I still get a lot of people inquiring about The Torturer via emails, comments and tweets.
He's alive and doing fine.
Those of you who have read here for a long time probably have an understanding of my relationship with him, but newer readers may not. Come to think of it, I'm not sure The Torturer and I understand our relationship ourselves.
A mixture of both?
For my newer readers, let me see if I can explain briefly. The Torturer and I have known each other for 15 years. During the last four years, we have spent more time together than any two people probably should. It was primarily in the form of him torturing me (he was my physical therapist – I was in very bad shape).
There were other things going on too, however.
For instance, there were numerous days of me sobbing on him (in extreme pain). Yes, we're talking The Ugly Cry with snot dripping from my nose. The Torturer would hand me kleenex after kleenex, seemingly un-fazed by my tears.
And there was laughter – a surprising amount of laughter considering the circumstances.
There was also The Torturer getting permission from my surgeon so he could be in the operating room during my worst surgery. That is something I will be forever grateful for. It was a little easier to go through because I knew he was there.
And there was always …
And I mean ALWAYS, an incredible amount of banter and shit-giving back and forth between us.
We are friends.
We also have oil and water personalities.
We get along, we fight, we makeup, we laugh, and then we piss each other off all over again.
It's just the nature of our relationship.
He is the most difficult man on earth not an easy personality.
And, of course, I am … a piece of cake?
* Ahem *
But most of all, we are friends and I think we will be for life – whether either one of us wants to be or not.
It's just as simple as that and twice as complicated.
When my physical therapy with The Torturer ended rather abruptly last February, I think we both walked away with very hurt feelings.
Since then, we've been communicating via emails, text messages and occasional phone calls. I've asked him for arm advice, and I've given him computer advice … and on and on it goes.
On Tuesday morning, it was finally time to break the hurt-feelings-stand-off in person. After some negotiating (meaning he refused to buy me lunch), I sauntered into my old PT, which he and his partners own, as if I'd never left.
"Can someone please give me a heat pack and a massage?" I asked, before The Torturer even had time to acknowledge my presence.
He might have snorted and rolled his eyes so I went on to demand request a hug.
My visit interrupted The Torturer while he was working on a patient with a shoulder problem. (How ironic!)
I jumped onto a neighboring table, plugged in a heating pad, tossed it over my shoulder and arm and began chatting away.
The Torturer, who learned long ago not to be surprised by anything I do, attempted to act as if my behavior was quite normal. Which, I suppose, it is – for me.
"You need to stop sending me bills," I informed him.
"This is how it works, 24. If you pay your bills, they stop coming," he replied and laughed.
I rolled my eyes.
A minute later, to the amusement of others in the room, we were back in full bantering mode. It was as if we hadn't been apart for a day.
Some things never change.
And oh yes, we hurled insults at each other too because that is what we do, and we know exactly how to irk one another. Verbal sparring is our primary form of communication.
At one point he retorted, "You're SUCH an OC woman!"
I raised my eyes in shock at this extreme insult.
"I am NOT! And if you weren't so overly SENSITIVE …" I replied.
The big news with The Torturer is – he's suffering with shoulder pain lately.
Ok, I admit, I burst out laughing when I heard, but only because I thought he was joking.
"I know, I know – you're thinking karma's a bitch, aren't you?" he asked.
And I admit I giggled a little when he complained to one of the PTs who work for him that his shoulder hurt enough to keep him awake one night.
"Annoying, isn't it?" I inquired a bit too sweetly.
I thought back to the many times I dragged myself into PT utterly exhausted from being up all night with pain only to have The Torturer, unsympathetically, demand I work harder.
Of course, you do know I would never wish even a fraction of the pain I've experienced on anyone. And yet, if The Torturer HAS TO experience a little pain in his life, I might find it somewhat ironic that it's in his shoulder.
I mean, isn't that just a teeny, tiny, bit … funny?
A new patient entered the room. She too, is a shoulder patient. (But, you know, a normal shoulder patient unlike the train wreck that is my arm/shoulder/neck/chest/upper back.) She began talking to The Torturer about her shoulder and didn't stop. Seriously, I don't think she ever took a breath.
I walked over to a floor mat. I got out a big exercise ball and began putting myself through my old PT workout.
I saw The Torturer give me a somewhat incredulous glance from across the room.
I ignored him, of course, and went right on with my stretching.
(Do I dare mention it was more of a workout than I've gotten with my new PT in my first two visits combined? I don't want to inflate The Torturer's ego or anything, but he is an excellent PT.)
When I was done I glanced over at The Torturer. The woman was still spewing nonstop words from her mouth and showed no sign of coming up for air.
"I'm going to go check my email on your computer," I informed him as I walked past.
He shook his head in resigned exasperation.
What can I say? I feel very at home in that building. I spent a huge chunk of the last four years there, after all. Besides, I remember it annoyed some of the office staff when I hung out in The Torturer's office and I live to annoy people.
(heh – just kidding! sorta!)
The rest of my visit was pretty uneventful. I talked to The Torturer about my concerns with my new PT. As much as it pains me to admit it, I do respect his opinion and I also know he understands my arm situation better than anyone else. And, oh yes, as much as it pains him to admit it (and it does – a lot!), I know he cares about me and my recovery.
Is it still called a recovery if you never fully recover?
Before I left, I made a suggestion.
"You should give me a PT session … um, for free." I added sweetly.
"FREE?!" he bellowed in mock outrage.
I giggled, "Yes! FREE!"
"You would have to ask your physical therapist if that was okay," he said with just a touch of hurt in his voice.
"No, I wouldn't," I replied with a defiant grin.
He sighed and began walking down the hall.
"Hey, I need a hug before I leave," I called after him.
Grudgingly, he returned and squashed me in a bear hug.
"I'll see you for that free PT session soon," I called after him as he walked away.
I'm pretty sure I heard a "Hmmmph!" from him in the distance but I could swear he was smiling.
How much do you want to bet, my visit totally ma
de his day?
© Twenty Four At Heart