Remember those dorky one-piece bathing suits women used to wear in the 1950s and 1960s that sported a “modesty panel” across the bottom half? Maybe your grandma had one—or even, God forbid, your mother. The ones that we hip kids silently laughed at in naïve bewilderment as we pulled on our bikinis and tank suits. Back then they seemed to be the ugliest most unflattering thing a female could put on her body to go swimming. That extra flap of material made a woman look like a kangaroo with a pouch for babies. Never would I be caught dead in one of those marsupial costumes.
Well, for the past two weeks, I have been wearing one. Okay, lots has happened between those days and the present: the passing of no less than four decades, disease, weight gain, disability, you get the picture. I stopped wearing bathing suits, stopped swimming and sunbathing circa 1988. Never imagined I would take a dip ever again.
So, back to the modesty paneled suit. I borrowed it from mom, who occasionally goes to estate sales and buys up the high-end clothing of dead rich women, the last load of which included some very nice one-piece bathing suits. The suit is colorful and slimming, albeit a size too small for my newly-fatted ex-smoker’s body. But it’ll do. And here’s the kicker: I’m actually grateful for the modesty panel. Something bizarre has happened to my figure in my 53rd year: a sagging, poochy pubic area. Geometrically speaking, the Pubic Bermuda Triangle. It sticks out between my upper thighs to such an alarming degree that I considered wearing a jock strap. Now, gender confusion was not an issue I had anticipated at this stage of life.
Thank goodness for the modesty panel. What looked kangaroo-like to me at twelve now seems miraculously to restore my femininity. And though I only parade around the therapy pool in front of postmenopausal women who are, for the most part, in worse shape than I am, I still feel self-conscious and ungainly—until I lower myself into the warm water and start my leg raises and lunges.
The wonderful thing about aquatherapy is that I can do exercises in the water that I cannot do on dry land. I feel light and my legs lose their heaviness. I highly recommend aquatherapy!
Soon I will be test-driving the WalkAide, a Functional Electro Stimulation (FES) leg orthotic for correcting footdrop. Check back for updates on my new neurologist appointment this Thursday and more news on my PT and FES trial. Lots of new stuff happening! Woo-hoo!