This blog will appear once a week. I can assure you there’s a swarm of topics buzzing around my gray matter. I’ll swing back and forth on healthcare, lifestyle, and subjects that keep me awake at night. Today, I have a story about a group of people who work in the arena of Physical Therapy.
The complications associated with being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2005 have made me a regular in physical therapy gyms. I’ve probably had 75 different physical therapists; all sizes, shapes and colors. In my memoir, Come Get Me Mother, I’m Though, I write about an entertaining encounter I had with the very first therapist who was the little sister of a friend from junior high in the 60’s. That’s when I surmised, the quality of physical therapy is predicated upon where you live and who’s on duty. This was a small mountain town, one hospital and two therapy centers, staffed heavily by locals and some classmates from my youth.
I now live in a big city with multiple hospitals and therapy clinics (with no one from my past) and because my fight with MS continues (and I’ve needed a rotator cuff repair or two), I have to visit twice a week. Eventually, I gravitated toward one particular rehab hospital. I’m on a first-name basis with inpatient and outpatient therapists, even the front office receptionist, and I’m happy to say, I get no questions about my junior high girlfriend.
Raven is in charge of rehabbing my latest repaired rotator cuff and last week at the clinic, while she was focused on torturing me by manipulating my shoulder and moving my arm around, “we gotta loosen it up,” I was watching the other patients doing rehab in the room when a gentleman walked in with his wife on his arm. He was a tall man, looked to be in his 70’s and it seemed as if they were looking for someone. The therapist Rebecca stood up and walked away from her patient and gave the tall old man a big hug. Then, therapists, Jackie and Joanne noticed and got in on a group hug. I heard Rebecca tell him, “Hey, you did the work, I just told you what to do.”
At that point, Raven noticed I wasn’t paying attention to her, looked over her shoulder to the crowd gathered around the old man. Her brow furrowed and she said, “holy shit,” dropped my arm and went to join the festivities. There were more hugs, kisses and laughter.
When she came back to me, her face beamed. “I can’t believe that’s the same man. When he was here last year, he could barely breathe, he was skin and bones, bedridden and close to the end, now look at him.” Then, she quipped, “We never get to see the end results of our work. I have many former patients I wonder about. That was nice.”
These physical therapists are like most in every rehab clinic in America. They work hard on people who aren’t thrilled to participate because rehab hurts oftentimes, patients resist and question the methods. I’ve seen patients physically push back, only to have the therapist patiently get them the work they need to heal. It was warming to see them so thrilled about the end result of the work they do.
It reminds me to be more appreciative of these people who’ve chosen this healing path in life. Not all my P/T’s were as professional as expected, but I remember those who are and work to make a personal connection with each; Rebecca just got married, Raven is a bodybuilder, Joanne was adopted at birth and spent years finding her birth mother, and Michael Jackson from Australia, who can’t moonwalk, but is one of those nuts who runs 30 plus miles for entertainment. They’ve each made an impression on me, albeit while they torture with a smile. I like my P/T’s.
If something happens and you get stuck in Physical Therapy, be nice.
Until next week,