Monday, February 15, 2010

A strict no baked goods policy

I went to the Y today for a yoga class I really love. I try to get to class on time, but today, I was 10 minutes behind all day. When I finally forced my toddler, a girl who prefers to wear either only a diaper or a princess dress-up, to put on decent clothing and shoes (although even there we compromised---she went wearing her swimsuit, pajama bottoms, and a jacket) and got everybody corralled into the day care, I was 15 minutes late. Walking in 5 minutes late, I can do. And I have even walked into a Pilates class close to 15 minutes late. I apologized to the teacher afterwards, and felt sheepish, but got over my sheepishness when somebody let out a delicate toot whilst we were doing rolling exercises.

Hey, I may make some noise when I walk in late, but not THAT kind of noise.

And the fact that I had to surpress a giggle when this fair lady tooted while her bum was in the air clearly means I've been spending too much time cooped up with small children. Yes, I know, I need to get out more.

But walking in late to this yoga class is altogether different. The lights are off. There is quiet music. And even though people are sweating and grunting because they are forcing their bodies to contort in ways that look tortuous but feel great once they've been mastered, it's not an environment that is easily interrupted.

Plus, when you open the door, you let in more light, and everybody squints at you from their downward dog position. That can't be good. For anyone.

So I skipped it, and headed to the gym instead. The only problem was that I was dressed for yoga, not the treadmill. I was wearing clothes that I picked specifically to keep me warm in the freezing group exercise room, and I quickly discovered after 30 seconds on the elliptical machine in a room well heated by running, stinky, sweaty bodies that I was in trouble.

So I stripped.

Well, not completely. I peeled off my shirt, revealing my jog bra underneath, and dropped the shirt on the ground. I took a peek at the other exercise freaks around me, to see if anybody else had done the same. Nobody had. I briefly wondered if it was allowed, or if it was just that not everybody is as totally comfortable with a muffin top as I am. After all, I am perfectly willing to contribute my softish middle to the remarkable size of my kidneys. Sometimes being diseased does has its advantages.

Turns out, it's not allowed. I had the following conversation with a perky Y employee who saddled up to the elliptical machine next to me.

Girl:"Hi! How are you tonight?"

Me, wondering who the heck starts up a conversation with a sweaty stranger, "Um, (puff, puff) fine."

Girl: "So, are you new to the Y?"

Me: "No. (puff, puff)"

Girl. "Oh. Well it's just that I don't think I've ever seen you here before."

Me, thinking Really lady, there are a billion people in this room. Do you really think I'm ready to believe that you recognize them all? "I usually come to the gym in the mornings (puff, puff)."

Girl: "Oh, great. Well, welcome to the Y! We're so glad to have you here."

Me, thinking, I've been a member for six months, somehow I don't think you're only here to welcome me. "Did you come here to tell me to put my shirt back on?"

Girl: "Yes. Please. Sorry."

Me, getting off the machine, putting on my shirt, getting back on, "No problem. I just got really hot. It's just really crowded and hot in here."

Girl: "Yeah, I know, sorry. But we have a no-midriff policy. Thanks for understanding."

Me: "Yeah, no, it's cool. I kinda wondered, since I didn't see anybody else like this. But I've never taken my shirt off before, so I didn't know about the policy."

And then it struck me how truly truly odd this conversation was. Or maybe it was just me. Just me, being odd.

Y girl bid me a cheery goodbye, and I sweated like nobody's pig through the rest of my workout, then headed to the pool. As I swam, I thought through the odd conversation, thinking that although she was cordial and professional, what that employee was REALLY saying was, "Nobody wants to see your muffin top. And look around--you don't want to see anybody else's either."

And that made me giggle almost as much as the pilates toot.

Nobody ever told me working out at a gym could be this fun. I should have signed up years ago.


Tracy M said...

I love the Y. I love that people are so nice, and I love that most of the folks there are regular looking people who are there to actually work out, unlike another gym I once belonged to where all the women worked out in full make-up. Somehow I don't think they were really there for that kind of sweat.

I would have wanted to laugh at the toot too. Blame my sons.

RobMonroe said...

That's funny!

Heather O. said...

Tracy, I really love the Y too, for that reason as well. I love that there are young people and old people and everybody of different sizes all working out together. I also love that it's such a family friendly environment, which I suppose is why they have the no mid-riff policy. I guess it's hard to stay family friendly when people are wandering around showing lots of flesh. They also have a policy about wearing swim suits in the lobby, which I definitely approve of, but it makes it tricky when I swim laps, and then go get the kids to bring them back to the pool to play. I've managed by pulling a sweatshirt on over my wet swim top, and wrapping a long towel around my waist, and then going to fetch the kids. Nobody has stopped me yet, so I guess the long towel covers enough.

Di Hickman said...

Wow never heard of a no midrif policy, sorry but when I workout I sweat! Having a wet sweaty tee slapping around you is NOT a healthy thing. But then I don't workout at the Y thankfully!

Andrea said...


I've read your entire blog since being diagnosed with PKD last month. Some days I don't see how I can do anything but despair about it, but reading about you and your family gives me some hope. Your posts are so funny and normal...with PKD I worry I've lost a chance at "normal." Anyway, please keep blogging!

Heather O. said...

Andrea, I am so glad you're here. I know exactly how you feel! I like the term "new normal" that a therapist friend told me about. It's not that life is bad--it's just that it takes some time to adjust to a new normal. I wish she would have told me that 4 years ago, when I first got diagnosed. Yeah, those first posts here weren't exactly cheery. It takes time to adjust to something as big as a diagnosis of PKD. So you keep plugging along, making it work, and one day you look up and think, "Hey, I'm still here, and I'm still me." And that's a good day.

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

LL said...

Heather, I found your blog and have followed it since my mom was diagnosed with PKD as her kidneys were failing about three years ago. She just had her transplant yesterday from a living donor! My brother and I didn't match, others didn't qualify for various reasons, but a coworker of mine who doesn't even know my mom volunteered to be tested and when she matched, immediately agreed to donate. God truly is good! Her bad kidneys weighed 15 lbs and hopefully recovery continues to go well. Just wanted to say hi and pass on the great news.

Megan said...

Heather, my name is Megan Stengel and I have recently launched a specialty clothing company for dialysis and other infusion patients. My mom was diagnosed with renal kidney failure about 2 years ago and goes through dialysis which is why I started it. I was wondering if you ever have problems with clothing during your treatments or if you could just tell me some more about your experience with it. My email is, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!!