Renner: Life is a Trip Part III - PT 101
Since I have never had a broken bone before or any surgery requiring rehab -- yet -- I never had the physical therapy experience. Eventually, I got to the point where the broken fifth metatarsal bone in my foot needed physical therapy. I remember distinctly that appointment with my doctor and the three things he told me:
-- "You are what we identify as a delayed healer." He wanted to say, I have never in my 38 years of practicing orthopedic medicine seen a bone heal so slowly. I have 98-year-olds that heal faster than you do.
-- "You need to wear the CamBoot another 4 weeks." He wanted to say: There isn't an alarm clock on the planet that is safe if I let you loose without the protection of the Boot.
-- "You will need to start physical therapy." He wanted to say: Let the torture begin!
Dutifully, I made an appointment at the same place I went to crutch school. Even though I had only been there once before, I was sure they remembered me staggering around on my crutches like a drunken sailor.
I went to my first appointment with hopes that my crutch instructor would now be the one who helped me and my sagging leg muscles back to normalcy. (Wait, sagging leg muscles are normal for me.) But I think they had a staff meeting and actually drew straws to see who would have to take me.
Much to my dismay and his, Mr. Distinguished Jock Of All Times drew the short straw. One look at him and I knew in his day he was the captain of the football team, a.k.a. the homecoming king, and I also would wager he was the player that made the winning layup to win the state basketball championship with 2 seconds remaining on the clock in double overtime. He also looked like he broke the hurdles record in a three-state region.
Needless to say, when I told him I broke my foot by tripping over an alarm clock, he looked at me blankly and said, "Did you have possession of the ball at the time?" I could have burst into tears right then and there but I hadn't even taken off the boot yet and I already paid the stupid co-pay.
Lucky for me, Mr. I Never In My Entire Life Even Stubbed My Toe had a pretty, young intern from the University of North Dakota. Whatever she thought about my freak accident, she showed nothing but sympathy for me. I welcomed it and it help keep the tears at bay. Much to my relief, she did the whole assessment of my foot process. I had filled out some preliminary paperwork and we were going over that information. One of the things I had to fill out was a Foot and Ankle Ability Measure questionnaire.
I had to rate different activities of what I could do from "no difficulty" to "unable to do." For example, I have moderate difficulty going downstairs. I go down sideways, holding onto the banister with both hands for dear life and planting both feet on each stair before taking the next step. Now that I write it, maybe I should have answered "extreme difficulty."
Miss Nice Intern and I were going over my medical history and having a nice conversation about the both of us being allergic to Sulfa. Evidently, Mr. I Run Up The Stairs Skipping Three At A Time was looking over my FAAM form and immediately noticed the question marks I had put by a couple of the activities and interrupted to ask if I really didn't know if I could walk up and down hills.
Now I looked at him blankly. Ah, no. I don't walk up and down hills. I barely walked anywhere with this boot, much less up and down hills. He still looked at me doubtfully, like I should be having this experience daily. I asked him if the incline from the parking lot to Walmart constitutes a hill. He didn't think so.
I said to complete the questionnaire by marking I am unable to walk up and down hills. By now I was really confused. I kept asking myself if normal people walk up and down hills every day. And if they do, where are these hills? We live in Dickinson, which isn't exactly hill country of the Northern Plains. There are a few hills in Dickinson, but I certainly have not sought them out to test if I could walk up and down them.
I was really glad that I had decided to lay and put down "extremely difficult" for the squatting activity. I can't remember the last time I needed to squat. Maybe it was the last time I ran up and down hills and had to stop and pee.
Anyway, Miss Nice Intern used these flexible plastic angle measuring devices to compare the range of movement between my good foot and the broken foot. I have no idea how the measurements were coming out because those two were talking Greek to me.
Well, actually I think they were talking Latin. Mr. I Graduated Summa Cum Laude And Valedictorian From The Physical Training University kept asking his intern a lot of high-level technical questions and the name of various bones in the foot.
To his credit, he was doing the right thing for her. I did admire him for taking the time to challenge her knowledge. She was there to learn from the best and that she will. I did feel twinges of sympathy for her when she didn't get the right answer. She evidently has her own mountains to climb. But she is young, smart and not going through menopause. No problem for her to keep the tears at bay.
Miss Nice Intern also showed me various exercises I needed to do at home. Some involved a thin band of elastic rubber that I was to put around my foot to stretch out my ankle in various directions. I only imagined the band slipping off my foot and going in the direction of snapping me in the face.
I was also to practice standing only on my sore, broken left foot and moving my right leg in various directions. Unfortunately I couldn't do it. As soon as I lifted my right foot 1 inch off the ground, my left foot wobbled like I was standing on a poorly inflated beach ball and I would have to catch my shoulder to the wall to keep from toppling over.
Miss Not-so-nice Intern didn't know what to do about this inability of mine to imitate a flamingo bird, so she said she would go ask her supervisor. I wanted to yell after her, "No, please don't get Mr. I Can Hold Jaden Smith's Pose On The Karate Kid Movie Poster for Three Hours Straight.