I have been out of the gym for over two years. Even while on dialysis I was a gym rat. I wasn’t very strong but I was fit and all of the effort that I put in paid dividends when it came time for my surgery. Imagine the mindset you have to have to stay diligent when you know (hope) that “the call” is imminent but you don’t know when it will be. Days, weeks, months or years? Knowing that if you let your fitness fade and gain a bunch of weight it could cause you to be passed over? I took that shit seriously. I knew that I had done it right when I walked the hall to the ER prep on September 9th at 8pm when I was greeted by the prep nurse. He looked at me and said, “Most Kidney transplant patients don’t look like they could kick my ass. Good for you.” I appreciated that but it wasn’t a surprise to me, I’ve always tried to look good for my age. I still seek the ultimate male physique and am hard on myself when I gain weight or get soft. My chest and shoulders are a source of pride and I never factor my age or what I’ve been through into it. If I was smart, or at least realistic, I would ask myself what exactly a 56-year-old who has had a near fatal motorcycle accident, 3 staph infections, cancer, 40 years of progressive Kidney disease, Dialysis, and 2 transplants should look like. But I don’t. My body dysmorphia is that I’m unrealistic. But it works for me.
So imagine how disappointed I was when I had to stay out of the gym due to Covid for 2 years. I live in NH where the cases were not as prevalent as in other states. We are fairly well dispersed up here with the exception of a few major population centers. But certain environments I needed to avoid, especially post-transplant. A room full of equipment being touched by sweaty people spewing exercise-induced heavy breaths all around me was not recommended. It pained me but I worked out from the home to mixed results.
Now it seems that the virus is finally fading and I made the decision yesterday to rejoin my gym. I went in yesterday and there was my buddy Alex the owner. His building was empty. I didn’t mention Covid to him, I knew what it had done to his business. He mentioned it to me instead. He is a Russian immigrant and he is a very hard-working man. He believes that the Governments handling of the Pandemic was overplayed and largely political. I didn’t engage him on this, he was venting not discussing. I quietly wished for him a quick recovery for his business and I signed up. I’ll work out today with real weights for the first time in years.
Seeing the empty gym floor and the face of the hard-working man who owns it will serve to illustrate the damage the Pandemic has had on all of us. Businesses destroyed, people unable to pursue their interests and better their own health is the very least of it. We are about to see the damage done to all of us by forced isolation, fear of interaction, and lack of social activity. People are social creatures, we are not wired to be alone. But there is hope, people are getting back out there and trying to get their lives back.
I wish them luck. Heres to the new status quo of getting back to where we were two years ago.