Reopening of therapy pools is welcomed after several weeks

Reopening of therapy pools is welcomed after several weeks

Reopening of therapy pools is welcomed after several weeks

On March 15 Wasie Pool at Courage Kenny Institute/ Abbott Northwestern Hospital was closed as a precaution during the pandemic. It reopened June 11. State health officials had to allow for the pool and other therapy pools to reopen. 

In the interim, I called the governor’s office biweekly and also made several calls to the Minnesota Department of Health. The governor was talking about opening elective surgeries (I have had four) but not a word about therapy pools which are far less invasive and which can help disabled people like myself function with far less pain and be able to do more for ourselves. 

As I stated at the end of each call, it is very bad public policy to cause excessive muscle spasm pain and force people with disabilities to use opioids such as oxycodone. 

I have gone walking with my husband almost every day. The pool is superior because I have spastic hands and gripping walker handles causes pain. The act of kicking water relaxes the leg muscles. We live in an area with many uneven sidewalks. You automatically tense your foot when you see these elevated pieces of sidewalk. 

Interpersonal relationships are always more difficult when a partner has a disability. It requires discussion and compromise. I always volunteer to do jobs I can do and ask John to help out with other things. It is very important not to descend into helplessness and become excessively dependent. Partners can begin to think that you are a burden. 

I have my muscle spasms in the middle of the night, so I have to do things like put on topical medications, getting medication and do extra kicking to relieve spasms without waking John. 

There was no reason why the pool had to be closed for such a long time. Space is not an issue as we could practice social distancing in the changing areas. There is a walkway all around the pool so we could avoid close contact. The chemicals in the pool, mainly chlorine, should kill coronavirus. We could wear masks while swimming. 

The author lives with disabilities and is a disability rights activist.