Day’s Verse:
Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
set your heart on a life of Understanding.

Proverbs 2:1

Dear Dan Druckhammer, PT, OMT, etc.,

This is what I wanted to tell you today at my physical therapy appointment, but I didn’t have the words. Now I have them. Here’s what I wanted to say.

I feel disappointed with the overall outcome of PT, but it’s not anything about the PT itself, the job you did, your skill or diligence. It’s not like I was hit by a car and have to re-learn how to walk again, and once I can do that, your job is clearly done.

I’m in this nebulous space where I’m young, fit, healthy — but not perfect. I sit down to watch a movie and can’t sit on the couch for the whole two hours; I lay down in bed on my back to read and there it is. I can’t curl up in our fluffy chair without feeling this pull, this ache that just won’t go away but isn’t enough to bother with, really. Occasionally I lift my bike onto the stand or shake out a blanket or vacuum and again, zing, there it is. I stand up from working at my computer and there it is again. I get off my bike after a long ride and laying down on the floor is agony. I can’t comfortably lay on my stomach propped on my elbows at any angle.

My back feels 20 years older than the rest of me, maybe… In July, Eric Moen told me, “Your back isn’t as young as it used to be,” and I haven’t forgotten that. What’s it going to be like in 10, 15, 20 years if even now I’m having to feeling it?

Most of the time, though, I feel physically great. I’m not injured. I can do whatever I need to; my scoliosis is not holding me back. And if my back feels stiff and in places achy, like it wants me to stretch some way I just can’t bend — like if I found the right stretch, or if I could massage it right, it’d finally feel relaxed and comfortable — if that’s the case, is it worth spending time, money, and effort to fix something that’s not so much broken as bent? Am I in pursuit of an impossibility?

Because I’m starting to understand from our conversation today that there is no magic bullet, no touch or exercise or stretch to fix this. Nothing will make my back straight. There is only accommodation, adaptation, and “pretty good.” I’m at “pretty good” right now. The reality is that I will always be bent, never able to put my back flat against the wall, never have a symmetrical figure, never have flat shoulders or even-length legs. So I get to do all the right things, the stretches and exercises you gave me, indefinitely, for “pretty good.” And that, although disappointing, is life.

Now I get to choose what to do going forward, how to move on. I choose health, strength, and life — even imperfect as those may be.

4 thoughts on “What I Wanted to Say

  1. Good point. Part of the more intensive PT back in January was massage, and that did seem helpful at the time. Not sure how I’d make that happen long-term though.

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