As I had the day off, I went swimming immediately after my sonohystogram. It had been nearly a month since I had been at the pool. Following a two week break for the holidays, I came down with a bad cold and then we entered one of the worst cold streaks in recent history. My swim group meets at 6 AM. Before I started swimming, I never considered myself to be a morning person. I once tried going to the gym before work and nearly fell asleep on the treadmill. However, swimming in the morning is so invigorating, especially when you're sharing a lane with 3 or 4 other swimmers as our coach is yelling at us. Every now and then, we'll be near the end of a set, and I'll hear her call "last one!" (which I should know by now really means the penultimate one), and I'll use every last bit of energy for the final lap, thinking I'm just yards away from touching the wall and easing into a cool-down. Then, she'll announce, "Okay, one more time!" There are some days when I'm able to throw down my best time of the day during this bonus final lap. I head to work carrying a feeling of invincibility and I feel ready to take on anything that will be thrown my way.
During my no good, very bad week, I felt that I was presented with a gut check to determine if was actually fine, or whether I had just been telling myself that I was fine. Once I had granted myself permission to accept that maybe I wasn't really fine, I was able to see what changes I needed to make. The first was realising that I needed to take time off from work, the second was getting back in the pool. I was finished with my appointment in time to attend the noon swim class. As soon as I dove into the water I was reminded why I love swimming so much. The water felt amazing and the sensation was enhanced by having sunlight on my back. After taking a few warm-up laps, I broke into a sprint for a few yards. It makes me appreciate the feeling that I'm flying. The other great aspect of swimming is that is allows for partial sensory deprivation. I can't hear much when I'm in the water, which means I'm alone with my own thoughts. Particularly if it is a day of interval training, I can do some of my best thinking in the pool. Although I shouldn't have had work on my mind, since I was out of the office for the day, I flashed to some of the events from the week. Co-worker was on my schedule for her new OB visit, which was her way of revealing the announcement. As our colleagues reacted, I stood next to her and smiled, feeling like an unattached bridesmaid at a wedding who wonders if it will ever be her turn. More importantly, I didn't have the urge to hide in the bathroom and cry, as a week earlier, I had feared that I would. I also had a patient who presented with an unplanned pregnancy and needed options counselling and interestingly, it was after completing her visit that I realised that maybe I am truly feeling normal again. My emotional hangover had finally lifted.
I guess sometimes it's hard to understand what really makes us feel normal. Whether it be getting up early in the morning to swim when it's cold and dark, or realising that professionally I am good at a job that can be difficult for me personally at times. I think it's just more important to embrace whatever it is that brings you closer to fine.