I’ve had more physical therapy than ever imagined possible, but I can walk 3 mph (on pavement) and I’m using my hip joint like a legit walker. I’m standing up straighter and dreaming about X-country skiing.
I’ve also faced some realities. My therapist is applying to Medicare for an extension on my therapy. Even though I’ve achieved the stated goals of a person after hip replacement, I have not yet achieved MY goals in rehabilitation. It’s a win-win thing. They need my business and I’m very happy to have a personal trainer (who is also a person I like) and an almost private gym.
I’m the ideal physical therapy patient. I WANT to improve. I understand physical activity, I’m movitated to follow instructions and try things. I went into it with certain goals (and a few dreams) but my recent physical therapy induced existential meltdown a couple weeks ago led me to the place where I am now.
I’m probably not going to run again or do lots of severe hills. Somewhere in my mind and heart this has been working itself out in the realization that for the past few years, in severe pain, I’ve had a good time walking my dogs 1 mile an hour around a small loop trail in one little place. I had enormous pleasure just in that small “hike” (not the pain part). As all that was going on, I was being taught by my own self things I had not begun to be aware of.
Our bodies ARE our minds.
So today I had a sit-down with my therapist. “We need to talk,” I said. Half-joking. I’d been reticent about asking what we are doing now and thought we might actually BE breaking up. He explained how the Medicare thing would work, and I explained my realizations about the objective reality of my age-related physical limitations. We both agreed that I’ve done incredibly well, but I want (and can achieve) more in terms of flexibility and strength for the purpose of being safer on an uneven mountain trail. Pain creates a little “being” of its own in our mind/body and the main drive of that “being” is fear as a self-protection tool. Fear stiffens us where we’re weak. It’s human nature. It’s the same thing as a kid not wanting to try learning something new for fear of failing, or a guy not wanting to ask out a pretty girl for fear of rejection, in a way. I’m fighting that and physical therapy helps me fight it. Not all the limitations are purely physical. As I said, our bodies ARE our minds.
So we spent my session today moving forward, literally.