So. Physical therapy continues to be… a mixed bag. On the one hand (hand! HA!), I absolutely see where my mobility is improving and by all accounts, my hand is healing (even if it’s a lot slower than I would like). On the other hand, I kind of hate going there. It takes a lot of time out of my day and it often frustrates me and I always feel crummy afterward.
Plus, I don’t think of myself as particularly vain—I stopped coloring my hair, I rarely wear makeup—but spending an hour or two staring at the big nasty scar on the back of my hand (and the associated swelling which is STILL making it impossible to wear my wedding rings, boohoo) isn’t exactly making me feel pretty. Not that I don’t love evoking giggling compliance from Monkey when he’s being ornery by intoning, “YOU WILL OBEY THE ZOMBIE HAND!” and grabbing his face (what, like you wouldn’t?), you understand, but still.
Basically, it’s a necessary evil, and I do it, and I yearn for the day when my hand therapist checks me over, measures my fingers (she is forever measuring the angles between my knuckles, ostensibly to chart mobility progress, but I suspect she’s building a duplicate hand out of gerbils in a basement lab somewhere), and says, “Good work. You’re done.”
The time before last when I went in, I ended up being there for almost two hours. The room was packed; apparently hand/arm injuries are popular this time of year. So this week when I went in, I brought my laptop just in case I ended up with a bunch of “sit here with this on your hand” time. We started off with the heat pack wrap, again, and I managed to get a little bit of work done, one-handed, while my gimpy hand warmed up. After that, though, it was time to Do Things, so I put my computer away and obediently crumpled up that same damn scarf twenty times, then headed over to a station where the goal is to roll a dowel seventy trillion times as it winds up a rope on one end.
[Supposedly this is about stretching your fingers, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a hidden camera and somewhere there exists a highlight reel of Otherwise Normal People Rolling Up A Rope Over And Over Just Because We Told Them To.]
So I’m standing there at the dowel, rolling, and the station right in front of me is a thing that looks like an exercise bike, but it’s for your hands. And there’s a woman “pedaling” on that, and we smile at each other, the fellow-gimps-unite-while-we-do-stupid-therapeutic-things smile, and then she says to me, “How did you hurt your hand?”
“I broke it making apple crisp,” I replied, automatically, as I do. She raised her eyebrows and I launched into a brief description of the Dreaded Apple Peeler’s Flight, and she nodded.
“Woulda coulda shoulda?” she said. And I said something like “I guess so” thinking to myself Huh, interesting, how funny that she would use that phrase, right? And then because it must’ve been clear that I hadn’t gotten what she was trying to say—because I am dense—she continued, “My sister reads your blog. I’ve seen a picture of your x-ray! And when you wrote about physical therapy she called me up and said, ‘I wonder if you go to the same place.’”
Oh. Right. THAT’s why she said that, and I totally just thought she was making conversation. Because I am slow and shouldn’t be allowed to interact with other humans without a couple of computer screens between us.
Thankfully, she was a total sweetheart, and chatting made the rest of our torture routines go by a lot more quickly. We compared injuries—she’d broken her wrist in a car accident, which I assured her was MUCH more badass than breaking a hand on an apple—and I expressed jealousy over her titanium wrist plate because I have boring old stainless steel. (I feel certain that titanium is way more bionic.) Eventually we ended up sitting back at the tables where the therapists sit across from us and wrangle our limbs, and we chatted a little more, and then it was time for her to leave. Turns out it was her “graduation” day, so I congratulated her and totally considered offering a high-five, but given all of the hand and wrist injuries in the room, thought better of it. So I may or may not have offered up a pantomime of a fist bump, just in case the previous thirty minutes or so of my awkward, dorky babbling hadn’t made it clear that I am completely socially inept.
After she left, my therapist asked how we knew each other. “Oh,” I said, face reddening against my will. “We don’t. I mean, we just met. Crazy thing, I blogged about coming here? And her sister reads my blog, I guess, and so when I told her I broke my hand on an apple she recognized me. Isn’t that funny?”
“Oh, I want to read your blog!” she said. “You told me last time you blog and I didn’t write it down. Tell me again.”
“Sure,” I said, smiling. “It’s WantNot.net.”