By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun
“Therapy...the treatment of disease or of any physical or mental disorder by medical or physical means, usually excluding surgery...”
I took a serious fall on my butt-bone back in mid-May and I have been in various stages of agony ever since. I have been to our family doctor, two hospitals, various X-ray and MRI facilities, an orthotic clinic, a neurosurgeon, and, pending an end-of-month decision on surgery, I am taking “core strengthening” physical therapy twice a week.
I have been fitted with a sadistic back brace that feels like carrying a back-pack full of bricks. Even the name is sadistic — Contour TLSO Sternal Pad Kit with Shoulder Straps. Getting in and out of it is a real struggle — kind of like hooking up a horse harness on a Clydesdale. It seems like every time I get harnessed up, nature calls and I have to unhitch again. The Little Woman (she hates that name) says that she is getting sick and tired of the sound of those screaming Velcro fasteners all day and night. And you would not believe the cost of this puppy! Before the Medicare reduction, it was about equal to the cost of a Clydesdale and harness.
All this doctor-place visiting is a real pain in the butt to go along with my literal pain in the butt. Every stop requires me to arrive 30 minutes early to fill out a clipboard-full of paperwork. I carry a poop-sheet with me with all my information so I can just fill out my name, address, and phone number and then enter “see attached” for the rest.
I have two therapists who work me over. The guy looks like a cross between an Olympic gymnast and a strict first sergeant. He is very precise in his speech and his demonstrations of exercise techniques and he really puts me through the paces and I am doing a little better thanks to him. He even taught me how to get in and out of bed without weeping from the pain.
The female therapist is very petite and cute and so sweet she makes Marie Osmond look like “Mother Dearest.” She fusses over me and gently leads me from machine to machine. My favorite exercise is where she has me wrap my arms around this huge rubber ball while she pushes and tugs on it from all directions and tries to take it away from me. I don’t care how cute she is, she just can’t have my ball! So there!
My sessions always end up with about 15 minutes of “hands-on” therapy with the old cocoa-butter followed by another 15 minutes of electro-therapy with ice. When all that is done, they apply a layer of icy-hot stuff and send me on my tingling way.
I have written several times about all the different places and things to see and visit in and around Sarasota, Fla. So far, all I seem to have seen is receptionists, waiting rooms, white coats, and stethoscopes. However, that being said, we (TLW and I) are thankful for having all this various medical service within short driving distances of our house. If we still lived out on Golden Pond, there is no telling how many trips we would have had to make to specialists in Tyler or Dallas.
My hope is that all this doesn’t culminate in an extended hospital stay. I have always had a kind of phobia about hospitals. They make you schlep around in gowns that are G-rated in the front and X-rated in the back. They keep you on pills and needles all the time. They always wake you up at 2 a.m. to give you a sleeping pill? And a hospital stay is so expensive they should have two recovery room areas — one outside surgery and one outside the cashier’s office.
I mean, there are always strangers in white coats coming in to examine you who may or may not even work there. One time a lady friend of mine was in the hospital for a week and the same guy in a white coat examined her at 11:30 a.m. every day. As it turned out, he wasn’t even a doctor — he was a Good Humor man on his lunch hour!
When I have to go to the hospital, I really don’t want to have visitors. And I hate it when they bring stuff — it seems like half of the visitors bring candy, fruit, and other goodies to feed those visitors who bring books, magazines, and flowers.
Have you ever noticed that visitors never talk to the patient they came to visit? Oh no, they spend most of their time talking to each other and other patients in the room, the hall, or even the rest of the ward. TLW is the worst at this. The last time I was in the hospital, after I got home, she went back several times to visit the other patients and the nurses.
Gotta go...nature calls and it’s Velcro-ripping time...see ya.
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org