PT and Me

The doctor used the word "athlete," and I turned to look over my shoulder.

"You talkin' to me?" I asked her. "I'm the only one here. You talkin' to me?"

My kindergarten report card forever branded me as a non-athlete ("Amy can't skip," it declared). I was kicked out of ballet and tap as a child, and though I played doubles tennis in high school, it never solved any of my basic coordination issues.

So when my GP--who happens to specialize in sports medicine--called me an "athlete," I was taken aback. My knee problem is a common condition among "athletes."

Two revelations right there: I'm an athlete, and all these various pains and aches I'm getting come with the territory.

I tend to be somewhat of a fatalist. The other day I had writer's block while working on a article that's due soon, and I was convinced it was all over for me--the magic was gone, never to return again. Each time I get some pain or physical problem, the same thing happens: I'm pretty sure I'll never lift weights again.

So it was good to hear that injury is what happens to us "athletes." Not that I want pain or won't try to avoid it, but it helps to know that driving to physical therapy two times a week isn't too unusual.

I spent the first two sessions trying to convince my PT that really, she just needs to let me do my usual exercises at lighter weights, and not all this boring stuff. I've got to sit on a rolling stool and tool around the room by my heels? And this is going to help how?

The PT, in response, spent the first two sessions explaining to me how cartilage works, how the kind under my right knee isn't working, and how these little silly exercises will make everything all better.

Day four, and I'm starting to agree. After lots of aches and ibuprofen, I'm feeling slightly the teensiest bit better. I'm learning a lot, too; PTs come at all the stuff I'm interested in from a different angle, which helps me understand the mechanics of the body. Everything needs to work together; for example, I learned I need a stronger butt to help my knee. Who would have guessed? All the parts form a whole, and I need to get all of them functioning at their best.

So pardon me, but right now I've got to go extend my leg ten times in a row. That's what us athletes do.


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