It’s not all bread, wine and roses in Paris.
As I have talked about in recent sermons and shared here on the blog, people often don’t believe that I have early-stage dementia. They don’t see anything wrong. Usually, I like it that way. I don’t want pity or special treatment. However, it is real, and some days are more challenging than others.
Today was a good example of a bad day in my reality. We got up early with the intention of going swimming. I’ve discovered that Paris has a number of very clean, indoor, public swimming pools. They are well-heated, some say overheated.
I decided that swimming in warm water would be very good for one of newest symptoms I am experiencing: the tightening and stiffening of my limbs and extremities. Some days, it turns my walking into a clumsy shuffle. It often keeps me up at night as I am frequently awakened with an uncontrollable twitching and jerking in my body. And when I’m at all stressed or tired, my legs ache so much that I can barely walk. I sometimes have to tell them to move, and they resist.
Off we went looking for the swimming pool. While we were able to purchase our required swim caps, we were not successful in finding the pool.
So we started walking home. We had to walk through the Arc de Triomphe. My legs were already aching after a bad night. When we reached the crowded intersections surrounding this beautiful city monument, I froze. My legs simply wouldn’t move. They were like cement. And there were all these people walking toward me. I felt like I was stuck in a oncoming human wave and I couldn’t navigate the current.
Emily might have sensed it or seen the look in my face (I guess I get a look when I’m distressed). She took hold of my hand and guided me through the several intersections we had to cross. As we walked along, I realized I was crying. It was one of those moments when the truth wasn’t "setting me free,” but rather, was presenting a harsh reality in the here-and-now. All I wanted to do was go swimming and feel the warmth of the water. The pool is now closed for the day. Maybe we’ll find it tomorrow.
Today's misadventures brought to mind this funny poster I saw in the Marais. I’d like to wave my arms and have the crowds part, so that I can pass and get to the swimming pool.
I also have a feeling that once I find the pool, I won’t be able to figure out the rules of swimming in Paris. C'est la vie. - Tracey