So today at physical therapy I was doing what I have come to call The Ironing Exercise. Basically, you lay a pillowcase down on a therapy table. Then, with an elastic strap, you attach this roughly hand-shaped disc to the palm of your gimpy arm. You use your good arm to lean over the table, and you slide the hand-shaped disc up and down the pillow case, as if you were ironing it. First you do this up and down. Then you do it side to side. After three sets of twelve in both directions, my pillow case still had wrinkles, but I guess that is because there was no heat.
As I was doing this exercise, I was thinking about how much I was enjoying it, if only because it is new, and these days each time I go to PT I get new exercises to do, and that, Friends, feels like progress.
So then I got to thinking about how much I was enjoying this exercise, and it occurred to me that these exercises are to swimming what swatching is to knitting.* It is easy to get irritated that you have to knit (and frequently reknit. And reknit again again.) a gauge swatch when you really want to get going on the project. Yet, if you launch into the project without the swatch, well, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't.
Therapy exercises are like that, too. If I were in an impatient place today, I might have been irked that I have to do these exercises instead of diving into the pool and doing a real set. But just as you can remind yourself that knitting a swatch is still knitting, PT exercises are still exercise.
* Note for non-knitters: a swatch is a little piece of knitting that you make before starting a project to see how different your knitting is from that of the pattern designer. Ideally, you want to reach a point where your knitting and the designer's knitting coexist in perfect same-number-of-stitches-per-inch harmony. In the real world, this frequently takes several swatches, or sections of swatches, and even then there are no guarantees.