Ok - it was *at* the gym. Or the "fitness room" as it's officially called in the employee handbook. (Yes, we have a little gym at work - a treadmill, an elliptical, a bike, some weights - just enough to get in a decent 20-30 minute workout.)
So anyway - there I am all alone, gliding away on the elliptical, reading some truly thought-provoking article (alright, it was US Weekly) when in walks one of the gym regulars. But instead of in her gym-garb, she's wearing her regular work clothes. I thought, hmmm - okay - maybe she's here for some stretching.
Nope, turns out she was there specifically to talk to me. What about? To tell me how amazed she was that I come to the gym every day. "Hunh? Where's this coming from all of a sudden?" I thought.
She went on to explain that last week, she suddenly started having joint pain in her hands, wrists, feet and knees. She was terrified she might have RA or Lyme disease and headed straight to the doctor. Turns out, her group A strep titers were high (think rheumatic fever) and she was prescribed antibiotics. She's been on them for a few days and is already feeling better. But she wanted to make sure to tell me that she now "got" my discomfort - and applauded my dedication to the gym.
It was actually kind of weird. What do you say to that? "Um... thanks?" No, actually, I just told her that I'm actually doing pretty well these days and commisserated with her about the 20 steps we have to climb to go from the first to second floors (on those not-so-well-days for me). I wished her good health, of course, and she was on her way.
After she left and I thought about it more, I realized how different the world might be if everyone had to experience this all over joint pain at least once in their lives. I bet many of our "but you were just walking fine yesterday?!" or "oh yeah, I have that a little in my knee" interactions wouldn't happen. Not that I would wish that on anyone - just interesting to consider the possibilty...