When I was 17 years old, I was living in Denver, CO and going to Lakewood HighSchool. I had a job at Dairy Queen but needed to make more money to pay for groceries, pay for gas money and other general needs.
My father suggested I try the nursing home down the street, so I did.
It was 1988 and no certifications existed. I didn’t know a thing about catheter bags, patient care, proper bed making or how to shower and feed those in need. My training consisted of getting onto the nursing home floor and getting it done. A few older ladies took me under their wing, calling me “child” and correcting my mistakes.
Deeply insecure in my body, there I was up close and personal to other bodies. Lifting, maneuvering heavy unrelenting dead weight from bed to chair and back again. Using my body to leverage theirs gave me no choice but to deal with my discomfort. The desire to pull away was overridden by the fear of dropping someone. I had to push in close…to allow their head to be beside mine. It was an intimate affair filled dignity and respect.
I learned about humans….human interaction, empathy, life, death and the after. It was the most intense university I ever attended. This work prepared me to be the coach I am today and I forever carry the experience in every moment of this gym.