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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

From Hag to Fitness

This is the story of Rosie Evans (made-up name), a difficult client I had the honor and privilege to know.  Rosie was at least seventy, or maybe she just looked it.  She was a peach!  Actually she wasn't in the beginning.  She was a major pain in the butt when I first met her about twelve years ago.  It all started with my "The Six Week Fat to Muscle Makeover", a group training program I started at the club where I worked.  All five feet and two hundred pounds waddled into the group ex room, late, and she greeted me with this question, "Why should I have to pay for this class?  I pay my dues every month!"  She was clad in circa 1985 sweats that had at one time been mauve.  I think!  I told her that the program was extra and a good value as she would receive personal training at a fraction of the cost of private training.

She was incorrigible.   I had wished I'd never accepted her into this group.  She, of course, took up most of my and every one's time with redundant questions and passive-aggressive comments about the "Barbie-doll mentality" of the younger and more fit participants.  I would try not to focus on her as much, but with her hand waving me to come to her, shouting, "Oh, Debra, I neeeeeed you!", I was trapped.

By the end of the program, which had turned into eight weeks, she had lost fifteen pounds.  But she had really lost twenty pounds of fat and gained five of muscle!  As her fitness improved, so did her attitude.  She bought some updated fitness clothing and had her hair cut into a really cute short do; she even died her mouse gray hair a rich mahogany.  She took pride in her accomplishments and began to smile at others unsolicited!  She even started to like me!

The club manager was a client of mine.  I'll call her Kate.  One day, during one of our training sessions, she asked me how things were going with Rosie.  I told Kate about the great changes she had made and is now working with me one-on-one twice weekly.   "A far cry from when I first met her.  She complained all the time about how much money she had to fork over for membership dues and 'now this program!'.  She used to be the biggest  whiner!  She was very sour, I could never get her to smile.  She is smiling a whole bunch, now!"  And, I have come to really like her!

Then Kate dropped a bombshell on me.  "I am so glad!  Do you know that Rosie is the sole caregiver to her husband, Bob.  He is in advanced stages of MS and is bound to a wheelchair.  She used to be exhausted all the time, it's no wonder she was so bitchy!"  I had no idea.  She had never uttered a word about it.

The next time Rosie and I got together, I asked her about her husband.  She was smiling with a girl-like youth and looked off to a memory only she knew.  "Bob is the kindest and most adorable husband a gal could ask for!"  She paused for a couple of beats then proceeded, "I would love for you to meet him."

She brought Bob to the club the following week.  I had had a really rough day dealing with my ex-husband, my little boy's schedule and severe cramps.  And, I was late.  I had forgotten all about her bringing Bob to meet me.  When I zoomed into the club, she greeted me from behind a wheelchair.  In it was this tiny, little wizened man with rosy cheeks and extended hand.  "So you're the angel who takes such good care of my precious wife.  I am honored to meet you."  I shook his little claw of a hand and thanked him for such a compliment.  Then I apologized for being late.

"Forget it, Deb," said Rosie, "it must be so hard on you being a single mom and all.  I know what it takes to raise those darling little boys of yours!  It's hard work, honey."  We said our good-byes to Bob and headed to the fitness floor.

"He's a cutie," I said as we walked.  "Kate gave me the scoop on Bob, it must be so difficult for you."

"It was hard, but then I became strong.  Not just my body, but my mind.  You have no idea how grateful I am that you put up with my sorry ass for those two months!  My life is so much better and Bob has his loving wife back!"  She stopped and sat on the leg press machine, loaded her weights and put her feet on the foot pad.  Then she looked up at me with a mischievous smile and a twinkle in her doe-brown eyes and whispered, "Bob loves my new body!  He's been doing injections sometimes three times a week!"  I started to ask what she was talking about, but the wink told me all I needed to know.

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