816 North Opinion

Too bad Humpty Dumpty didn’t have physical therapists

A few years ago a grub sent me to physical therapy.

Technically it was a lot of grubs. In my anger and haste to rid our front yard of the nasty intruders I over-did it while tearing out the sod. Sitting or moving sent searing bolts of pain down my legs. Eight weeks, two doctor visits, one MRI and a specialist later my whacked-out, misaligned pelvis and I met with our first physical therapist.

While I was only crooked, I felt broken. How could a couple days of yard work leave me popping the good pain meds? “Is this what aging feels like?” I wondered. As if I had a choice, I decided I wanted no part of aging and went to therapy to fight it.

I left each session a little sore, but a little less broken. I still don’t know how it works, and for the most part I barely broke a sweat while the science (magic) happened. Within two months I graduated with a slightly stronger core, a pelvis back where it belonged and a newfound respect for the process. I stuck my tongue out at the Aging Fairy.

This past year a virus sent me back to therapy. This time I really was broken: one of my vocal cords stopped working. Three doctor visits, one specialist and an MRI later I met with my second therapist.

I left each session with a voice that was still broken, but it was slowly Humpty Dumptyed back together again. Within two months I graduated with a stronger voice and an admission that this is aging. I was falling apart.

A clean jerk (the gym weight kind), two doctor visits, one specialist and an MRI later, I was again meeting with a physical therapist.

But I wasn’t the broken one, a kid was.

“No! I’m not going!” Luke was pretty sure he could talk me and his doctor out of physical therapy.

I was on auto-pilot with a time-honored mom reply. “Yes, you are, it’s not open for discussion.”

(Sometimes when my mother’s voice comes out of my mouth, she’s highly effective.)

Luke was on his second round with that injured knee. His sprained MCL was held in place with a brace but wasn’t healing like the doctor had hoped.

Like a lot of 16 year-olds, Luke’s summer routine is fairly loose. It would be such a hardship for him to add a whole hour to his packed schedule. (Yes, that’s sarcasm, another verbal skill Mom taught me.)

While his arguments eventually lost steam, he still wasn’t sold on it.

“What are they going to do? Massage it?” he asked.

“No, they are going to give you exercises.” I told him.

“I exercise it every day,” he countered.

“Your exercises are what injured it in the first place.”

For every rebuttal I gave him, he threw something else at me. (They really like to squabble, don’t they?)

He was still trying to wear me down as we walked in for his first session. Then the gym smell hit. I think it’s the scent of his people because he quieted down to a few half-hearted whispers including the kid classic: “This is dumb.”

An hour later, dripping with sweat, he got into my car.

“How was it?”

“I love therapy! What a great workout!”

The Humpty Dumpty rhyme doesn’t say Humpty is an egg, that’s the riddle of the rhyme. Bodies breaking doesn’t necessarily mean they are aging, that’s one of the riddles of life.

And unlike all the king’s men, this time a therapist will put a Vollenweider together again.

Susan Vollenweider lives in Smithville. For more of her writing, go to thehistorychicks.com.

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