Anyone who’s wasted time reading this blog knows that I’m proud of one thing, something I do exceptionally well, that one specialty in life: drinking margaritas. But it recently hit me that I’ve got another talent: rehab. Call me multi-talented. I’m good at going from a fucked-up state to moderately functional again – talking physical recovery here. Not from too many margaritas.
I love PT (Physical Therapy). Have another appointment in a few hours. Speaking from personal experience with my various trainwrecks, getting a good physical therapist is crucial. As with surgeons, they’re not all the same. My recovery from my horror-show broken spine (I’ve seen a lot of spinals, dude, this guys walks! OK, sorry, I’ll try to stop with the Lebowski lines), and much simpler knee surgery, both in 2005, only reinforced it all. The surgeon is crucial. But you can’t stop there. Yeah, it’s a pain sometimes, sometimes literally, and it takes time, but what else are you going to do? Let it go to hell and accept the (sub-optimal) results? No, I went out and achieved anyway! (Sorry.) I know I might not return to 100%, but who among us is? It’s part of life. Pick up, get better, work hard, and return.
Sure, it takes some motivation. But Jesus H Christ on a mechanical bull, how can you not be motivated to get better? I suppose I shouldn’t be so harsh – motivation varies. Apparently some people need generic cheesedick motivational posters on the wall – like these two I saw at a big corporate-owned health club last week. Who comes up with these things? If something is blatantly unrealistic, it doesn’t work for me. Are people so dumbed-down that their bullshit sensors don’t go off? Maybe I’ll get me a wife-beater tank, add a little muscle-fat, puff-out my chest (and gut) and make my own, realistic, motivational posters. Actually, a company named despair.com already makes awesome, realistic de-motivational paraphernalia. Which of the below provides better motivation? If motivation has to do with reality, I’ve got the answer…
While rehabbing my spine five years ago, my PT kept telling me to back off, to not overdo it. OK (I listened.) “Man, I don’t mean to discourage you, Kelly – this is great, really it is. We have to beg most people to do just five minutes a day,” he said. I looked at him like he’d just told me that 2+2=5. It’s the sort of thing that makes me twitch and stutter, “N-n-no. No! That’s not it!” What the fuck? Don’t people want to get better??! I simply do not get it. Everyone says they don’t have time, and people definitely get busy, people have full-time-plus jobs and families and all that. But also, anybody who watches TV recreationally can’t claim they don’t have time. That means that 99%+ of Americans cannot say they don’t have time to do their PT (so says Officer Cordes). I still do ongoing back rehab – “pre-hab” I like to call it now, to prevent, or at least delay, future problems – and it’s like a part-time job, but I prefer it to the alternatives. And hell, ya can do your PT while watching the idiot box. What’s the average daily brain-rot, like three or four hours? Crazy. Much as I like Cops and big-time rasslin’, once the novelty stage wears off, I swear I can literally feel my brain turning to mush. Quite simply, that is something I cannot afford.
Where was I? Oh yeah, I lucked out in getting a longtime, experienced and active climber who specializes in orthopedic injuries and soft tissue mobility – Jeff Giddings, of Adams & Giddings Physical Therapy in Ft. Collins. Dr. Desai took care of the bones, and my future mobility increasingly depends on how the scarring and joint surfaces heal, and that’s where ongoing rehab comes into play. Jeff impressed me big-time at my first appointment last week. He got my ankle moving, thought it looked good, manually worked out some of the lymph and scar tissue, gave me instructions on doing the same at home, did some evaluations, gave me a bunch of exercises, specific things important to my specific injury, mobility exercises and stretches and ways to dissolve the scarring inside the joint that I’d have never, ever known on my own. It’s not like going to the gym and hiring some dude to go “C’mon, Champ, you can do it! One more rep!” or to have muscle-fat “Get Tough” guy mouthbreathing over my shoulder. No, not like that. I don’t need that bullshit.
It’s still a long road and plenty remains to be seen – no crystal ball, but things look good. I’m only going once a week because I can do the exercises and progression on my own – been doing them three-to-four times a day, and working mobility while sitting at my desk with my leg up. I don’t make excuses or get lazy about it (hate to break tradition by avoiding laziness, but miracles do happen).
OK, it’s almost time to, you know, put on my tank top, regain my edge, get tough, fear nothing and be invincible.