I’m a woodworker. A cabinet maker. Have been for a long time. It’s grueling work. Physically demanding.
After long years of hard labor, I was promoted to management. I don’t have to do as much punishing work as I used to, and it’s a good thing, because all that backbreaking work was literally backbreaking.
Wait. I never literally broke my back, but I sure did do some damage, and I really felt it when I was required to move heavy stuff around, which I still am, from time to time.
When I was out of the office, pitching a potential customer, I noticed Paradise. I walked, across the street, and through the doors. B I N G O!
One look around, and I knew Paradise is what my aching back needed.
I wasn’t going to be a fulltime desk-jockey. To keep my job, I was going to have to be fit enough to step away from the desk, and get physical, and there’s no such thing as, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” when you have to push and shove.
The aquacise class I was taking at Paradise was great for relieving the pain in my back. But when I met Starr, and she showed me some stretches, and exercises, specifically for my back, everything changed. My back not only stopped hurting, it felt strong again.
The stretches released the strain in my muscles from my hips to my ribs. Then Starr hooked me up to the Aqualogix drag equipment, which increased resistance. That’s how you strengthen your back. And that’s how you keep your job.
I no longer fear that my back problems, now minor, will result in me losing my job. I have to be careful, but I can still bull around heavy stuff with the kids, thanks to Paradise.
My job demands a lot of my time, so I don’t always get to spend as much time at Paradise as I’d like. Mostly, I like going in on Saturdays, when it’s not so busy. I workout on my own, but I still take the occasional class to learn new things I can do to improve on what I’ve already achieved.
And the far infrared sauna is a perfect compliment for my exercise regimen. An hour in the pool, followed by a half hour, sometimes more, in the sauna, and I feel like a million bucks.
Sometimes, after a good workout, I just float around on a noodle, weightless and care free. And pain free!
On a lazy Saturday afternoon, Paradise is a much better place than the couch.
Some of the kids at the shop are intrigued by my comeback. I suppose they thought it was over for me, the poor old-timer. But I showed ‘em! And they now know that I’ll be around until I take my retirement.
Those kids think they’re indestructible. Well, so did I. But they will learn, probably the hard way, that a lifetime of physical toil comes at a price. I tell them they should get ahead of the game, by coming to Paradise, but they don’t listen. Something tells me that I’ll see them at Paradise, sooner or later.
There is an enduring debate over whether or not you should trust your mechanic. The basic argument, of course, is that while your mechanic may be competent enough to fix your car, he may also be unscrupulous enough to make sure you have to keep coming back, by fixing one thing, but breaking another.
I was plagued by a not dissimilar problem a couple years ago, but it was not about something as trifling as my car, it was about my spine.
I’d had a spinal fusion in 2011. When I started to get pains again, I went to a physiotherapist, who asked about my exercise habits. I told her I was working out at the public pool. Wrong, she said, go to Paradise and see Starr.
Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that the staff at the public pool were trying to harm me, in order to keep me coming back and refilling their coffers. Perish the thought. Fine people, all of them.
No, mine is not a story about unscrupulous individuals. It is, rather, a story about some purported professionals being less competent than others. The nice folk at the public pool simply lack the expertise of Starr and her staff at Paraidise. My physiotherapist understood this, and so did I just a few weeks after taking out a membership.
It was the difference between night and day. The staff at the public pool were well intentioned, but what do they say the road to Hell is paved with? Hell is the opposite of Paradise, right?
Spinal fusion surgery is a last resort for those of us who suffer debilitating back pain. If you have never experienced painful problems with your back, thank your lucky stars, because it is a truly horrendous plight to have to suffer through.
As I say, the surgery is the last resort. So, if you are starting to experience back pain, if you are not yet enduring protracted and substantial discomfort, you should start taking counter measures pronto.
By all means, consult your doctor, but I am confident he or she will tell you to start a regimen of physiotherapy that includes water based exercise.
If you want to save a couple bucks by trying the public pool, go right ahead. But remember, you get what you pay for.
At Paradise, what you’re paying for is relief from pain. What you’re paying for is better health. What you’re paying for is expert care and maintenance.
Starr knows what works for whatever problems you are having. And she knows what doesn’t work for those problems, too. I have been working out in the pool, thinking I was doing something right, only to have Starr come over and say, “Do this Loraine.”
If I miss a few consecutive sessions at Paradise, I can feel it. And every time I start to feel it, I know that my options are clear – get back in the pool, or go back to the operating room. It’s a simple decision to make, and I advise you to think about what your next move is.
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease two years ago. In reality, Parkinson’s had started creeping in at least three years before that. As a violin teacher, I’d noticed that my bow handling was getting more and more robotic, but I ignored it.
Do not ignore the little signs. Talk to your doctor about even the smallest things if they are persistent.
When my massage therapist noticed that my arms didn’t swing when I walked, I had to stop living in denial and face reality. Unfortunately, my current reality is that I am stiff as a board, and my body shakes when I try to do anything. Unless I am submerged in water, that is.
Gravity is a damnable thing to Parkinson’s victims. Being in water is close to Nirvana for us. Paradise, Nirvana, same thing, right?
I wish my house was underwater. I wish I was a mermaid. I wish I didn’t have Parkinson’s Disease. None of those wishes are going t come true anytime soon, if ever, so I am grateful to Starr and her team at Paradise for making life more bearable.
If you don’t know anything about Parkinson’s Disease let me tell you this. It’s caused by the gradual loss of dopamine producing cells in the brain. Dopamine? It regulates movement. And emotion.
So, as your brain stops making dopamine, you get stiffer. And you get tremors. You can become depressed and anxious. The side effects of the drugs they prescribed
were awful. I had no desire to live in a haze, so I went to Paradise.
If you want to understand how absurdly difficult life can be for someone afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease, consider this: I feel stiffness and tightnessunder my hair. It’s like wearing a hat that is two sizes too small. Crazy, huh?
But that all changes when I jump in the pool at Paradise. As soon as I hit the water I go from feeling like the Tin Man after the monsoon season, to feeling like Jane Freaking Fonda, some sort of ninja ballerina.
I can move to the music in my head when I go through my routine that Starr designed for me personally. There is NO WAY I could go through one of Starr’s workout sessions out of the pool. I would look and feel like a zombie trying to do yoga.
I feel so good after my sessions in the Paradise pool. My muscles are softer, my range of motion is better. Any pain I wake up with disappears. Even when I have my bad days I really want to come to Paradise.
Riding a bike is when I feel most “normal”. Biking in the water is an awesome experience. It’s fun, and if it’s fun you will do it! Even life on land is better on the days I can’t make it to Paradise.
Next I’m going to try the infrared sauna. I am told that infrared heat helps PD symptoms go away.
Short of a cure for Parkinson’s, Paradise is the best thing I can wish for, and I don’t need a genie to grant that wish.
I’d put some weight on after my first hip replacement surgery. Talk about rubbing salt into a fresh wound, huh?
Hip replacement surgery, while becoming more and more common, is not a little thing. It’s a last resort, when all else has failed to alleviate debilitating pain. I am talking about excruciating pain from walking. Just from walking. Not from running a marathon, or climbing a mountain. Just from walking.
Walking is a simple pleasure. I took it for granted, until I could barely do it anymore. So, I was looking forward to walking again, after my surgery. Then I put on weight while recovering, which made it hard to walk. Clearly, I needed a Plan B. “Come with me to paradise,” a friend said. That became Plan B. It should have been Plan A.
My friend had been taking water cardio classes at Paradise three times a week, when she urged me to join her. She’d lost weight. I’ve always loved being around water, so I was not hesitant to join her when she pointed out the obvious to me. You are buoyant in the water, so exercising is not tantamount to taking a literal physical pounding. In fact, exercising in water is so easy on your joints that it doesn’t hurt. You hardly know you are working out, until the results become obvious. I had just never thought of exercising in water until she brought it up.
I lost 20 pounds pretty quickly. All the weight I’d put on after surgery melted off in the Paradise pool. I wonder how much body fat has melted off in that pool? A lot!
Did I mention that working out at Paradise is actually fun? It is! So much fun that it’s addictive. It’s a good thing that it’s addictive, because I had to have a second hip replacement surgery.
Shotgun, both barrels. Bang, Bang! But I’m not dead! “Missed me, missed me, Mr. Reaper, you ain’t gonna kiss me!”
Recovering from the second surgery was much easier than the first, and I credit Starr and the rest of the Paradise staff for that. If not for them, I’d have been in poor physical condition going into the operating room.
But three-a-week sessions following my first hip replacement made it possible for me to skip a lot of pain and suffering after my second. And for that, I am eternally grateful, to Starr and the Paradise people, and my friend who introduced me to Paradise.
I’ve been going to Paradise for a year and a half. The term ROI springs to mind when I think about Paradise. ROI stands for Return On Investment.
I’m no Warren Buffet. I don’t have much money invest. But I have time to invest. Time to invest in myself. And after my first hip replacement, I realized it was time to invest in myself. In my health.
What have I gotten in return for my investment? Better health, obviously. Physical and mental. Just ask my husband.
Three times a week. Are you seriously going to tell me you can’t afford that? Are you going to tell me that your time is so precious that you can’t afford to invest some of it in your health? Seriously?
Hello Carson City! I’ve been reading these stories for months now and I find them very interesting. As I am part of the Paradise community I find the tales give me a sense of pride.
When I read the stories as a person going into life’s 3rd act they give me hope. I am so happy for the people featured in them because they have overcome so much.
But as fascinating as the stories are, I noticed there was something missing from them. My story is totally different from all the stories so far, so I told Starr and Perry that I wanted to tell my story. What’s different about me is that there was nothing seriously wrong with me when I came to Paradise. I was merely suffering from sitting disease and since I retired, a case of house gravity.
I swear, Hollywood could make fifty films based on the lives of the struggles of the people in the Paradise community.
So far as I know, there are no Supermen working out at the facility. There may be a spy, or two, but if there are they are really good, ‘cause they’ve got me fooled! So I am not talking about those kinds of movies.
I’m talking about films about every day people overcoming every day, but terrible physical problems. Real heroes overcoming real problems. My problem is a fear of drowning, not water, just drowning.
But here is my message to you – don’t let your health get so bad that someone could turn your life into a heart breaking, disaster film. That’s no way to treat your family.
I don’t have any major physical problems. I am fairly fit for a man my age. And I plan to stay that way. That’s why I came to Paradise in the first place.
I wasn’t exactly ready for the Senior Olympics, mind you. I had my aches and pains. And things that were so simple when I was young, and/or younger, had become challenges. Things like climbing stairs two at a time or squatting down to pick up a quarter off the floor. Before I started coming to Paradise, I was starting to wonder when Washington was going to abolish stairs in favor of escalators!
Now? I don’t mind taking the stairs, and I’m comfortable getting in the water to exercise.
I guess what I’m saying is… wake up, people! We’re all getting older, and there is no Fountain of Youth. Actually, there is. It’s here at Paradise.
Taking an hour long pool exercise class three times a week is not going to make you look like Johnny Depp or Madonna. But… hey, wait a minute. They’re both pushing sixty, so maybe you can look that good… if you’re 45! For sure, you’ll feel stronger and more energetic.
It’s pretty simple stuff, friends. A healthy life is a better life. No matter what other problems you may have in this strange experience we call life, being healthy makes them easier. Ask anyone here, they’ll tell you so. But you already know this, right? Do you really need to suffer a major health setback to get your act together enough to do what you already know you need to do?