This is a continuation of Fall.
I wake up, I pry the three year old off of me; she has insisted on co-sleeping with us, again. This would be fine right now as it’s winter and this apartment has more holes in it than a colander, the extra body heat is welcome. The shit part of this arrangement isn’t the lack of privacy it’s the fact that my right leg is still extra sensitive from being fresh out of the cast that has shielded it for the last couple of months, and she manages to kick me in the knee several times a night; the one with the screws in it.
This morning my left leg has a sharp pain running up and down it, I assume that it’s just a cramp and force my way up and out of bed. Fumbling for one the damned crutches I make my way out of the bedroom and travel to the other end of the domestic hallway. Calling where I emerge a living room would be funny except I keep getting told the same joke everyday, It is more like having a foyer attached to your bathroom. My wife is in the section of this area best described as a kitchen, making breakfast for all of us. Today I am going to need my strength.
It’s my first day of physical therapy today. I am nervous. I haven’t walked without my leg in some sort of contrivance since I fell in January. I know that today I am going to have to lose the brace for at least part of it. This is a hard thing for me to imagine at this point; on the few times since that day that I have seen my naked leg it is remarkable how emaciated it looks, it is only a third of the size of the left leg and that is probably a kind estimate. When I move it in the limited capacity that I am able it still feels awkward and alien, not at all like it is really any part of me; it’s more like another being willing to do what I ask but it just doesn’t speak the local language. I have my doubts that it will support my weight and I am terrified to find out.
I have my choice of bus routes to the sports medicine facility that I have been approved for. I have My choice of either a long, contrived and winding way through the unknown areas of a college campus with several transfers or a shorter more direct path that only requires use of two buses but includes hobbling my way across four lanes of traffic and a strip mall’s parking lot to get to the second stop. Both have the potential to be a huge pain in the ass. I opt to leave early for the shorter route, in case I miss the transfer bus this will give me an extra half hour to catch the next one. I took the longer one for my last orthopedic appointment and it just made me mad by the time I got there.
I manage to arrive early for my appointment and try to fill the time with the out of date magazines supplied to me. Mostly old copies of The New Yorker, I’m not really reading them just fidgeting. I make mental note to bring a book next time. Eventually I am buzzed back into the gym like cavern behind the solid wood doors where I am greeted by a man with a mustache that reminds me of Officer Dangle, if someone forced him to wear cargo pants. I explain my concerns about my knee and confess to being more than a little nervous about using my leg without the brace, he makes a lame joke about wanting me to climb a tree. I climb onto one of the tables and he takes a measurement of my ability to bend my knee, I am not sure if appalling is a number but it should be in this case.
The remainder of the session is him giving me brief instruction on stretches and isometric exercises, intermingled with him running off to dick around with his iPhone at the main desk while I attempt them not quite sure if it’s right or not. I think about saying something but given the level of interest his coworkers are exhibiting in his fancy new gizmo I doubt it will do any good. The exercises leave me tired and sore, I wonder if this is a positive sign.
My knee is iced while he prints out blurry copies of instructions for stretches to do at home. I am told that I would be a good candidate for therapy in the pool, and he introduces me to the guy who does this. I read this as, “Let me make you someone else’s problem.” The therapist tells me it is probably best if I still use both crutches for now. I am sent on my way to catch my bus stop and am told to stop back to get my full therapy schedule when I come in for my follow-up with the orthopedist.
Later that week I am berated by the Physicians Assistant in the clinic for still using my crutches and for not being able to bend my knee back far enough. Apparently one therapy session should have been enough to go from zero to ninety degrees. After realizing that I actually have some sort of insurance that is paying for all of this he calms down and provides me with a shiny new cane.
Downstairs I meet with Physical Therapist Dangle, I think his real name is Trent and am fairly certain I am not going start liking him anytime soon, I know for sure that his mustache is annoying the crap out of me. He tells me that I will need three therapy sessions a week for the next eight weeks. One on land, and Two on water. Two more months of my life being on hold. Two whole months of looking at his stupid ass mustache. Life is peachy.