Photography Fridays are becoming a semi-regular event instead of a weekly event, aren't they?
I had my "evaluation" at the hospital-run physical therapy facility yesterday. I was dreading going, for many reasons. I tried to keep an open mind about the whole thing, but I'd be lying if I said I wanted to be there.
The facility is huge and busy.
When I first walked in I saw nothing but old men on treadmills and I cringed.
Don't get me wrong – I love old men. They melt my heart. I just felt very out of place. I didn't feel like I belonged there.
I had a little talk with myself, within the confines of my own head.
Do you ever do that?
I reminded myself that PT with The Torturer was like a second home for me, and of course no other place would feel the same. I lived, for a time, six days a week at The Torturer's. Of course, everyone at the hospital was a stranger and not my friend. Of course, there was no Torturer to laugh and tease with and, of course, there was no nice J. at the front reception desk.
"Give it a chance," I told myself.
"No one here is laughing or smiling," my inner voice argued.
After filling out a million forms, and a short wait, The Divine Ruler showed up to escort me back. I've named her The Divine Ruler because during my hour and a half visit with her she repeatedly told me "what the rules are" and frequently piped up with "and that's another rule for you to follow."
It reminded me of being in elementary school.
I think The Torturer would snort out loud at the thought of me following anyone's "rules."
Clearly, The Divine Ruler does not, yet, know me.
Divine Ruler escorted me past the large room with all the old men to another section of the facility. I saw some younger faces in my new location and felt less out of place. It was there I was able to appraise her.
The Ruler isn't tall, but she has a semi-athletic build. She wears her long dark hair in a ponytail and has the look of a drill sergeant. In an attempt to assure me of her kindness, she frequently touched me with a reassuring hand as we talked.
Divine Ruler was confused by my situation.
Who wouldn't be?
We spent a good half hour going over my six surgeries since the car accident. She couldn't keep them straight and I don't blame her. I can't keep them straight myself sometimes.
She tried to reassure me of how competent everyone is who works at the hospital facility. I'm sure they are.
"You're in good hands here," she said repeatedly.
I'm sure everyone who works there is nice.
I'm also sure I'm not the first patient who has walked in begrudgingly, and without any real hope left to speak of.
She grimaced when she heard the details of one of my surgeries. (My third or fourth – I don't remember which now.)
When we were done reviewing my history, she informed me she'd be calling my orthopedic surgeon to get a better understanding of my situation.
(Waving to Dr. S. if he happens to be reading today!)
Divine Ruler was very happy about the new medications from the pain management specialist.
"Excellent medications!" she exalted, when she heard what I was taking.
Everyone I know, in the medical field, seems to be telling me the same thing. "It will take awhile for your body to adjust, you'll feel tired and really out of it at first, but in a few weeks your body will adjust and your pain will decrease."
So why has it taken four years for anyone to prescribe these meds for me?
Is it possible, I didn't need to go through this level of hell in the first place? I mean, it's been no secret that the nerves in my shoulder/arm area have been freaking out ever since the accident.
The sense of starting.all.f*cking.over.again weighed heavily on me while I was going through my evaluation. After reviewing my history, The Divine Ruler took measurements of my range of motion. While she announced the degrees of motion cheerfully, I sat silent.
There wasn't much to be cheerful about with numbers like that.
"The Torturer would die if he knew how much of our hard work has been lost," is all I could think.
Lost, lost, lost …. all that hard work – for nothing.
It was extremely discouraging.
We did very little in terms of actual physical therapy. In fact, Divine Ruler informed me it will take a minimum of three weeks for the medication to build in my bloodstream to the point where it can start calming down the hyperactive pain impulses from my nerves. She only wants to see me once a week until the meds can kick in so PT doesn't induce yet another flare up.
She talked a little bit about some of the things she'd be trying with me soon. Every exercise/activity she mentioned was something I've done in the past with The Torturer. Maybe she'll have some new things to try too, but it didn't sound like it. That didn't surprise me … I gave up believing in magic bullets to fix me a long time ago.
When I left the facility, an hour and a half after I arrived, I was just … depressed.
I got to my car and texted The Torturer, "Can you talk?"
Apparently he texted me back and told me to come by and visit him, but I never got the text.
Later in the day he called me.
It helped to talk to him. He has urged me to go to a pain specialist for a long time and is glad I finally have. He had told me not to jump back into PT until my pain levels were under control, and so he agrees with the once a week (at most) PT visits until the meds kick in.
He also acknowledged how difficult it is for people to understand severe, chronic, pain. He reminded me, "No one can know what it feels like but you."
I know that only too well.
More importantly, he promised me I'm not starting over even if it feels like I am.
Of course, he doesn't know how bad my range of motion is right now … but I appreciate the encouragement anyway. I forced myself to think back to when I couldn't move my arm at all.
No, I guess I'm not starting over completely.
Every ounce of me is silently screaming, "I don't want to do this!"
Sometimes … life sucks.
© Twenty Four At Heart