ATILLA THE HONEY
1 August 2003
Today I had my first appointment with the physical therapist. As soon as Dr. Mitchell
said "physical therapy" last week, even though I welcomed anything that was
going to get me back into shape as soon as humanly possible, I had the vision of some
hulking Amazon who would poke and pull and pummel and yes, I knew I'd benefit from her
ministrations, but I didn't think it was going to be a pleasant day, especially since I'd
been given a 30 minute appointment. Most Kaiser appointments hardly last long enough to
take a breath.
Between making the appointment and going to it, I read Haggie's entry about her own
physical therapy, and that gave me hope that it might not be as painful as I expected.
At 11 a.m., I presented myself to Ortho 2 and sat to wait for Ann.
By 11:05 she was leading me to what looked like it used to be a broom closet (I
recognized it--I used to work in a closet too!) filled with various implements--including
an exercise bike that looks just like mine.
"Sit on the table," she said, sitting herself opposite me with lots of air
space between us. This was encouraging.
She took a brief history while I asked her my most pressing question: "what can
you tell me about my knee?" In all of my previous appointments, the knee has been
pretty much glossed over, but it's still tight when I bend it and I'm afraid that I'm
going to do damage to it.
Bless her heart, she spent about 5 minutes explaining to me that not only were the
tissues bruised, but probably the bone was bruised as well (especially considering that
I'd re-injured the knee by tripping and falling on the concrete a month after the initial
injury). She said that it's not unusual (emphasis important) for the
"tight" feeling to last as long as a year. Naturally I'm not happy to
hear that, but at least it's not something horrible.
I asked her about the exercise bike. She said she thought it might even help the knee,
even though it becomes more inflamed after I use the bike. She recommended using an ice
pack on the knee after riding for a bit, and suggests starting with 5 minutes, as I had
So I'll be back on the bike again. Five minutes at a time, followed by some time with
an ice pack (we're going to actually buy an ice pack instead of relying on leaky baggies).
Next we moved on to the shoulder.
"I want you to do this," she instructed, lifting her arms up in the air
in the manner of a last act finale. I did what she asked. Her eyebrows went up. "Oh!
That's very good," she said, in surprise. I had more mobility than she expected me
Very gently she led me through all of the exercises I'd been doing, did some very
gentle manipulation to see just where the "catches" are and where I need to
She added more exercises to the routine, including some stretches with some rubber
tubing, and extended the length of time I do the exercises, always pointing out that if it
hurts very badly, I'm doing too much and to cut back.
She made a follow up appointment for August 11 and then said goodbye.
Where was the moaning? Where was the pain?
I left feeling just great, and eager to start on the new routine, adding the new
exercises into what I've already been doing.
When we left, we stopped at a Mongolian barbecue for lunch. We also stopped at this
same place last week. I was in my immobilizer then and ate my lunch with a fork, using my
right hand. When we got home that day, I took off the immobilizer and struggled to get a
spoon up to my mouth to eat some yogurt, using my left hand. Today, I ate my Mongolian
barbecue with chopsticks, using my left hand.
I've come a long way in a week.