Physiotherapy advise number 167 after randomly turning your knee ligaments into cauliflower was supposed to be swimming. “very good”, “a must do” as I was told by both the surgeon and the physical therapist. So, dutifully, I tried swimming a couple of weeks (well, actually a lot more than that now) ago. I just made it sound like I’d do this only for the sole purpose of obeying to my therapists, like a dutiful patient when I was actually experiencing severe withdrawals symptoms from “not having been in a lake for 3 months”. I have weird addictions.
So I tried for the first time at the end of April. It was about 5 degrees (Celsius – not that crazy) in Berlin, raining, with the added bonus of two or two hail storms a day, so perfect weather to go for a swim (did I mention I swim in the lake all year round? Did you have some remaining hope for my sanity? never mind, I go swimming in the Geneva lake all year round, on my own free will, now judge me if you will – as long as you don’t confine me to a mental institution that doesn’t have its own lake).
So I headed for one of said lakes – Weissensee to be exact, in North-East Berlin, one cold morning, which happens to be a lovely pound/miniature lake in the middle of a park in the middle of the city, occupied only by a couple of motivated joggers with waterproof fluorescent clothing and a Kindergarten outing of about a dozen four years old feeding some brooding swans. Said 4 years old immediately stopped feeding the swans when I entered the water, very confidently, in my bathing suit, and looked at me like an alien invasion in the middle of the lake, which usually only strengthens my resolve and so I quickly plunged into the water and…froze at the first attempt of a breast stroke.
It turned out it’s about the most painful thing to try on a ligamentless-knee.
As it is, I was then stuck in a frankly “refreshing” water, with an almost breath-depriving pain in my leg, and suddenly couldn’t remember how to swim any other way than a breast stroke, all of this under the eyes of stunned 4 years old, slightly mocking swans and even a few sneering seagulls (but they might have been sneering about whatever they usually laugh about, let’s be honest).
After the initial shock – though freeze might be more appropriated to the occasion – I suddenly rediscovered how to swim like an overly enthusiastic dog, splashing around and regained the shore, the 4-years-olds now in a state of disarray they probably had never experienced before. I am now definitely the cause of a few early-childhood traumas in the Weissensee district.
Since then, I’ve tried again, in almost empty swimming pools and in (warmer) lakes around Berlin. The knee no longer lets all hell loose when I attempt a breast stroke, I therefore have abandoned my newly found canine swimming style but swim for a very careful and concentrated decomposed breast stroke. No one cares and least of all me: I can swim again!