How long, I wondered, did people want to spend in one building? Not that long. So I trimmed the book into a sort of "book cocaine" (278 pages) so that people could read it in one sitting. Then hopefully go into the bathroom, look at their face in the mirror and smash their head forward, shattering the glass: a possessive reading experience (leaving claw marks around their eyes is good, too-- whichever!)Changing topics somewhat (but still about me, me me!), Yesterday Linda and I went for the first time to integrated swimming, which is a time set apart for people with disabilities. From my questions and the stares from the staff, I seemed to be the first person in a wheelchair that had ever shown up (in my brand new wheelchair loaner, which I call “Tank-lite”). As in all things in my life, there was the practical side, and the erotic side. The erotic side was all that time before we went to go swimming when we shaved body hair like mad, with special attention given to each other’s bikini lines. Then came the post shave lesbian bikini line pubic hair check on each other under the scented candles. Tenderness and tweezers were key and and it was pretty much identical (but with less people watching) to this one minute extract from the anime High School Girls (I’m the one with glasses who does the moaning).
Of course, the first practical side is that if you spend a long time using up your energy on getting ready to look femme fatal before going swimming, and you have a heart condition, you may be pretty exhausted by the time you actually GO swimming. But I guess lying like a beached dolphin gave people more time to admire my amazingly smooth body (damn, I've just been notified by email that my feminist creds are suspended...again!). Too bad I was too tired to try and come up with some excuse to do the splits (Hey, I do all that work down there, someone better appreciate it)
The good news is that I sink like a stone. Buns of steel – I got em, let me tell you; with all this nausea and superfast heartrates means I have less fat than before. Even with two floatation devices while doing laps, I was challenged to say above the water line (which most people who like breathing say is important). The second thing I learned was that I can experience syncope in the water too (syncope is fainting or losing body control). It was pretty much the classic hypotension stuff; I swim two laps, I stop to rest, wait 30-60 seconds and “gee, why did it get dark?”
I had assumed that the Life Guards at a swim for people with disabilities would be a little more aware. Like when a swimmer who has TOLD them she has a heart condition which causes her to pass out (and told them her oxygen location) is floating face down on float board in the water.....maybe, maybe, you should ask her partner who is trying to hold her head out of the water if she needs some help. Just a tip. The irony was that the other half of the pool was full of staff training OTHER lifeguards how to help someone out of the water and into the recovery position.
Anyway, while the staff are okay to have me back anytime, Linda’s Law says that Beth is forbidden from swimming during the week until she finds a (female) swimming buddy. She is persecuting me just because I have a fabulous body that sinks FASTER than a rock, and also I lack the good sense to call for help before floating to the bottom. Honestly, I’m just really polite and don’t want to be a bother, is that so bad?
In the changing room afterward, I was overcome by a 'sexual attraction anxiety attack' that had been building all week and was somehow set off by the women streaming past in bikini’s (or less). So, in front of the mirrors, I was trying to get the top tighter, the cleavage displayed lower, the hair bigger – basically I was going for a “wheelchair slut” look which tried to say, “Come on you (insert gender and legal age or above here), can’t you see I’m hot and have a full canister of oxygen....I don’t care if you look at my breasts. I WANT you to look at my breasts, just stop looking at my damn wheels.” It did not work on any level I could detect. What our cabby on the ride home did want from me, him being a Santa Anita racehorse betting junkie was that I give him some idea of who was going to win in the 6th (seriously!). Besides his erratic driving habits of writing and pulling out folders with racing percentages on them while the car was in motion, he also said things like, “See, that’s what makes me different from other gamblers, I really limit myself to only $5000.” So, wasn’t looking at my boosted boobs or skimpy top but did tell me that racing horse, Angel Cup’s trainer had a 13% winning percentage on maiden horse races, “which is not so bad, right?”
The day ended by being smitten by God. By the time I went to bed, I was having uncontrollable spasms under both shoulders as well as extreme fatigue. Maybe those last four laps doing the butterfly were too much? Three hours after going to bed, Linda woke me from a nightmare which continued after I have regained some consciousness (meaning I see both Linda but also the nightmare replaying), and we find out....I can’t move. I can raise my head a few inches, and have a little strength in the elbow of one arm down, but that is it. I’ve been exhausted before, but to not be able to move? Linda has to haul me back into bed, then lift me up, so I could drink and then she puts me on oxygen until I could feel tingles in my legs and move my toes again. But even then, it would be about an hour until I had enough strength/movement to roll over. Scary to have to lie there, thinking about complete and total dependence on someone else, even to have a drink. I am sure I had deep and profound thoughts about the nature of mortality instead of “damn, my nose itches” and “damn, Linda’s already fallen back to sleep.”
Luckily by morning, I was a weak and shaky but a fairly mobile version of myself, so I put the rethinking of the argument on the power wheelchair back in the “that’s not me” box. And everything else about that experience went in the huge box I keep in the mental basement called, “total denial” (It is big, black, metal and makes weird groaning and moaning noises....too much jammed in there I think). On the plus side, all that exhaustion has made me even slimmer, so I am bikini line smooth, with a taut, toned and Barbie-like body (in that, she is unable to move without assistance). I’m going to figure out how to make that work for me.