Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Guinea Kiwi in Potsdamer Platz

It’s three years now since my fall from health. My friend Judy had a stroke at about the same time, and she’s worked like mad to get her mobility back. Quite successfully. I’ve done nothing, except take regular acupuncture and massage. I, who used to be ‘Mr Walky-Walky’ in the Pacific Islands – 20 or 30km at a time – now go along, when on unfamiliar ground – with a stick.

I look fair enough for 68. But my right arm and hand are pretty useless (and covered in blood scars), and my right leg is not to be trusted. My speech sometimes slurs too. So for three years I’ve largely sat inside, writing my magnum opus, and going physically to pot.

All this to say, I’ve finally and tentatively done something about it. Paulie says it was my idea, insidiously planted by him. So. Yesterday I went to a ‘Wellness’ institution: the local branch of the Holmes Place Health Club and Spa near Potsdamer Platz. On Paulie’s arm, and with my stick! I don’t think ‘Wellness’ places do damaged folk (except for sports injuries) and elderly folk: the clientele seemed to be mostly strappingly fit young blokes, and I got one or two sideways glances. But they are going to give me a go. A sort of guinea pig. Or guinea Kiwi.

I had a chat with Nik, the personal trainer, and explained what I’d been, what I’d lost … and what I’d like to try to regain. Specifically, the ability to handwrite, strength in right arm and leg, balance … it’s a rehab job. So we’ve got a date for next Wednesday, when I ‘audition’ for him, and then (presuming I’m not irreparable) start the course.

While Paulie had his session – chucking 12 kilo weights around – I went downstairs and met Lily Shi. Lily is one of those slight young ladies who can pack a real punch: she gave me 45 minutes of super-strong massage, and found sore bits I didn’t even know I had! No wonder they call her the ‘treasure hunter’. We didn’t get through all my twisted bits, so I’m back … on Monday. I’m glad I got a season S-Bahn ticket!

On from the massage to be initiated into the mysteries of the sauna. Phew. I must have sweated out a gallon of red wine in five minutes! Shower down in a cubicle which sings bird-songs to you while it rains. More sauna. More bird song. Then relax in a comfy chair with delicious fennel tea. Why didn’t I find this sort of thing years ago?  Work? You mean I’ve got to WORK next time I come?

Can’t wait. Watch this space! And keep your fingers crossed …

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