Wednesday, April 16

I'll Be Out In A Minute

I'M sure apologies is too strong a word, but my usual tax procrastination has combined with Physical Therapy to throw my blogging timing way off.  

Especially the PT, which I'm hoping was merely a matter of wrong place/wrong time.  My "therapist" Liz--or, more formally, Ms Mengele--works out of a book entitled To Serve Man, which the others don't seem to be using. Last Friday I was given a series of calisthenics of about ten reps each and told if I managed to do them three times a day it would be "awesome".  Yes, vocabulary is another area where Liz and I don't see eye to monocle.

I return on Monday and find myself led into a secret room and strapped into a series of torture devices heretofore unmentioned.  It was a lot like being at some trendy gym with ex-Nazi trainers, except all the hot chicks were 85 years old.  Really, so far as I've seen I'm the youngest client there by roughly two decades.  And then Nurse Mengele has me do two sets of fifteen reps each of all my exercises, or roughly now, three fucking times what she started me on just 72 hours earlier.  That's some awesome progress.  Then she led me to a table and tried to dislocate my hip.  

Now, two things:  one, I'd been doing two sets of ten-fifteen reps on those exercises at home already, because they seemed pretty easy and the resulting pain was manageable.  But she didn't know that, and she barely asked me how things had gone.   I suspect she may have skipped a page somewhere. And two, my suspicions are at least partly confirmed by the fact that she began by working on the wrong leg, which is not a real confidence builder, shall we say, and the fact that she perpetually loses count on my reps, and was only alerted to the fact that I was doing 95 rpm on the recumbent bike when the adorably garrulous  ninety-year-old woman parked in the wheelchair behind me commented on how fast I was going.   Let's just say that I'm on guard in case she tries to lock me in the steam room.

The most disconcerting thing was that when I winced while doing an exercise on some stairs she stopped the proceedings and admonished me to stop doing things when they hurt.  When they hurt!  Lady, everything hurts, unless you've got some morphine in the desk you'd care to share.

No, wait, the most disconcerting thing is that the assignment of therapists seems to be on a strictly coed basis--every patient I've seen so far has one of the opposite sex, and the men seem to say "honey" a lot and "you've got my card if anything changes", and...wait a minute!  Where are the old therapists?  All of them seem to be under twenty-six.  Ohmigod, it's Soylent Green! They're in the mats!  Police!  Police!

Okay, so on second thought that's really not all that troubling.

But Liz and I decidedly did not hit it off, in part because she's got that Fergie thing going on, where apparently instead of showering with soap and water she uses olive oil, and Spanish instead of Italian at that, and in part because I was insufficiently impressed by the five-carat diamond on her left hand.  The goddam thing is almost as tall as she is.  And let's just say the aura is not of someone whose full attention is on the rehabilitation of Which Knee Was It You Had Surgery On, Again?

Plus I'm a short timer, which apparently doesn't make you very popular, but which did not prevent the office person from asking me if I preferred "James" or "Jim", to which I did not reply, "Well, my friends call me Jimbo, but you can call me Mr. Riley."  'Cause there was a thirty-year-old guy in the waiting room, and I had him pegged for a Soylent Green agent.   They're everywhere.


James Stripes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
coldH2O said...

I sincerely hope no PT folks are reading this "awesome" post. While I joke with my female therapist about the number of courses in sadism she was required to take in college, I am now in my third month of therapy for a complex shoulder surgery & I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel or rotator cuff or bone spur or cartilage clean out, Mr. Riley. Just remember to breathe when you exercise. & take the vikes before you go see her. It will all get better & you'll be sending her roses before long.

McWyrm said...

I sincerely wish you a speedy exit from the therapy scene. It sounds aweful.

ten reps each ... three times a day ...
two sets of fifteen reps each

How is two sets of 15 three times more than three sets of 10? I don't get it.

Kathy said...

My PT looked like Kevin Sorbo of Hercules Fame. It was very distracting, especially when he massaged my leg. Even so, I quit after the mandatory 8 weeks. Went to Paris and walked and walked and walked. Good exercise. Avoid cobblestones, however. Knees & cobblestones don't mix well.

map106 said...

I really hate to write this (well, not really), and I am not in the least trying to minimize your experience (you are my favorite writer, after all), but this sounds eerily familiar to the experience I am having with my dog (hey, dog, Doghouse--what more do you want?), who is currently in PT. My PT.

All brought about by his right hind leg going lame one day (kinda like going missing). The first charlatan, otherwise known as a vet, was, on seeing him for 30 seconds, convinced that the problem was his LEFT hind leg. Never mind that I had spent the last two days observing my dog as he tried to negotiate simple tasks like standing up, walking, and eating. Add the fact that, typically, my psychiatrist wife (as in MD) failed to back me up, in this case regarding the RIGHT side phenomenon.


A shot and a pill later, my dog was tap-dancing. This lasted until the pills ran out (10 days later), after which my dog decided to lose control of both legs on his RIGHT side, which necessitated a call to another vet clinic whose nurse informed us that it sounded like he just needed more medicine.

Skeptical curmudgeon that I am and knowing that the last pill had been administered merely 8 hours prior, I was rather unconvinced. So another appointment, a wait 45 minutes past our scheduled time, and my wife and I were informed that our dog had major neurological damage, would require a consult with a neurologist (expensive), and would most likely require an MRI to diagnose the problem (much, much, much more expensive).

Did I mention he, the dog, was on the verge of his 14th birthday, which in dog years means we're talking Methuselah territory? So I'm thinkin' euthanasia, or in equine parlance, glue. But hey, he's been a great dog and what could a consult hurt other than my overstretched wallet?

Neurological consult day: another wait, this one being 1 1/2 hours beyond our appointment time because an emergency had arisen; some preliminary statistic-getting tests by the vet tech replete with attendant apologies; a battery of tests by an intern because the attending was busy (emergency, you know) and attendant apologies; and the same tests by the attending when he was no longer busy, supplemented with attendant apologies. Let's not forget the description of the history--my favorite part of any medical experience--which every concerned person requires and writes down, the transcription of which is handed off to any and all subsequent interested parties, and which one is inexplicably required to recount countless times. Do they think I am lying?

Well, as my luck would have it, my dog exhibited atypical symptoms--what a surprise. Normally, dogs, if they are wont to lose control of two legs, lose control of both front legs or both back legs, but both legs on one side is just simply not done. In addition, this lame/Fred Astaire/lame phenomenon is really unheard of.

Diagnosis, with elemental canine anatomy lecture and accompanying white-board stick figure drawings: Well, we just don't know. Now we could just take X-rays, but that would only provide us with skeletal abnormalities, so our best bet is to do an MRI which is more expensive and just happens to cost at least twice the amount your referring vet warned you of.

Well, I opted for the MRI.

Vet phone call after MRI: Unfortunately it didn't provide a complete explanation of your dog's symptoms, so we better do the spinal tap which I described as an unlikely choice, and we might have to do a partial brain scan, but that's only about $200 more than the high-end estimate we gave you.

Spinal tap and brain scan later, no explanation of what is going on, but my dog needs to go to PT and the vets can recommend a PT place which just happens to be housed in the most expensive veterinary clinic in NYC.

To make a long story less so, after one PT session, my dog's therapist seems to be happily unaware that his affliction involves BOTH his legs on his RIGHT side. I guess the 30-page history/test results from the MRI genius failed to bring that to her cheery attention. That his front leg shakes uncontrollably and he has a tendency to knuckle over (a technical canine term) on it seems to have eluded her.

But he's going back to PT on Friday.

Sorry to be so long-winded, but I was just trying to mirror, however feebly, your narrative style. Plus, in between your reps, you do need your rest/recuperative time.

Finally, I think you and my dog should talk, 'cause he's not telling me anything.

ignobility said...

My brother was going to PT after a total knee replacement a few years ago. She "accidentally" put too much weight on a piece of equipment she had him working on, and the implant popped out. So there he was, in a free-standing clinic, in excruciating pain, waiting for an ambulance to come to take him to the ER and emergency surgery to re-fix his knee. Moral of the story: Be very, very careful.

ignobility said...

Oops, the "she" in that post is his physical therapist, not my brother.

coldH2O said...

I tried the subtle approach earlier, but I see it didn't work very well. So here it is: If you don't do the PT, don't do the surgery. & for the love of a pain free life, quit bitching. PTs, like most working people, do the best they can with a bunch of whining, older, can't follow directions men. I've seen very few women in PT in the few times I've had to go. Doghouse, I loves ya man, but really, you don't like the PT because she's trying to encourage your sorry old butt (OK, knee) by saying you did an "awesome" job on an exercise? Be thankful any young person says that word when referring to you. That is all.

KathyR said...

I would have paid real money to be sitting in the waiting room if you had said the Jimbo/Mr. Riley line.

heydave said...

Fuck it, dude. Go bowling.
Er, uh, nevermind.

May I point out that the Bard of Gnatshire (or however the fuck he's referred to) goes by "Jimbo" Lileks. Definite point to avoid.

Seriously, may; I suggest a user friendly combo of both Zen and Vicodin? Made me what I am today!

heydave said...

p.s. My PT's after my rotator cuff surgery were all women, ranging from "Wow, too bad you're married" to "Wow, I think I just broke a few thought laws" and I would follow them all through walls of pain to return to proper form and function.

Kathy said...

Cold Water: No one said they didn't or wouldn't do the PT! Just grumbled about it. Except me, I enjoyed it. Especially telling friends about Hercules.