Sunday, November 27, 2011

P.T. is no F.U.N!

I know exercise is good for us. But, I find it to be a little bit dangerous. For example, a few months ago I was doing some exercises with ankle weights on. I guess I was daydreaming, which to me is the only real benefit of exercise time, and I felt a pull in my knee. Long story short, I strained my meniscus, a part of the body I had never heard of until I injured it.

I managed to hobble around for three weeks before deciding I needed to go to the doctor. His recommendation? Three weeks of physical therapy, and if there is no improvement, an MRI. I was really looking forward to my first appointment. I had physical therapy after I broke my collar bone and I still remember the heating and icing treatments, and the deep tissue massages administered by a young attractive pro cyclist named Matt.

I arrived and was introduced to Denise, one of the many all female physical therapists I would work with. She looked me up and down. “Next time, wear athletic shoes” she said after her gaze lingered on my black sparkly flip flops. I couldn’t imagine why I needed athletic shoes. I started to take in my surroundings. Holy crap, I was in a gym. My dreams of a green tea body wrap and pedicure flew right out the window. Well, there was one positive—I was on the young side of the other patients I saw. Good, I thought. If we are forced to compete against each other, I have an excellent chance of winning.

After measuring how much movement I had in my knee, I was led to an exercise bike. Ten minutes, she said. This didn’t seem like a good idea to me, but no one asked what I thought. I survived bicycling, and waited for my next instruction. That’s when I met my first of many elastic bands. She tied a length of elastic around my ankles and told me to walk sideways for forty feet and back again. I felt ridiculous—like I was walking the ledge of a building with pantyhose around my ankles. There was a man throwing a ball against a slanted trampoline and catching it. That looked like fun. Why couldn’t I do that? The next circus trick exercise she had me do was stand on a board with a ball underneath. Talk about being set up to fail, this was an impossible feat. I guess she took pity on me and told me to follow Jason and he would set me up for a something something treatment. I really wish I had heard what she said, but asking someone to repeat something is like shouting I AM OLD AND CAN’T HEAR A WORD YOU ARE SAYING. I find it more agreeable to go through life completely clueless.

Anyway, I was really encouraged when he told me to lie down on the table and he would get some pillows for me. I was still in denial, so I thought I was finally going to get my spa treatment. Next thing I knew, he had rolled a machine over to my table and started attaching wires to my knee. “This is going to stimulate your muscles with an electric current” is all he said. He turned on the machine and there was a fun little tickle going from one electrode to another. He continued turning up the current until the tickle had turned into a jolt. He said that the highest current I could tolerate would do me the most good.

Now, I have no explanation for what happened next. I didn’t know this kid, would probably never see him again after I was done my therapy, but I did not want him to think I was a baby, so I allowed him to turn it up until my leg was literally jumping off the table. He said he’d be back in ten minutes. I looked around for something to put between my teeth so I wouldn’t bite my tongue. When I wasn’t wincing, I watched the big clock on the wall. When I thought I couldn’t take it any longer, I looked pleadingly at the man on the table next to me. His leg was being iced and he was fast asleep. I wanted to sit up and yell WHO is this man’s therapist? How do you expect him to heal just lying there being comfortable? He needs the jumper cable treatment!

By my last appointment, I had gotten smarter. I would say the current was high enough, even before they turned on the machine. I no longer cared what they thought of me. When a young man asked if he could get me something, instead of saying “No thanks, I’m fine”, I asked for cucumber slices for my eyes. As I was leaving, my therapist smiled and said “Now keep up your exercises. You don’t want to come back here.” I smiled back. Ah, truer words were never spoken.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

To Stir With Love

As we enter the holiday season, I can't help but think of all the cooking and baking that will go on all over the country. I consider myself very lucky, because my husband is an excellent cook. And, he is really wonderful about stepping in and helping prepare holiday meals. But, I can't help but notice that we have very different cooking "styles."

To me, preparing a meal begins with opening the freezer and deciding what I can thaw in fifteen minutes.

To my husband, preparing a meal begins with sharpening the knives.

I can measure out ten different ingredients using the same measuring cup. I will measure all the dry ingredients first, and then the liquid ones, just so I don't have to rinse and dry the measuring cup.

He will use every measuring cup and measuring spoon we have, and even some I didn't know we had.

If a recipe calls for two bowls, I will use the measuring cup as one of the bowls.

He will dirty half a dozen bowls in his attempt to find two the right size.

To add extra flavor, I will grab black pepper and the first jar I see containing something green.

He will get out a mortar and pestle, mix together a dozen different herbs and spices, resulting in a magical fragrance and taste.

I take full advantage of the microwave oven.

He believes the microwave oven is for cooking instant oatmeal, and nothing else.

I clean up as I go.

After he is done cooking, the kitchen needs to be hosed down, including the ceiling.

And, last but not least...

My meal is rubbery and bland.

His meal is robust, savory, and delectable.

Happy eating, everyone!