Let me set the scene:
My husband Eric works away a lot. He began working week long 24 hour shifts when Trystan was 7 months old and was still in that routine when Loukah came along. For the first 6 years of parenting life we had very few dates and I had even fewer moments alone. I was sleep deprived and desperate for a little R&R. ( I suspect most readers can relate.) AND with that image in mind, I give you – THE STEAM ROOM
We were in a really nice hotel in Quebec for a celebration with Erics work. We were excited about this event for many reasons. Not the least of which being our dear friends who were going to watch the boys for us – and the really cool pool/spa in the hotel.
We arrived Saturday evening and decided to go down with the boys for a swim before getting ready for our night out. On the way through the change room I spotted a steam room. Though I’m not much for hot tubs and the like I was quite drawn to the steam and made it my mission to get at least 5 minutes to myself in there. After about a half hour in the pool I told Eric I’d like to head back to the room to get dressed. He agreed to stay with the boys a little longer. This was my opportunity! I was so excited. The place was empty. I had it all to myself. I set the timer for 5 minutes and found myself a seat at the top of the warm bleachers inside. Ahhhhh….a little pampering after a long hard couple of weeks – BLISS.
I closed my eyes and rested my head back against the wall. I knew from my experiences with hot yoga that I needed a little chance to get used to the hot air. I was enjoying the heat, and the feel of the steam pooling in around me. But as the air became thicker and hotter I started to get a little uncomfortable. “Breathe” I told myself “Relax, this is supposed to be a treat!”
I have, over the years comes to realise that claustrophobia is a bit of an issue for me. Sadly I had not considered that factor as I planned this little escapade. As I continued coaching myself to stay calm I could not help but notice that the air had become significantly hotter. I put my hand over my mouth trying to somehow filter it – still thinking if I could just adjust and stay put I would be good. Then I felt drips of hot water falling from the ceiling. I became convinced that the temperature of this chamber must be set too high and I was about to be cooked like a cheap chicken breast at a fast food restaurant! Somewhere deep inside I knew I was being irrational. I tried in vain to convince myself into staying longer – “breathe”! I took a deep open mouth breath and felt like I was sucking on the spout of a tea kettle! The air was so thick I was sure you could chew it (if only it weren’t made of hells fury itself!) Now I was certain I would choke on the scalding air! That’s when I opened my eyes…..
If you’ve never been in a steam room let me try to paint the picture for you. Ah…never mind…there is no picture, there’s only steam! Even with my eyes open my nightmare would not end!!
There was a thick cloud of steam, so thick you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face! It created the appearance of a solid mass and at the moment I opened my eyes it might well have been the inside of a coffin. I was buried alive in steam – Panick!! I blindly flailed my arms to find the wall and then felt my way along looking for the door handle my imagination had me in a choke hold. I was convinced that I would walk through one of the steam jets and be instantly vaporised. I decided I must have made a fatal mistake. You must be expected to fill the room first then enter when the jets are off. I was beyond certain that this room was unfit for human occupation! Why wasn’t there a sign? An instruction manual?? I suddenly remembered that as I entered the chamber there had been a red chord labelled “URGENCE”. Why oh why didn’t I pay more attention to that warning!!? Where was the damn door? When would this ordeal come to and end? The HORROR! Just as I was about to scream for mercy and rescue I found the door handle. Woosh! At long last I was free. I emerged from my foggy death trap in a puff of smoke. I was gulping cool air like a fish in the bottom of a boat. I collapsed into a heap and pressed my forehead against the cool wall, thankful to be alone and alive! As I looked up I noticed the timer….2 minutes.
Embarrassed by my own irrational thinking AND determine to enjoy this damned steam room I decided to re-enter. To mitigate the perceived risk I stood just inside the door with my hand on handle. Deep breath – puff of smoke – in I went! “Stay clam” I told myself “Be rational” ….but how can a woman stay rational when she is being steamed like a giant broccoli? I lasted mere seconds. With a woosh and a poof I made my escape.
I didn’t get my 5 minutes of steam room bliss – but I had a little entertainment, and a good laugh at my own expense. Equally good for the soul.