Tag Archives: Physical Therapy

From Massage Spa Therapist to Physical Therapist


Life usually knows what a person needs.  I find myself forgetting sometimes that life is my greatest teacher.  And even though I really do want to believe in coincidences, I don’t.

Just a week prior to my first session with my pelvic physical therapist, my aunt gave me a gift for a 90-minute massage to the spa therapist.  So, even though my aunt was coming with me to the spa, I couldn’t help my anxiety levels because this was my first time and the idea of a stranger touching my body intimately was a bit nerve-wracking.

All these normal tiny question-based fears crept up like a cold draft in a haunted apartment like:  Will my naked body look okay?  What about that little bit of cellulite in my inner thighs?  Will they notice and are they going to feel it when they massage me?  Am I going to perspire like a madwoman because of my revved up anxiety levels and stink the whole place up like a skunk?

Ah, so with all the dread, it finally came time to strip down to my bra and panties at the locker room which brought back memories of never wanting to get undress in gym class at junior high and how other girls would make fun of me because I prefer privacy over publicity.  But I managed to get into the lovely plush robe despite the fact that some eyes were peering my way.  I confidently shook it off and strolled nervously into the massage room.

It was beautiful!  Dim lighting, meditative music, candle atmosphere.  Then it was time to undo my bra.  My panty I could leave on!  And I managed to get through it.  But because I went through this experience, I was able to not completely freak or walk out the door when I had to strip my pants and panty at the physical therapist place.

The first real session (not the initial evaluation) with my pelvic physical therapist was surprising but expected since I’ve done my research.  Still, I was freaking out internally.  The dim lights, classical music, and earthly décor put me at ease to an extent, but the rest of the time I’m sporting a deadpan expression with brewing spades and acid in the pit of my stomach.

For me, there’s nothing comfortable being half naked and having this talkative nice lady massage and stretch my stomach, pelvis, inner thighs, sit bones, hips, glutes and lower back.  Nothing.  As if nothing could top that, she brought out the vagina dilators, gloves and lube.  And I reassured myself, “This doesn’t make you gay.  This is medical procedure.  This appears sexual but isn’t sexual at all.  Relax.”

This was when I had to channel my anxiety and awkward levels to asking her a million questions about her life and her career and everything else in between, so I wouldn’t die too much in the present moment of vagina dilators.  All I could think is, if I can handle a 90-minute plus massage with wraps, hot oil and hot stones, I can handle someone sticking dilators inside me, regardless if they’re the same gender.

*pats back*

-Pennington

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Bird


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This bird has outgrown many things in the past months from dying love, to cold friends and to the importance of new love and family. She’s even outdone her physical therapy vicinity and the assistance of their aids. There are always new things to learn, but the most crucial for birdie has been to take charge of her therapy (as she knew right from the beginning). Never allow others to dictate your weakness, strength or levels of success. You must always hold yourself accountable; for this is where the profound and strength of character lives.

The past two weeks birdie had been working with a new PT. She calls bird ma’am, yet thinks birdie is in her twenties rather than thirties. The unfortunate issue — is this new vibrant young lady came a little too late. Birdie both likes and appreciates her techniques and her promising nature. Birdie can sense the love this young flower has for her Physical Therapy work — and how it comes with new eyes, a thirst for knowledge, a keen ear, unstained years of senorioty rights and a clear vision of great passion.

What’s more unfortunate is this birdie is almost gone and is going to leave the Physical Therapy nest behind. She had a long run (4 months), and she didn’t agree with everything, and in some cases they actually hindered her (by overworking her and allowing her to sustain tendonitis in her foot). Still, birdie benefited in multiple ways like overcoming mental blocks and flying and getting out of the house. This birdie is going back home, to the religion, to the glitz, to the empowerment, to the intimacy and love of the gym because there’s more equipment that can be used to improvise.

Birdie can get to where she needs to be quicker (although patience is still the key as she’s no where near 100%) — for in winter, there are only so many ways one can handle the force knocking of the wind and friendly snow that turns to dangerous ice; not to mention the horrid rain outside. However, by the time spring comes; this little birdie will put all her hopes on the comfort of blue skies, delicate breeze and warm sunshine. 🙂

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-Pennington

Sadomasochist PT!


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The owner of the Physical Therapy place has an over-the-top Phillipine accent, a fabricated smile, along with the body of Dr. Robotnik. She oversees everything, including my chart. And although she’s the boss of everyone and everything in the place — I fucking dislike her with a fucking passion! My day is much better when I don’t see her at all when I’m at PT (and I go 3 times a week). I mean, when she doesn’t breathe next to me, when she doesn’t say hi to me or stand 10 feet away from me — my day is simply better.

My first (and current) impression of this PT woman is she’s truly cruel. I could tell by the first evaluation; how she grabbed my lifeless foot of two months and twisted it in ways where my natural instinct was to contort my face with emotions and invisible curse words. What upset me the most about her giving me pain like this was not once did she think to mention sorry or even warn me beforehand of her vicious nature.

Let me say for the record, I’m not a stranger to PT. I’m a weightlifter for Christ sake with a fairly decent ego that makes it easy for me to acquire injury as if it’s a mark of a champion. And what I’m about to explain is all a true story. None of this is made up for amusement, but for me to remember the chapters of my life.

Side note: I have this theory, where, sometimes I believe that if a person has been in their occupation for far too long that their behavior and actions and such start to become the occupation as oppose to them being the occupation — whether good or bad. Like for instance,  stockbrokers are evil. Do you think it’s really a coincidence? Mmkay.

So anyway, for the most part I tend to work with the male PT who I love, but his boss is the fat cruel bitch and owner of the place. Cruel fat lady has a tendency to come by — I presume — when she has no other paperwork to do and when she wants to critique and hear her own voice to get off — while other times she observes my PT session (with my male PT) I believe, just to taunt me by saying, “Do the exercise without holding onto the bars. Or can you do like this (gets on an easy wobble board with straight posture while dancing on it).”

Times like this, I want nothing more but to poke her eyes out with my hands as I think to myself: I can certainly get on the easier wobble board and pretend to dance on it and laugh like you do if only I could put 100% bodyweight on my right ankle that was broken a mere weeks before while not having my other muscles compensate by trying to stand with a marine perfect posture if I wasn’t in so much fucking pain already. But, let’s face it, only one of us is in pain and lives a pretty more normal life with two feet healthy and walking on the ground.

So, is there a wonder why I think she’s such a HUGE cuntbag? She enjoys taking jabs at people when they’re in pain and one lady who also gets PT and was on the bike when she overheard the fat lady owner say, “Can you do this and dance?” to me, she took it upon herself to say to fat lady: “It’s easy to say those things when you’re not the one in pain.” Then a moment of awkward silence fell on all of us and everyone else in the PT office.

I want to stab this fat lady in her glittery hazel eyes, not only because she reminds me of one of my cruel unforgiving married-in aunts, but because nothing I ever do is enough for her (not that she matters) and because my pain is never painful enough for her (although often enough, the pain is unbearable and I make it look easy). She never has anything positive to say and maybe this is another part of her monstrous personality?

Here’s what I gathered so far from this vicious bitch. When she sees me down in the dumps with pain and I’m taking a time out slouched on the chair resting for a moment she comes on over and asks me, “How are you? Are you in a lot of pain?” I say yes sometimes and crack a sneer. And when I say yes, she laughs like a wicked witch and walks off stage like a director just screamed cut!

Another time: I had to work with her one day when she massaged and jerked my foot off in a very hard and fast fashion, she managed like usual to hurt me during the process. After that abuse, she had me do lots of new exercises for my foot/ankle and she made me perform them up until I let out a large breath that sounded like I sucked heavily through a straw of pain because my calve was about to give me a fat cuntbag Charlie horse. She did this 3 different times and each time I could tell she enjoyed looking into my face to see what reaction I was willing to give.

Another time: She came by to check my progress and I did my ankle exercises while she placed manual resistance (her hand on me and placing resistance down so I can fight/flex against it for those who aren’t aware of what MR means), then decides to flex my foot upwards to the ceiling past the 90 degree mark (which now I can do), but went past the muscle and stiffness resistance until 2 cracks let loose from somewhere in the middle and back of my foot. Thank god it didn’t hurt, but I don’t understand why she would do this? Or why didn’t she apologize for cracking my foot? Or warn me that a crack could happen?

There’s also another young PT woman who aids me at times when my Male PT is helping others in need of something, and I call her Numbnut because she’s very gullible. When she comes to assist me she thinks it’s girl chatty time and never counts my reps while she speaks up a storm. She asks me so many questions that I start to make up stories for my amusement and to get through the pain.

Because she’s learn from the fat lady cunt which is to be aggressive to the point where my body goes to panic mode, where it wants to flee and it goes to fight mode and I get the hulk urge triggered beyond a pain threshold I can’t handle (but must!), where I want to beat Numbnut onto the parallel bars til she feels what I feel and more. Just like fat lady, Numbnut has no remorse and shares no empathy for other people’s pain, even though she’s clearly the one giving it and could choose to give less says the flood in my eyes to which I hold back.

Aside from these two psychotic bitches, the male PT I work with has been very good to me. Since day one he has been very nice to me. Lately, he’s been very happy with my progress. Probably because he’s aware of how much I work on my own at home and because I progress quickly. During each session, he says, “Sorry” numerous times and says, “I’m sorry I have to put you in pain, I hope you understand.” And not once has he taunt me in any way or has given me extra exercise work to do or has ever said, “Do anke pumps all day in your house.” Because I’m always in pain, so how far will I get with pumping my ankle all fucking day?

To end this, I know some of you may think I sound crazy. But I can assure you I’m very good at reading people and even better with reading human behavior. I’m pretty sure you’re asking: What do you mean the owner of the PT place would want to hurt you? What would they gain out of it? Well, sit down and read this post again. Two out of three people I work with are aggressive and sadistic. They push me over the pain limit. How come one doesn’t? Numbnut doesn’t come off as if she does it because she gets off on it, but fat lady DOES get off on it. My gut tells me Numbnut gives so much pain because she wants the patient to get back to normal as soon as possible.

Still, I know what my intuition tells me and I know it never fails me. I know how sick this world is and how much sicker the people who live in this world are. Fat cunt lady has become her occupation, someone who gives pain and willingly gives pain with a willingness like no other while the patient has to deal with it in order to recover. It’s not a wonder why fat lady says, “You’re so nice.” It’s because she’s had numerous people curse her out already. I’m just trying to take the high road. But for how long?

Listen, this is fat lady’s sick fantasy, where one can view it as a sick love fetish story.

-Pennington

Pain Therapy


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I’m slow just like an elderly person crossing the street, like any home turtle in the fish tank and basically similar to a suicidal giving up on life. Except, I enter the physical therapy office with an open mind and clear objective — to make gains, to obtain lasting results, to prosper and to walk on two feet correctly (again). I have a lot of work ahead of me, but that’s okay because I like work — and because what is life without work? Or sweat? Or tears? Or blood? Or pain?

And speaking of pain: I’m pretty aware that if they called it Pain Therapy rather than Physical Therapy — the majority of people wouldn’t show up. Related: This has been the most painful PT session (the 6th one so far) yet. I inhale and exhale like a pregnant woman giving birth wildly, but, with control. I shut my eyes tighter than my thermal water bottle, pinch my eyebrows together as in “what the fuck?”, grind my teeth with grit, mush my lips together in grumble and sometimes (whenever possible) I hunch my shoulders like a white collar man over a desktop — all because of pain.

Somewhere buried in my bones and muscles fibers, I’m frightened and I’m nervous about every PT session as if I’m starting a new job. But the fear remains in a way where I’m completely detached from it at the same time. I have a reason to be a scaredy-cat for each session there are unpredictable exercises given and new progressions occurring and of course — new pain to match. Today they measured my plantarflexion/dorsi and such and such with a Rulangemeter and a Goniometer. Trust, when I say it hurts when they hold my foot and bring it up to the measurement of where it’s supposed to be.

There are parallel bars where I’m to try and learn to walk again with as much equal body weight as possible without completely noticing the occasional shout from the aid saying: Bend your knee, don’t lock out. Control the movement. Then there are leg/tibia exercises and knee/hip/glute exercises all standing and putting full weight on my right foot and ankle. It feels highly uncomfortable like I’m stepping on stones, but I’m not afraid because I have to do what I have to do, and in a weird way I like pain. Plus, let’s face it, pain is temporary.

Then there’s my favorite, the thing that scares half my training wits — the wooden balance board. This one, I perform numerous exercises on. I dislike every one of them. Still, the bright side is it gets my knees to bend and it stretches everything out around the sides, front and back of my ankle along with my deflated calve. The only issue is, the pain is dangerously wicked, but with my training mentality, I’ve achieved my personal records already.

Then there’s me having to go up/down a step. There’s the prostep-prostretch where I squeeze my foot into it and have to move my foot up and down for a deep fucking stretch! Of course, there are ankle weights and more exercises and equipment I get to play and hurt myself with. Then more ankle exercises with manual resistance by my physical therapist (who I have a fondness for ah! — plus he genuinely says sorry when he senses the pain is unbearable on my face) and ankle circles and ankle pumps before I get my relaxing massage, electrode stimulations, heat and ice.

After all the drama calms down in the PT session, I digest all that has happened and how far I’ve come. I wish I could linger on those digestions. But I move on and take in how much longer I have to go. I dwell and dwell. Still, I’m thankful for my persistence, determination, stubbornness and self-made ego. I also enjoy when the pain and inflammation dies down, even though I know I’m going home to do even more exercises and be in pain all over again.

But more than anything, when I lie in the dark alone with thoughts to myself in the physical treatment room with towels wrapped around my leg in ice and heat — happiness seems to hide in the background and no matter how many times I push the thought out, it resurfaces again. I always go back to square one with: I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I’m going through this. I can’t seem to shake off this shock.

-Pennington

ORIF


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Finding the right physical therapist took a lot of time, which set me back just like finding the right surgeon (and personally I think he did a fine job and I want to get him and his staff a box of chocolates – is this too intimate?). Thank the Lord!

It seems like the second time was the charm of these circumstances. And I’m just happy enough to identify the madness and to be given the tiny miracle of opportunity to change things as soon as I can. It’s been a total of eight weeks (maybe more?) and everything still feels crazy to me.

The first real therapy session – mind you aggressive! – has actually set me to a default of the first stage of grief (for some): Shock! I was zombiefied after the session. And although I’ve been doing my own research and physical therapy work at home, I felt like one of those gym people who only perform 15 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength-training and for them that was the hard part besides finding the nerve to get to the gym.

But more than that is how these people tend to LOVE the SHIT out of the stretching part of the workout session. You could see the joy plastered on their faces. It’s almost disgusting!  Nevertheless, it’s how I felt when the therapy session was over. No more pain from a stranger. No more looking like a fucking noob. No more wallowing. The massage and ice afterwards felt golden. It was the best part besides feeling like a 2 year old and taking my first steps with a walker. But then, the shock hit me on the way home.

Sighs.

I felt lost in a sky like the toddler who let go a second too soon because he doesn’t know any better – he hasn’t grown into life yet. Or like the lady floating on her own balloon in the picture above – not sure where she’s going? (Where am I traveling to?)

So, what is ORIF anyway? It’s a Fracture Fibula – Open Reduction Internal Fixation! Fixation, eh? I’m certainly fixated on this current situation – so much so I feel like a hot mess, like a pair of 10 year old sneakers, abused and neglected that can be found in a corner of a gym.

Okay, so I’m making gains, progressing like the way a slug does all the while looking back somewhat. I’m stuck in a very past-present condition. I’d love to put this all behind me, however I have to learn life lessons and look at the bigger picture of several things and get this balloon of the unknown off of me so I can feel somewhat normal and like I’m back in my element. I’m tired of floating. I don’t like the feeling of limbo.

And if anyone tells me to get the fuck over this, not only will I smack them with a fucking dumbbell – I’ll display the video of my surgery and in the process break their fucking ankle. Kidding! Almost. 😉

-Pennington

Tales from the Ankle


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The upside: My bone is healed and it healed properly. Thank the Lord! No hard cast. Now I’m in an Air Cast. The downside: There’s a lot of work to do in the wonderful world of physical therapy, and evidently, it’s rather fucking depressing. It feels like I’m starting from somewhere near the bottom. And surely, it could be worse.

So, yes, I’m thankful for my fibula fracture injury no matter how it comes across and makes me feel in the black pit of my heart. In time, I’ll get over the multiple depression humps of my life. But today is not that day. Until then, I’ll have to deal with everything as I have been – to the best of my ability.

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Let me introduce some to the subtalar joint. This is one thing I have to work on. It is responsible for the movement of the feet – in technical terms: Inversion and Eversion. Aside from this joint, I have to deal with all the other muscles that atrophied on the side of my right ankle such as the hips, glute, lower back, knee and quad.

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Now, despite the work load I have for my ankle and certain parts of my body, I’m lucky that I’m a big fan of working hard. This isn’t my issue. My issue is being depressed and wanting results overnight because of what I’ve been able to do in the past – fitness wise. Patience and pacing myself has never been a strong suit of mine. And I would think that at the humble age of 32, (33 tomorrow), I’d have figured out how to take things slow when needed, but no. I have much to learn.

I have this self-imposed pressure. It’s me against me and I’m not sure how I feel about this: All the power to mobilize myself. It sounds inspiring to some degree, but with the time stamp I’ve placed in my head: I feel like time is running out. Okay. Day 1 of the Air Cast: It was this Tuesday. The cast came off and I didn’t care if there was pain involve. I was more scared of what was underneath the cast. Lots of dry blood. Lots of dead skin. Lots of calve deflated and missing. Lots of agony and stages of foot pain.

And for the rest of the day the thought of unstrapping and strapping the boot itself made me nauseous at home. So I did zero movement in my ankle. Day 2: I made sure to start moving my foot with the assistance of my knee just to get a bit of movement. At least 70-80 total reps (for 5 reps at a time – afternoon and evening) I performed and then packed it in ice like a dead fish.

Day 3: Which is today – I met the physical therapist. And let’s just say, I’m glad he’s not ugly to look at. However, I got the impression that everything was all rushed. I did not like that he expected me to perform circles with an ankle I haven’t used for 2 months. He encouraged me by saying, “You’re moving your knee, not your ankle.”

Then he manually took my ankle and moved it in circles and in an up/down motion. Okay, so aside from his manual assistance (and my failings!), these were the exercises prescribed to me which I did there at the place: Lumbar Bridging (Hip Thrust), Hip Abduction Unilateral Side-lying and Supine Knee Bent. 3 x 10 reps.

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Reflection on these Exercises: I felt a super stretch during the hip bridges in my right quad that I gasped out loud. My hip/glutes were contracted (mind-muscle connection) with intense levels while performing the side lying. And as for the Supine Knee – well – I felt the discomfort in my knee, so keeping my right leg completely straight was a tad difficult. So all in all it’s working. 😉 But I’m sure anything would work if your muscles were immobile to begin with, no?

My plans for tonight is to have my friend help me by manually moving my ankle up/down and in circles for a few reps a set because my foot is so stiff I can’t do it on my own. As of now, my ankle is super achy and sore from the manual manipulation of earlier. Presently, this is going to be a slow and tedious, but very much needed journey. Stay tuned. 😉

-Pennington