The Torturer (my physical therapist or PT) is gone this week. I am almost beside myself with mixed emotions. There was the initial thought: "Hallelujah! A week off!" Then there was that sense of dread: "What do you mean I have to go to a substitute-PT who knows nothing whatsoever about my nightmare?" Followed by a sense of abandonment ("I don’t want someone else hurting me … I want The Torturer"). Lastly, there was a sense of adventure: "Can I maybe play hooky while he’s gone, or at least get away with going as little as possible?"
So now you’re thinking I am not very mature. You are right about that, but that is irrelevant. The point is, I have been going to PT for nearly two years. Oftentimes on a daily basis. And it hurts. Oftentimes quite a lot. I can think of all sorts of other things I would rather be doing. Things I used to do before the car accident. Some of those things I am now unable to do, but many of them I simply don’t have time to do because I am always at PT. Immediately upon hearing the news of The Torturer’s upcoming week off, my brain began to spin with ideas.
Before he left I suggested that if he needed a week off as a mental-health break then I did too. I mean, aren’t I the primary reason he needs a vacation? Being his number one and all-time favorite patient? I am quite sure I am. No one nags, whines, sobs, or swears at him quite as effectively as I do. So then, conversely, wouldn’t it be true that maybe I need a mental-health break too? From him? From PT in general? He glared at me sternly and said, "No!" (in no uncertain terms). Hmmmm. I took that to mean I should maybe wait until he actually left the building to cancel my appointments?!
Don’t get me wrong. Of course, I really, truly, want to regain use of my right arm. There is nothing I want more. However, long term PT is a grind … it wears on a person physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Am I even making any progress? It is like watching a pot boil or grass grow. Logically you know things are maybe happening, but it is at such a slow pace it is hard to believe there is progress. For every step forward it seems like there are three backwards. I am suffering PT burn-out.
So The Torturer left for lunch last Friday and I approached the office staff. Those ladies love me. I bring them treats sometimes and chat with them every time I go in. They have seen me in every state imaginable including two hours post-op when I am pretty sure I looked like the walking dead. They’ve seen me through FIVE surgical procedures. They’ve even seen me all different colors:
They have bent over backwards to help me with whatever I have needed, so canceling a few appointments should be absolutely no problem.
Except it was. They looked at me, grimaced, and said: "The Torturer will kill us if you don’t come in next week. We really can’t do that. Would you like us to have him call you so you can talk to him about it?" Well … NO! I already talked to him about it and he said I have to come in. I felt like a little kid trying to sneak something by a parent. Not that I ever did that or anything. In hindsight, I am betting that he warned them I might try this very thing.
So I went to Plan "B". I waited until the very, very, end of the day on Friday when I knew The Torturer would be eager to get out the door (off on his vacation) and not want to mess with me. I sent an email and let him know that it didn’t look like there were any available appointments with sub-PTs at times I was able to come in. I kind of let it slip right at the end of the email, that because of all this mass confusion from him taking a week off, I would probably only make it in for one appointment while he was gone. I congratulated myself that evening on my amazing ability to manipulate circumstances in a manner that The Torturer could not possibly object to. I’m a last born child which makes me pretty good at manipulation when I feel I really need to be.
Monday I walked into PT for my one-and-only appointment for the week. I gave a cheery greeting to the office staff as I prepared to find my sub-PT for the day. Mentally I was busy planning what I would do with all my free days this week. I didn’t get very far before the Office Manager flagged me down. She had big news for me. Apparently The Torturer had been in touch with her. While on vacation! She followed his orders and rearranged the patient schedule for the week to make sure I would be able to get in. She smiled sweetly and handed me a list of appointments before walking away.
Damn! It almost kills me to let him have the final say. I hate being told what to do. I also hate being out-manipulated. Now I find myself pondering whether or not there is some other way to get a few days off this week ….? Knowing all the while that if I get him too pissed off at me, I will pay for it when he gets back.