Over the last month or more, I’ve been going to physical therapy a couple of times a week to try to get my shoulder to behave. You may recall my whiny post about getting the cortisone shot, and these visits are all part of the Grand Plan to get rid of the pain and avoid surgery. Even though I’ve begun to lose faith in the Plan, I still regularly go to see Neil, the PT.
Neil is a nice guy and all, but I’m beginning to question why I go back. Am I one of “those people” who craves the one-on-one attention he has to give me because I pay him to? Maybe, but it seems like this would have manifested earlier or in some other way in my life, perhaps by being a therapy junky or something. I hated counseling specifically because it was all about me, so I’m pretty sure that’s not why I’m going to PT.
Is it the way the shoulder feels following PT? I don’t think so because it never feels all that great, even when I leave. The “massages” often bring tears to my eyes and not in a good way. Neil makes me do little range of motion and strengthening exercises with stretchy bands and very light hand weights, all of which are much harder than one would expect they should be.
And then, at the end of every session, I lay under a fleecy blanket on a table with a giant icepack across my shoulder, often hooked up to a shock-stimulation thing. Fifteen minutes. He sets a timer and everything.
I’m starting to think it’s the 15 minutes that keeps me coming back. I have to just lay there. I can’t really look at my phone because it’s awkward and cold to hold it up in front of my face. No one sits and talks to me because everyone is either working or being worked on. It’s just me and my thoughts, and snippets of other people’s PT exchanges: “It hurts really bad when I . . .” “Look, I can touch my toes now!” “How long until I can ski again?” “What did you do for New Year’s?”
For 15 minutes I begin the process of letting my mind do what it wants. I say begin, because I think it would take a lot longer than a quarter of an hour for that process to really happen. As an apparent member of the ADD club, in normal life I’m constantly filling my head with something to think about. More likely, it’s so that I don’t think. Scrolling through the interwebs, listening to music, TV on in the background, I find constant stimulation so that my racing brain doesn’t drive me crazy.
I’m finding that I look forward to Neil’s walk back to the freezer to get the ice. I take a few conscious breathes, try to let my muscles settle into the table, close my eyes and absorb, reflect, release. I don’t pray. I don’t try to be rooted with the me who is on this adventure. << Gross Pointe Blank reference. Great movie if you haven’t seen it. >> I don’t think deep thoughts. I just let go.
Years ago, I tried yoga, perhaps with the same sort of goal in mind. But I found that I hated it when someone told me what I’m supposed to do to find inner peace. My entire body rebelled. It was counter-productive.
Meditation hasn’t found me yet either. I don’t have the whatever-it-is-one-needs to meditate. At least I don’t think I do. Maybe I’ll consider it more the next time I’m laying on the therapy table with a frozen shoulder.