Today I told my physical therapist to visit my blog because I’d written about his kind and patient ways. Mortified at the possibility of having overstated things, I ran home to check it out. Not surprisingly, all posts relative to physical therapy are mostly about me. My explicit appreciation of his work and my heartfelt accolades for him are overdue. So I will say that every time I’ve shown up confused about how my foot feels, or unable to say what makes it hurt, or what I did that made it swell, for nearly a year now, he’s been convincingly pretending that that is normal. That that is a reasonable way to conduct life with one’s foot, ignorant of its well-being, ignorant of its status, and ignorant of its obvious connection to the rest of the body. According to him, when I first arrived last year, I was blithely satisfied with all that ignorance. He says he had to run us through a gauntlet of at least ten questions every time to get to the bottom of the status of my foot, aware that this key body part had been in a state of divorce from the rest of me. You see, ninety-nine per cent of the time I have the very handy ability to turn off the switch between my foot and my brain, happily avoiding the messy problems of dysfunction and pain. But he hinted at a world of integration, cooperation, and awareness I only dreamed of, if only to satisfy his incessant questions.
The day after visiting my doctor and falsely informing him that all was just fine with my aching foot, I felt free to confess this sin to my kind and understanding physical therapist because we both knew, since we discussed it at length three times a week, that the ankle had actually been feeling mighty lousy, and that I was just playing out my role as a longstanding divorcee of my appendage. We both knew this to be a significant blunder but instead of dressing me down, he helped me rehearse what to say next time, basing the words I used on the truth of what we both saw quite frequently.
Sometimes I took the discomforts of having my foot isolated as a point of discussion to my psychotherapist. He helped me face the confusion so I could cope with the fears of trusting ‘some guy’ with my foot, since I noticed that I often irrationally worried the physical therapist might hurt me. When I reported all this the next time the PT had my foot in his hand, he didn’t flinch, just kept me talking.
So, today, I award myself a theoretical gold star for showing up having stopped myself from swimming, one of my few sanctioned exercises right now, because my elbow hurt, asking my friendly professional for advice. This prompted him to flatter me with the great good news of personal growth in the form of greater body awareness! Yay! I know that my elbow hurts and I am not overusing it today! So this is my note of thanks for gently leading me down the path of a more satisfactory union between body and brain, and making it evident that I might want to continue to work on making the two friends.