Paul Newman and I were recently discussing how long we’ve been together.
“Together” sounds so relationship-y, but (in truth) that’s what long term physical therapy is … a relationship.
(Long term) PT won’t work well unless you have some of the same factors any good relationship, friendship or otherwise, has.
• Trust – I can’t begin to tell you how much trust it takes when you know you’ll be going to physical therapy for the long haul. (This is a big thing for me 7+ years post-accident.)
• Belief the other person will give their best effort. Everyone has meh days, but you both have to be committed if you’re going to make it work.
• Compatibility – I can’t imagine anything less motivating than disliking your PT.
• A sense of humor (this is VERY necessary if you’re working with
a smart ass Paul Newman me).
• Honesty to tell it like it is. (“It hurts when you do that.” “You did this to yourself.” Etc.)
I needed a little *more* due to Medical Nightmares From My Past –
I needed reassurance.
Yep, I was one of those chicks who wanted a long term commitment on the first date.
I was also very frustrated the day I met Paul Newman.
I had regressed quite a bit in the preceding year.
My pain flare-ups were frequent and severe.
I wanted to be able to do MORE.
My orthopedic surgeon had been nagging me to meet with Paul Newman for awhile.
I didn’t see the point in more arm-related medical appointments.
How many physical therapists had I seen at that point?
After years of swearing I’d never give up,
I think I’d given up.
I put the thought of Paul Newman on the back burner.
One day after a morning shoot in Newport Beach,
I stopped in, on a whim, to Paul Newman’s office.
I was sand covered, hot, wind-blown, and had my camera slung over my neck.
I’m sure I was quite a sight.
(Bedraggled would be the kindest of descriptions.)
I must have been in a lot of pain from shooting that morning because I had decided to make an appointment with Paul Newman for a consultation.
In truth, my expectation level of *any* physical therapist being able to really help me was at exactly zero.
Pain makes for desperation.
Paul Newman had been expecting me to contact him for awhile.
My doc had called to give him a heads up about The Most F*cked Up Upper Body/Arm/Shoulder/Neck/Etc. in world history.
During my impromptu appearance in his office,
Paul Newman surprised me by announcing he wanted to spend time with
his future career challenge me right then.
He probably thought, given a chance to escape, I’d leave and never come back.
He was, most likely, right.
After I got over the initial surprise of Paul Newman looking like Paul Newman,
I remember him, ever-so-gently, moving my arm.
No one had ever been so gentle before.
He tenderly poked and prodded my not-working upper body.
“You’re bad,” he said.
Tell me about it.
And, thus, it began.
What’s changed in the last year?
Slowly, bit by bit, the “vice” gripping the upper right quadrant of my body has begun loosening.
I don’t know the medical terminology to describe it, but I do know I FEEL much better.
(When you can’t move a body part by yourself for years on end, you NEED someone else to move it for you ….)
The extensive hardware inside of me (24 electrodes, plus wires, plus battery and charger, etc.) was removed from my body four months after I began “seeing” Paul Newman. The removal was a result of a manufacturer recall.
My pain flare-ups are (more often than not) less severe than they were in my pre-Paul-Newman days.
They’re shorter in duration too.
Of course, like anyone with Major-Messed-Up-Ness I have good days, and bad days, improvements, and setbacks.
But, overall, there’s no question I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago.
I’m on a very long journey.
It won’t be over tomorrow, or next week.
It may never be over.
I’m, without question, moving forward.
Of course, I now wish I’d gone to see Paul Newman sooner.
I can’t imagine ever again being as bad as I was these last seven-plus years.
There are no words to describe how grateful I am.
I’ve come such a long way in these last twelve months.
Today, I’m going to give my physical therapist a (sort-of-two-armed) hug.
* Happy (approximate) one year anniversary Paul Newman! *