Physical Therapy

      100 Comments on Physical Therapy

The odds are pretty good that I’m writing this between naps.  I’d forgotten how strong the urge to sleep is when recovering from surgery.  When I had shoulder surgery years ago, I entered this strange, timeless world for weeks afterwards … awake for three hours, asleep for four, awake for two more hours, asleep for five, awake for another four hours, etc.  I had to sleep sitting up in a chair.  I couldn’t work and couldn’t focus on a book, so I watched TV.  I ended up watching the HBO series The Wire from beginning to end, all five seasons.

I’m not as messed up this time around (the shoulder surgery was very invasive and massively painful) but I am sleeping more than usual.  I’m sure the pain pills have something to do with that.  I’ll get by without them for several hours at a time, then the pain kicks in out of nowhere.

The pain kicked in today because of physical therapy, my first of several upcoming sessions.  As I told the therapist, I’m not sure if people go into her profession because they’re nice and want to help others, or because it’s the only way sadists can get paid to inflict pain without going to dental school.

As you can see from the picture, the knee is still so swollen, I don’t appear to have a kneecap.  It’s as if my thigh now connects directly to my shin with no knee in between.  Not surprisingly, a leg with no apparent kneecap has limited ability to bend, so that was the sadis … er, therapist’s goal today:  bending the knee to at least 90 degrees.  We got there after several attempts.  I appreciated her help so much, when I came home I found one of the girls’ dolls that looked vaguely like the therapist and stuck pins in it.

The woman on the rack next to mine was also receiving post-operative therapy for the same procedure on the same knee from the same surgeon on the same day.  Apparently he lines up all his left-knee meniscus patients in a row and goes at it.  As someone who reads a fair bit about economics, I appreciate the efficiency.

In chatting about our injuries, I learned that the woman apparently tore her meniscus while playing tennis.  She explained that she’s giving this physical therapy all she’s got because she’s a senior-league champion and is determined to play in a tournament a month from now.  I was tempted to reply that I’m giving it all I’ve got because I plan to kick Jimmy Moore’s butt in disc golf in November, but thought better of it.

After inflicting pain on my knee for an hour, the therapist gave me two pages of detailed instructions on how to inflict the same pain on myself at home – twice per day.  Okay, if that’s what it takes to walk normally again and have my kneecap reappear, I’ll do it.  But I don’t have to like it.

As soon as I came home to begin recovery, Sara declared herself my at-home nurse and made herself a hat worthy of the role.  She’s been a huge help, bringing me snacks, drinks, fresh ice packs, etc.  She was a bit traumatized seeing me lying on a gurney in a hospital gown with an IV tube sticking out of my arm, so I think adopting the role of caretaker is partly her way of getting over it.  But mostly she’s being helpful because she’s a sweet girl who loves her daddy … although she told me today she’s going to coach me through my physical therapy at home, so I reserve the right to declare her the sister of Damian from The Omen.

I haven’t looked for any undiscovered jewels like The Wire to pass the time in my easy chair, but I have been catching up on some movies I’d saved on the DVR and watching re-runs of Seinfeld here and there.  One of these days I’d like to watch that series end to end and capture all the references to meat and fat being bad for us.  I loved that show and still find it funny, but sometimes I wonder if The Guy From CSPI was a script consultant.

I appreciate all the wishes for a speedy recovery people have posted here and on Facebook.  Chareva is serving me good recovery foods – meats, butter, farm eggs, green vegetables – and I expect to heal up quickly.

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100 thoughts on “Physical Therapy

  1. Dave RN

    DVD “Dreams of My Real Father”.

    It will make you think. You”ll have to order it off the ‘net.

    Reply
  2. Ailu

    “Chareva is serving me good recovery foods – meats, butter, farm eggs, green vegetables – and I expect to heal up quickly”

    And don’t forget – rub some bacon on it! You’ll be jumpin around in no time.
    😀

    Reply
  3. SnowDog

    What? No tattoos?

    I don’t believe in adopting fashions you can’t remove. Imagine if I had purple bell-bottom pants bolted to my legs in 1973.

    Reply
  4. Marilyn

    Rocky, maybe your cat did you a favor. If you were so allergic to your pain meds that you needed the rescue squad, what would have happened if up you had taken them when you were alone there? If you had called the rescue squad, was the door unlocked so they could have come in?

    Reply
  5. Carole

    Oh no! That makes me sad! Psych is a USA show, but the first five seasons are available for streaming on Netflix. I very highly recommend it, especially if you just want some good laughs! 🙂

    (Oh, and the first 5 minutes or so has the least kid-friendly scene of the whole series — even that is pretty tame, but I thought I’d warn you so you weren’t wondering about my definition of “kid-friendly!”)

    I appreciate the warning.

    Reply
  6. Galina L.

    Your ordeal reminds me one more time that our modern-day obsession with exercise is possible mostly due to modern conveniences like the availability of a laposcropic knee surgery. Most people in my gym who are post 45 had something done in order to correct either over-use injury or some exigent that happened long time ago and the week spot eventually gave-up as a result of their active life-style.

    With such adorable nurse you should recover in no time.

    I gave up jogging years ago when it bothered the knee. I’m not sure if I’ll be up for sprinting anymore after the surgery. That’s a conversation I’ll have with the doctor during follow-up.

    Reply
  7. Ailu

    “Chareva is serving me good recovery foods – meats, butter, farm eggs, green vegetables – and I expect to heal up quickly”

    And don’t forget – rub some bacon on it! You’ll be jumpin around in no time.
    😀

    Reply
  8. SnowDog

    What? No tattoos?

    I don’t believe in adopting fashions you can’t remove. Imagine if I had purple bell-bottom pants bolted to my legs in 1973.

    Reply
  9. Marilyn

    Rocky, maybe your cat did you a favor. If you were so allergic to your pain meds that you needed the rescue squad, what would have happened if up you had taken them when you were alone there? If you had called the rescue squad, was the door unlocked so they could have come in?

    Reply
  10. Mat

    This brings back memories for me Tom.

    Snapped my anterior cruciate ligament when I was 17 and tore my meniscus at the same time!

    2 bouts of surgery (meniscus first) and then an ACL reconstruction.

    Atrophy after the ACL reconstruction meant I lost 2 inches from my thigh (I had been pressing 80kg to strengthen my thigh before the op and it ended up 1 inch bigger!

    All the best with the PT (torture!)

    I hope I can get back to lifting at my previous level.

    Reply
  11. Mat

    This brings back memories for me Tom.

    Snapped my anterior cruciate ligament when I was 17 and tore my meniscus at the same time!

    2 bouts of surgery (meniscus first) and then an ACL reconstruction.

    Atrophy after the ACL reconstruction meant I lost 2 inches from my thigh (I had been pressing 80kg to strengthen my thigh before the op and it ended up 1 inch bigger!

    All the best with the PT (torture!)

    I hope I can get back to lifting at my previous level.

    Reply
  12. Travis

    Hope you have a speedy recovery, Tom. If you need a little light reading, it’s hard to go wrong with anything by Terry Pratchett.

    Reply
  13. darMA

    Hope you have a speedy, if somewhat painful recovery. However, you should really be ashamed of yourself. Somewhere in the world the model for that doll is telling her doctor: “these darned shooting pains, they just came out of nowhere!”.

    I hadn’t thought of that.

    Reply
  14. Kathy

    Seems our tastes run differently than most, but here are my favs. Sorry, not very kid-friendly – maybe for late night when you’ve slept most of the day. I don’t care for the language in Weeds, but tolerate it because I really like the quirkiness.

    Weeds
    Dexter

    Kid -friendly……..

    The Big Bang Theory
    I just love these guys. The actor who plays Sheldon has the most amazing ability to deliver lines that he can’t begin to comprehend! (His admission, not my judgement)

    If cute nurses make for a speedy recovery, you’re covered!

    The only one I’ve never seen is The Big Bang Theory.

    Reply
  15. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat Pe

    “Psych” is on USA network. Lots of fun.

    I’m glad not to be able to play, “My rehab sucks more than your rehab.” With the herniated disk, rehab is mostly learning what *not* to do to avoid aggravating it, then core exercises to provide support around it. Increasing range of motion is exactly what I want to avoid at this point.

    Reply
  16. Travis

    Hope you have a speedy recovery, Tom. If you need a little light reading, it’s hard to go wrong with anything by Terry Pratchett.

    Reply
  17. Bill

    Here’s something you don’t see every day on the web, well, except for your site and a handful of others, an article (from Yahoo) that basically supports your/our point of view about cholesterol.

    http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/cholesterol-myths-may-surprise-you

    Interesting point of view…from life insurance companies. They gamble on what or what does not kill a person. Looks like they pretty much ignore the American Heart Association and cardiac doctors opinion on matters. I’d love it if life insurance companies would actually jack-up rates if you’re on a statin.

    Regarding physical therapists…it’s my understanding that they only know 5 words… “Tell me when it hurts.”

    Wow, that’s surprising. Now I’m wondering why health insurance companies don’t make the same connection.

    Reply
  18. darMA

    Hope you have a speedy, if somewhat painful recovery. However, you should really be ashamed of yourself. Somewhere in the world the model for that doll is telling her doctor: “these darned shooting pains, they just came out of nowhere!”.

    I hadn’t thought of that.

    Reply
  19. Osama Elmageid

    I like what’s on the menu for your recovery. Just do not forget the coconut oil =).

    I’ve been some of that in my coffee.

    Reply
  20. Kathy

    Seems our tastes run differently than most, but here are my favs. Sorry, not very kid-friendly – maybe for late night when you’ve slept most of the day. I don’t care for the language in Weeds, but tolerate it because I really like the quirkiness.

    Weeds
    Dexter

    Kid -friendly……..

    The Big Bang Theory
    I just love these guys. The actor who plays Sheldon has the most amazing ability to deliver lines that he can’t begin to comprehend! (His admission, not my judgement)

    If cute nurses make for a speedy recovery, you’re covered!

    The only one I’ve never seen is The Big Bang Theory.

    Reply
  21. gallier2

    To give a more Euro perspective, you should watch “The IT Crowd” from Britain. It’s excellent. As an IT sort of guy you should appreciate the references. There were 4 seasons of 6 episodes.
    But don’t even think of trying to watch the US remake of it, it stinks incredibly (only the German remake stinks even more).

    Reply
  22. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat People

    “Psych” is on USA network. Lots of fun.

    I’m glad not to be able to play, “My rehab sucks more than your rehab.” With the herniated disk, rehab is mostly learning what *not* to do to avoid aggravating it, then core exercises to provide support around it. Increasing range of motion is exactly what I want to avoid at this point.

    Reply
  23. Bill

    Here’s something you don’t see every day on the web, well, except for your site and a handful of others, an article (from Yahoo) that basically supports your/our point of view about cholesterol.

    http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/cholesterol-myths-may-surprise-you

    Interesting point of view…from life insurance companies. They gamble on what or what does not kill a person. Looks like they pretty much ignore the American Heart Association and cardiac doctors opinion on matters. I’d love it if life insurance companies would actually jack-up rates if you’re on a statin.

    Regarding physical therapists…it’s my understanding that they only know 5 words… “Tell me when it hurts.”

    Wow, that’s surprising. Now I’m wondering why health insurance companies don’t make the same connection.

    Reply
  24. Sally Myles

    I do get what you’re saying about The Newsroom, but not knowing that much about US politics I’ve taken from it the message that mass media (and in particular News media) is pretty good at pushing just one agenda (agendum??) and that there are always two sides to every story.
    I’d wager that at grass roots the differences between the parties are as wide as the Grand Canyon, but that more and more politicians are going for the lowest common denominator and voting for the stuff that gets them re-elected, even if it flies in the face of party doctrine. That certainly has happened here in the UK. The lines are blurred, to say the least. Politicians are just whores, they get into bed with anyone and the reasons aren’t usually as pure as a sex worker’s.
    If you like UK shows, one to watch is The Thick of It, it’s political but practically parodies the Blair establishment and the spin doctors. And don’t watch the movie with Russell Crowe, but the series State of Play was very good. Again a bit political, but highlighting how bent and corporate modern politics are.

    Politicians definitely are motivated by what will get them re-elected. That’s why our Congress can’t get serious about reducing the mounting debt that’s going to crush us in the long term. It’s easier politically to keep dumping the debts on my kids.

    Reply
  25. Osama Elmageid

    I like what’s on the menu for your recovery. Just do not forget the coconut oil =).

    I’ve been some of that in my coffee.

    Reply
  26. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat Pe

    Now I’m wondering why health insurance companies don’t make the same connection.

    Tom, Tom, Tom … They have made the connection. You’ve got to think long term, and follow the money.

    What happens when the health insurance companies tell people how to eat to prevent chronic illness? People stop getting chronic illness. What happens when people stop getting chronic illness? They start wondering why they’re paying a thousand dollars a month for insurance.

    Besides that, I’ll bet if you looked at the boards of directors and major stockholders of insurance companies and pharmaceuticals companies you’d see a lot of overlap.

    Reply
  27. gallier2

    To give a more Euro perspective, you should watch “The IT Crowd” from Britain. It’s excellent. As an IT sort of guy you should appreciate the references. There were 4 seasons of 6 episodes.
    But don’t even think of trying to watch the US remake of it, it stinks incredibly (only the German remake stinks even more).

    Reply
  28. Sally Myles

    I do get what you’re saying about The Newsroom, but not knowing that much about US politics I’ve taken from it the message that mass media (and in particular News media) is pretty good at pushing just one agenda (agendum??) and that there are always two sides to every story.
    I’d wager that at grass roots the differences between the parties are as wide as the Grand Canyon, but that more and more politicians are going for the lowest common denominator and voting for the stuff that gets them re-elected, even if it flies in the face of party doctrine. That certainly has happened here in the UK. The lines are blurred, to say the least. Politicians are just whores, they get into bed with anyone and the reasons aren’t usually as pure as a sex worker’s.
    If you like UK shows, one to watch is The Thick of It, it’s political but practically parodies the Blair establishment and the spin doctors. And don’t watch the movie with Russell Crowe, but the series State of Play was very good. Again a bit political, but highlighting how bent and corporate modern politics are.

    Politicians definitely are motivated by what will get them re-elected. That’s why our Congress can’t get serious about reducing the mounting debt that’s going to crush us in the long term. It’s easier politically to keep dumping the debts on my kids.

    Reply
  29. Brian

    I’m going to PT school to help people get better, not to inflict pain. However, I haven’t actually gotten the chance to inflict any pain on anyone yet so you never know, my intentions may change!

    Good luck with your rehab and recovery!

    You may find you enjoy that inflicting pain part. I asked my therapist if I reminded her of an ex-boyfriend she doesn’t like. She assured me she doesn’t hold grudges against any of her previous boyfriends.

    Reply
  30. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat People

    Now I’m wondering why health insurance companies don’t make the same connection.

    Tom, Tom, Tom … They have made the connection. You’ve got to think long term, and follow the money.

    What happens when the health insurance companies tell people how to eat to prevent chronic illness? People stop getting chronic illness. What happens when people stop getting chronic illness? They start wondering why they’re paying a thousand dollars a month for insurance.

    Besides that, I’ll bet if you looked at the boards of directors and major stockholders of insurance companies and pharmaceuticals companies you’d see a lot of overlap.

    Reply
  31. Brian

    I’m going to PT school to help people get better, not to inflict pain. However, I haven’t actually gotten the chance to inflict any pain on anyone yet so you never know, my intentions may change!

    Good luck with your rehab and recovery!

    You may find you enjoy that inflicting pain part. I asked my therapist if I reminded her of an ex-boyfriend she doesn’t like. She assured me she doesn’t hold grudges against any of her previous boyfriends.

    Reply
  32. JuneBug

    Yes, PT can be painfull, but the alternative is worse. I’m sure yout therapist will be happy to share stories of people who didn’t listen to her and didn’t follow through with the therapy. They are now permanently hobbled. So get out there and show them what a body fueled by grass-fed beef can do!

    Yup, I went through a lot of PT pain with my shoulder to get the range of motion back.

    Reply
  33. Mats the swede

    There is a swedish saying rougly translated “beloved child has many names” and it seems like that is the case with physical sadist, terrorist etc;) The explaination I have heard is that the pain makes the body realese chemicals of some sort that speeds up recovery. But of course that could just be lies our physicians tell us to justify inflicting more pain on us… 😉

    That sounds like physical therapist propaganda to me.

    Reply
  34. Mats the swede

    There is a swedish saying rougly translated “beloved child has many names” and it seems like that is the case with physical sadist, terrorist etc;) The explaination I have heard is that the pain makes the body realese chemicals of some sort that speeds up recovery. But of course that could just be lies our physicians tell us to justify inflicting more pain on us… 😉

    That sounds like physical therapist propaganda to me.

    Reply
  35. emi11n

    For entertainment I recommend “Wallander”. It’s a couple of miniseries that aired on PBS based on a series of detective novels by Henning Mankell. It’s filmed in Sweden and has a very different atmosphere than most murder mystery shows. The title character is also not your typical tv detective. Also not a show for the kids(the murders are pretty brutal)but it’s very engrossing, great television.

    Reply
  36. emi11n

    For entertainment I recommend “Wallander”. It’s a couple of miniseries that aired on PBS based on a series of detective novels by Henning Mankell. It’s filmed in Sweden and has a very different atmosphere than most murder mystery shows. The title character is also not your typical tv detective. Also not a show for the kids(the murders are pretty brutal)but it’s very engrossing, great television.

    Reply
  37. Chris Crosby

    I would also highly recommend THE IT CROWD (one of my all-time favorites), as well as another British series, the current run of DOCTOR WHO.

    You also might want to give LOUIE a try. Funny experimental sitcom starring comedian Louie C.K. And if you really want to walk on the wild side of comedy, give JON BENJAMIN HAS A VAN a try! (All of these are on Netflix.)

    Get well soon!

    Reply
  38. Hitssquad

    Tom,

    Are you aware that certain antioxidants have been found to be equally as effective at pain relief as “pain relievers”?:
    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/antipain.htm

    “COLUMBUS, Ohio – Antioxidant-based pain killers may one day become a viable alternative to addictive medications such as morphine.

    Researchers found that synthetic antioxidants practically eradicated pain-like behavior in nearly three-quarters of mice with inflamed hind paws.”

    “The antioxidants used in this study – PBN (phenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone), TEMPOL (4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxy) and NAC (N-acetyl-L-cysteine) – aren’t the same as those found in fruits and vegetables, and two, PBM and TEMPOL, are currently only available for scientific purposes. NAC is available as a dietary supplement.”

    PBN has actually been available to individuals from labs for a decade. The trick is to not tell them what you’re planning on using it for, or just say you want to use it for “research”.

    Interesting stuff.

    Reply
  39. Hitssquad

    Tom,

    Are you aware that certain antioxidants have been found to be equally as effective at pain relief as “pain relievers”?:
    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/antipain.htm

    “COLUMBUS, Ohio – Antioxidant-based pain killers may one day become a viable alternative to addictive medications such as morphine.

    Researchers found that synthetic antioxidants practically eradicated pain-like behavior in nearly three-quarters of mice with inflamed hind paws.”

    “The antioxidants used in this study – PBN (phenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone), TEMPOL (4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxy) and NAC (N-acetyl-L-cysteine) – aren’t the same as those found in fruits and vegetables, and two, PBM and TEMPOL, are currently only available for scientific purposes. NAC is available as a dietary supplement.”

    PBN has actually been available to individuals from labs for a decade. The trick is to not tell them what you’re planning on using it for, or just say you want to use it for “research”.

    Interesting stuff.

    Reply
  40. Gina

    Aloha Tom….I know Im a little late to the pain party and I hope you are feeling much more flexible by now.
    I just had to tell you how good it felt to laugh about the sadistic PT…ha! Ive told my girl (frozen shoulder with rotator cuff tear, surgery still pending) I wondered if she sat up nights dreaming of new and improved ways to make me groan and yelp in public!
    Thanks for the laughter Tom you do know how to turn life into a smile.
    Be Well, Aloha, Gina
    PS oh yeah just wait till you are torturing yourself 5x a day, eeeek!

    The flexibility is improving. I went through a frozen shoulder some years ago, so you have my sympathies.

    Reply
  41. Low Carb Master

    I wish you a speedy recovery. I am currently having back problems myself. Hurt my back deadlifting twice in a row. I have some scarred tissue that’s killing me now. The body is a great healer, its time we trust it instead of trying to trick it, eh?

    I understand the appeal of deadlifts, but the potential for back injury is the reason I don’t do them. The Older Brother and my son Zack have both had back surgery and I don’t want to join them.

    Reply
  42. Gina

    Aloha Tom….I know Im a little late to the pain party and I hope you are feeling much more flexible by now.
    I just had to tell you how good it felt to laugh about the sadistic PT…ha! Ive told my girl (frozen shoulder with rotator cuff tear, surgery still pending) I wondered if she sat up nights dreaming of new and improved ways to make me groan and yelp in public!
    Thanks for the laughter Tom you do know how to turn life into a smile.
    Be Well, Aloha, Gina
    PS oh yeah just wait till you are torturing yourself 5x a day, eeeek!

    The flexibility is improving. I went through a frozen shoulder some years ago, so you have my sympathies.

    Reply
  43. Low Carb Master

    I wish you a speedy recovery. I am currently having back problems myself. Hurt my back deadlifting twice in a row. I have some scarred tissue that’s killing me now. The body is a great healer, its time we trust it instead of trying to trick it, eh?

    I understand the appeal of deadlifts, but the potential for back injury is the reason I don’t do them. The Older Brother and my son Zack have both had back surgery and I don’t want to join them.

    Reply
  44. Galina L.

    Your ordeal reminds me one more time that our modern-day obsession with exercise is possible mostly due to modern conveniences like the availability of a laposcropic knee surgery. Most people in my gym who are post 45 had something done in order to correct either over-use injury or some exigent that happened long time ago and the week spot eventually gave-up as a result of their active life-style.

    With such adorable nurse you should recover in no time.

    I gave up jogging years ago when it bothered the knee. I’m not sure if I’ll be up for sprinting anymore after the surgery. That’s a conversation I’ll have with the doctor during follow-up.

    Reply

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