I had my first physical therapy appointment today. I had no idea what to expect. I mean, I knew I'd have to answer a whole bunch of questions. I knew that I was going to be "worked" on; and I knew that meant the possibility of worse pain. What I didn't expect was to almost have my leg snapped off!
Liz, my therapist, warned me, "this is the worse part, as I assess you...". There was some serious pain alright, as she pushed and poked, and twisted and pulled. I had tears squeezing their way through my tightly clenched eyes. I silently encouraged myself, in my head, to be tough and just breathe through it —that the end result would be worth it. And then I hear her say, "okay, now just relax". I knew I wasn't there for comfort. I knew that "relax" meant, I'm about to do something that will only really work if you are fully relaxed. I figured, how much worse could it really get. By this point, she had already climbed on top of the table pushing all of her weight on me and she "loosened" up my upper back and worked her way all the way down to the tip of my tail bone. At one point, I remember even thinking, right when my upper spine popped and relieved a lot of the tension I thought was just a 'normal day' or being tired (all built up, day after day). She told me I was too stiff and unable to be assessed correctly until she loosened me up —like I said, it felt great when I felt my upper back pop. But then she kept pushing...way past the point of "relief". I felt as though her hands would going to push right the through the other side of me!! So, like I said, I figured, how much worse can this really get??
After telling me to relax, I took a deep breath in, and about five seconds later, when I least expect it . . . YANK! She jerked my leg so hard, as if trying to successfully yank a tablecloth off of the table without disturbing what sits on top. My arms and head fly up in the air as I yelped from pain. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't keep the yelp in or at least quiet. Tears start sneaking out again. But then a few seconds later, she is back to pushing down with all her might, and I don't feel the pain as bad. What do you know, she must know what she is doing! ;)
I'm super sore. I feel as though I have bruises on my lower back, butt, and hip area —as if someone just stood over me and poked me repeatedly with a big stick. lol Or maybe sore like when you get a shot right into the deepest part of your muscle. She showed me my 'at home' exercises. She told me to stop the planks, push-ups, and sit ups —that they are only making things worse for me right now because they are working on the wrong muscles, causing strain and stiffening up all the areas where I'm really needing to relieve the pain. huh! I had no idea!
I love how she excitedly said, "Ooh, you're doing great! You're gonna be easy! I appreciate that you came with such an open mind and willingness..." I did everything she told me to do —regardless of the amount of pain it caused. I had already psyched myself to push through the hour and complain later. Now, I don't care if she tells everyone how great they're doing (which she probably does!) and how easy they are going to be . . . it worked to lift my spirits and help me stay focused on being the perfect patient (meaning no complaining).
So, now I've been laying in bed, frustrated that my pain medication didn't take my pain away! My motivation towards the end of the appointment was the thought of cuddling up in bed and letting the pain pill take the pain away. I know that it will get better. I know that there will be a moment, some day, where I stop and realize that what I just did didn't cause the excruciating pain it's been known to cause.
I have 11 more visits before we can determine what comes next. I'm really hoping that each visit is NOT the same as today's...