I can now say something that, in my entire life, all the way up to and including yesterday, I could not have said before.
Physical therapy is a hoot.
Five minutes into my first consultation I randomly wondered if my therapist’s lips were permanently pursed in an expression of disapproval, or if my previous personal disregard of my physical condition particularly perplexed her. After peppering me with trick questions we went to the mirror and she pointed out the unattractive asymmetry in my collar bones. We then went through a series of contortions. For example, she pulled my arm straight out, bent the lower arm upward at the elbow, twisted it a half revolution, pushed it toward my right ear and then started sliding the whole thing downward along my back. “What am I? A wishbone?” I thought through clenched teeth. Any second now there was going to be a loud snapping sound.
“Does that hurt?” she asked.
“Um . . . yes. ”
“That’s because you have no muscles in your arms. You are like jellyfish.”
It seemed to me that muscles would have just gotten in the way of achieving this position. After a few more of these pretzel moves, I decided to impress her with my old grade school parlor trick – the one I used to astound all my 9 year old friends. I clasped my hands together behind my back and raised my arms up to shoulder height and beyond. She promptly pooh-poohed that move.
“Don’t ever do that,” she said. “That will make your shoulders more likely to pop out of the socket.”
“I thought flexibility was a good thing.”
“It’s not flexibility. It’s jellyfish.”
Next came a few exercises with an elastic band that I am supposed to do repeatedly throughout the day, every day, until my next session. She gave me tiny verbal pat on the head after those. In the very last minute, she made a great save by telling me I could take the elastic band with me.
“But please hide it in your bag – I’m not supposed to be handing those out.”
Suddenly, I sort of liked her.
From there I proceeded to my therapeutic massage with a brawny little lady from somewhere like. . . Bulgaria, I’m guessing. I forgot her name, but I’m pretty sure it was Olga. I lay down, stuck my face in the hole on the table and she had at me. She pronounced my absent muscles to be all very tensed up. “WHO’S a jellyfish?!” I thought, feeling momentarily good about myself again until Olga suddenly puffed up and turned all green and transformed into The Bruiser. At one point I wondered why she was trying to press marbles through my skin. Then I realized those hard round things she was pummeling flat were inside me. This went on for all eternity. Okay, it was only a half hour, but that is a long time to be concentrating on not drooling.
This part also ended with a conspiracy. Olga informed me that my muscles would probably hurt more in the next few days – and not to worry – that’s normal. If it turns out to be true, I think that must be the world’s best kept secret. Massage hurts.
Since I like to end posts on a positive note if possible, here are the bright sides of today.
2) The bill is going to my (slightly hysterical) insurance provider and I get to keep the elastic band.
3) Two down, ten to go.