be reprimanded for something that benign and when my intent was good.  Then it struck me that part of my reaction had to do with the fact that I felt like they saw me as this young thing who is being careless and who may not have the troubles that they do (as was evident by the multiple canes propped by the stairs for their use).  The irony was that I'm not that different from them than they realize and how dare they assume anything about me!  I was ready for a show down with older ladies, and I realized that I needed to chill out.

What influenced my mood yesterday was the fact that earlier that morning I received confirmation that I have a rare, connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS).  Simply put, my collagen is malformed resulting in hypermobility of my joints and early onset, degenerative arthritis.  I was swimming because, at this point, it is the safest way for me to exercise without injuring myself.  As a result of EDS, my joints will wear out sooner than most and I am more prone to injuries such as dislocating my knee cap, spraining and straining muscles, ligaments, etc.  Technically, I would probably benefit from the seniors water aerobics more than they realized.

I also realized that it is highly likely that at least one of my children has inherited this syndrome.  As I struggle to find my way to live injury free while staying healthy, I can't help but ponder how I will help my affected children with yet another diagnosis which will prove challenging to them as well.

So, I was childish and immature in my response.  I also overreacted and took it too personally but I simply was having a bad day and, "pardon me!" wasn't in the mood for anyone's assumptions.  I'm thinking I'll crash their next class and see what happens.  Will they accept me despite my age, or look down their noses at my seemingly young, healthy self?  Stay tuned for another segment of my battle with the waterlogged gals of Murray.

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