When in your teens, you know in your heart of hearts that you are: a.) The smartest person you know and b.) indestructible.
The future is a far-off concept and you are always going to be able to bounce back from anything. Right?
Had I known that the bill comes due sooner than you think, I would have gone to the doctor when I had the chance.
Now, I am in physical therapy four times a week. Not for the same body part but for two things that decided to fail at the same time.
When I was 17, I was jumping hurdles on my way to softball practice. I wrecked my left knee, but as I was
graduating in less than a month and didn’t want to be on crutches, I used an ace bandage to re-align it. Things went
back to “normal” and I played racquetball and tennis in college.
Hikes, dancing and various other activities kept me on the move, so any occasional twinges just required a Motrin and some ice.
Fast forward to 2011 and a trip to Disneyworld. By the end of our trip I looked as though I were auditioning for a western movie.
Add to that a work-related dislocated shoulder and you have the makings of a good time.
I have to salute the physical therapists of the world, though. They have one of the most thankless jobs. Whiny patients (me), patients who would rather fake their way through therapy (me again) and patients who lie about doing their exercises at home (I plead the fifth).
These selfless people have to work with burn victims and stroke patients and your run-of-the-mill athletic injuries. Each encounter can bring out hostility because they know that the patient is going to hurt before their hour or so is up and they have to keep encouraging them to push for one more set to help the healing process. They rarely get thanked for their time and service because they seem to remind the patient of their limitations. Therapists are a breed akin to nurses with their compassion and empathy.
They have good spirits and try to make sure that even though they are twisting, pulling and generally contorting muscles most people would like to not know about that the patient leaves knowing that they are making progress.
I already know that surgery is in the near future, but I am somewhat comforted knowing I have a team, besides the doctors and nurses, waiting to get me back to nearly 100 percent. I even promise to cooperate, mostly, and do some of the exercises at home… or how about I just promise to have a cheerful spirit instead?
Z. Carlson is married with two teenage children. She works part-time.