Things That Occurred To Me While Swimming at a Children’s Rehab Hospital

by dpreyde

1. Family change rooms are really nice. They have private stalls and rules against nudity. Nudity is, I believe, the biggest problem in change rooms today. I simply don’t need to see anyone’s tuckus, and I don’t want anyone to see mine.

2. Swimming pools with ramps leading into them are awesome. Way better than mechanical lifts, I think. It’s a simpler, more elegant solution.

3. Figuring out how to transfer someone from a wheelchair into another wheelchair in a medium-sized stall is challenging. Fortunately, Hannah and I are ace problem solvers.

4. When constructing a wheelchair which is designed to go into the pool, ask yourself these questions: Is this wheelchair way too close to the ground? Can this wheelchair turn corners? Can this wheelchair go in any direction other than frontward and backward?

5. I’m actually quite capable of being an escort. Yes, that is my official designation when assisting Hannah in the wider world.

6. Being in a swimming pool makes my body feel weird. It changes the speed at which I can move, it’s really warm (this pool was warmer than most at 33 degrees) and everything under the surface of the water looks whack.

7. “I’m more able-bodied than you are when we’re in the water,” said Hannah. And she was totally right. She’s an adept swimmer and- due to her disability- is naturally buoyant.

8. Really the biggest problem that people in wheelchairs have is gravity. Water appears to have less gravity, and so Hannah is quite agile in that environment. It made me wonder if, by the end of this century, we might see disability-friendly houses or workplaces which are low-gravity.

9. Maybe Hannah and I should move to Mars.

10. I’m used to seeing Hannah as having a disability, and in the water, that aspect of her basically disappeared. It was strange, to say the least.

11. We finally got to dance together.

12. I also carried her back and forth across the pool a couple of times, which I wouldn’t be able to do with anyone outside of the water.

13. There’s something about pools which is profoundly relaxing. The world becomes soft-focused and slower-moving. This, combined with the reversal of mine and Hannah’s physical abilities, made the situation feel somewhat like a dream.

14. The last thing you want to hear is “There has been a fouling, please clear the pool.”

15. Hannah was the last person out of the pool, because she had to wait for me to leave the pool to get a functional poolchair and then steer it into the pool. She bore it well. She bears everything well. I have no idea how.

16. There should probably be more wheelchair accessible public pools in this city, so we don’t have to hang out at a children’s rehab hospital like a couple of sketchy weirdos.

17. It would also be nice if there was more than one public pool session a week. I think both Hannah and I could stand to defy gravity a little more often.