I Drummed. And Oh My God, This Is Both Terrifying And Exhilarating
I’ve been a drummer on and off throughout my life. It’s damn good exercise. It’s why my arms were always in decent shape; a half hour smashing skins, and you do have acceptable biceps, even on an otherwise pudgy body. My calves and biceps were always a draw, even if I didn’t want to show you my belly.
So when I heard that the doctor had given me the okay to drum, I was a little concerned. Thanks to all my ribs still healing, I can’t lift anything over eight pounds – and my chest still clicks in disconcerting ways as the bones settle into place. (This is normal, by the way, if both painful and intensely weird.) So did my doctor understand drumming? Would I lift my arms high to smash those cymbals and tear something vital?
But drumming today was a fucking revelation.
The song I chose to start with was Taio Cruz’s Dynamite, mainly because it was a) mid-tempo, and b) symptomatic of a new start. And I played, gingerly at first, until I realized that this was all in my wrists, biceps, and shoulders. I could hit. And hit hard. Hard enough to send the cymbals shuddering, fill the basement with the full-on slap of the snare.
And I did that for twenty-five minutes. Straight.
And walked upstairs.
What you don’t understand was that the last time I drummed, I did it for half an hour – and then, so exhausted, I had to sit down on the La-Z-Boy and recuperate for half an hour. I attributed this to being out of shape. To hating exercise.
What I did not attribute it to was a heart pumping 1% of its total capacity.
But in retrospect, my last attempt to get into shape was failing ridiculously for weird reasons. I used to be able to run a 5k with relative ease. But in California, after six weeks of hard training on the stationary bicycle, I went for a jog with Gini – and I barely made a mile before collapsing, wheezing, propping myself up by a stop sign. At the time, I thought, jeez, I guess bicycling uses really different muscles than jogging. Still, I was baffled because I was able to do half an hour’s workout on the bicycle, why were my lungs failing me so badly now?
Now I know: I was dying.
And now I know: I’ve been upgraded. I worked out, hard, for nearly half an hour, after having no aerobic exercise for six weeks. And I didn’t breathe that hard. And when I was done, rather than having to collapse into a chair, I practically jogged the fuck upstairs.
I didn’t have heart surgery.
I got a fucking upgrade.