I hate Physical Therapy.
Today is an anniversary of sorts. It’s been 3 months–12 weeks–90 days since my accident. And I’m so grateful and so relieved and so…relieved.
But it also means I’ve moved into the Physical Therapy phase of recovery. And those of you who have been there– you know. You KNOW. Physical therapy is a bitch.
And I hate it.
I hate it because it hurts.
I hate it because it’s humbling.
I hate it because my arms shake when I use one pound weights. ONE POUND.
I hate it because it’s time consuming.
I hate it because it is the clearest reminder I have of being weak and incapable and different than I was a few months ago.
In my daily life, I’m learning to adapt. I do things differently to circumvent my weakness and inabilities. But physical therapy moves are specific. And they specifically highlight what I cannot do.
I know. I get it. It’s a means to an end. And that end is to recover strength and mobility. I know. It’s not like I don’t understand. I just don’t like it.
I don’t like wincing from squeezing a handful of Play-Doh or needing a break from palming golf balls.
I hate it because the exercises make it feel like I’m going to break everything all over again, no matter how many times the therapist assures me the titanium plates aren’t going anywhere.
But mostly I hate it because I cry.
To be clear, I don’t SOB, for God’s sake. But it effing hurts and it’s effing hard. And when the therapist pulls my wrist and bends it back and forth and treats my scars, I can’t keep the tears from silently leaking out and running down my face.
I close my eyes because I am in pain.
I close my eyes because I am embarrassed- for me AND for him.
I can’t lie. Before my first PT session, I actually tweeted that I hoped he would be hot and that would make it more fun. But he kind of is. And now I just wish he were a nice little 90 year-old grandpa.
When he asks if he should stop, I always say no.
Because the pain is part of the process. Pushing past the limits of what feels comfortable is the only way to make headway. It’s an integral part of the healing.
It’s the only way things will ever be different and better.
And I have my pride. I want to be tough. And in a weird way, I want the PT to think I’m tough, too. I want the people in my life who are cheering for me to think I’m tough enough to keep going. I have stupid visions of making a Major League comeback, filled with one-handed push-ups and awe-inspiring yoga headstands. (Mind you, I couldn’t do these things pre-accident, just so you understand how truly unrealistic these delusions are.)
But that’s not the point. The point is I want to get better and be strong and feel normal again. And so I have to do things that hurt and test me and make me cry, even though I hate them.
And every single time, there is a moment when I wonder: Would it be okay to stop? Once in a while, would it be okay to stop and just cry openly and meekly whisper to him, ‘You know, I really can’t take this today. Let’s just stop for now and I’ll try again next time.’
Would that be okay? Would that make me weak? A quitter?
And then I snap out of it.
I remember it’s not life. It’s just Physical Therapy.
And I want this wrist and collarbone to be f*cking indestructible. And I keep going.
Tell me about your Physical Therapy. And tell me when it gets better.