As in physical therapist. Oh, I’ve seen brain therapists too, but that’s another post. Or posts. Or blog. And, no, sadly, my PT doesn’t look like the one in the picture, but I don’t look like that girl, so we’re even.
Appointment number one. I walk into this wide-open space where the beds, exercise equipment, and medical gadgetry are set up. I can see everyone, and, presumably, they can see me. It’s all old ladies, so I immediately feel competitive. I can beat these old ladies! At what, I don’t know, but who cares. I’m wearing a baggy T-shirt to hide my shameful deformity, so, comparatively speaking, I look young and strong. (But that doesn’t mean I don’t get a Vicodin refill this month.)
The PTs deal with several people at a time. My PT, Scott, tells me to warm up on the upright bike for 10 minutes while he attends to a woman picking up marbles with her toes.
For a place packed with old ladies, I’m not sure blasting VH1 Classics on the TV is the best choice, but it suits me just fine. The bike hurts my knees, but as soon as Rod Stewart’s “Hot Legs” video comes on, I start some serious pedaling.
A sweet old lady gets on the bike next to me, which is a signal for me to go even faster. She pedals at a leisurely pace, oblivious to the fact that she’s racing with a 47-year-old 12-year old.
“Slow down,” Scott yells from across the room. But I can’t. There’s too much at stake.
The lady next to me tells her PT she’s tired, and I shoot the room a triumphant look. I win!
Damn. I only burned 44 calories.
“How’s your back?”
“Fine, but my knees are killing me.”
“Next time don’t pedal so fast.”
Oh, do shut up.
Now it’s on to shoulder pulls. I didn’t realize there would be this much work. I thought I’d just get a massage or sit in a whirlpool. Scott shows me how to do this exercise, and I kind of want to kill him a little, because this is baby stuff. But I do my shoulder pulls (in time with ZZ Top’s “Gimme All Your Lovin’”) while Scott watches approvingly.
He’s not one for small talk (good), so I wonder why all of the sudden he mentions how warm it is. Then I realize he’d had his hand on my back. I reach back and touch my shirt. Ewwwwwwwwwww! It’s soaking wet. I’m not supposed to be one of the gross ones!
“OK, lie down on this bed.”
Finally! A bed. I sink down gratefully. Maybe he’ll rub my aching knees or play with my hair. But no. More damn exercises. Hamstring stretches, lower ab strengthening . . . this is hard. The lady next to me is getting a massage. I want a massage!
“3 sets on each side, 30 seconds each.”
Do you have any idea how long 30 seconds is? And I have to count on my own, which is harder than you might think with Kiss blaring throughout the room. Not to mention that all this exertion isn’t exactly helping my drenched T-shirt to dry off. But it’s all worth it when he wheels up the TENS unit.
“Have you ever had electrical stimulation?”
Have you ever had electrical stimulation? Man, it’s the best. They stick these patches on your skin that deliver some delicious electrical zaps to your muscles. If I can’t get a massage, it’s the next best thing.
Scott puts the patches on my lower back—and when I say “lower,” I mean that we’re not even technically in back territory any more. He then asks me if I want a “female” to put the pads on my shoulder blade. What? Why? Dude, you’ve seen my butt crack, I hardly think my nude shoulder is going to get you all horny. (Later I realized he was probably praying I’d ask for someone else so he wouldn’t have to touch my gross, sweaty back).
Anyway, the TENS unit does its magic. I make Scott turn it up to its highest setting, because I’m still competing here. I may be sore tomorrow, but damnit, I’m going to win.
I hear humor blogs is the best therapy.