Today will be my last physical therapy appointment (at least until something else breaks), which means I have to say farewell to Marco, my amazing physical therapist.
I've been seeing Marco since January, when my neurologist prescribed some physical therapy sessions to help combat the destabilizing effects of RA on my neck. Most mornings, I was hardly able to move my neck at all until after I'd spent a good 15 minutes letting really hot water pound down on it in the shower. Even then, my superfun illness would only permit me to turn my head from side to side about one to two inches at most without lots of pain. I became accustomed to using my waist or shoulders to swivel my head from side to side, but I gotta tell you, when walking around the streets of New York City, you really need to be able to turn your head quickly and easily just to keep from getting run over. Plus, you look kind of strange when you don't move your head at all when turning to look at people in meetings.
My neurologist gave me a list of physical therapists she recommended who were all somewhat near either my office or my apartment. I perused through them and then chose the two I thought would be most convenient and a good fit. My first choice didn't accept my insurance, so off the list they went. The second choice, however, did, so I booked an appointment with the friendly receptionist for the following week.
In the days leading up to my first appointment, I kept joking around with some coworkers and friends that I hoped I'd get some really hot guy for my physical therapist who could really fix me up. Well, the old adage is true. Be careful what you wish for - you might just get it.
I walked into my first appointment, and there was Marco. Beautiful, smiling, charming, Argentinean (and completely professional, I should add) Marco. My feathers fell. You see, for anyone who has ever been to physical therapy before, you know that you basically end up looking like an idiot doing really silly and embarrassingly dorky exercises in weird positions, and the last thing you want is to have to do these things in front of a drop dead, could-be-a-model guy with an irresistible accent. It's kind of like your dentist-he or she might be fun for you to look at, but just think of how you look to them, slobbering and drooling, lips pinned to your gums while they poke around your teeth. It's not hot at all.
I instantly became hyper-aware of all 15 extra pounds of me waddling about as I hefted myself up onto the table, my thighs spreading out over its surface like rising dough. Great. I couldn't do much of anything in those first couple of visits, either, so most of the time was spent with me on the heating pad or with Marco giving my neck and shoulders a massage.
Hmmm, massage, you say? Yeah, that wasn't as hot as it sounds, either, since Marco was using a special physical therapy massage technique that was a little painful. And, I had to lie face down on one of those table/bed things completely covered with paper, like in a doctor's office, except for the small hole at one end that my face would poke through, my arms dangling free with no place to go. I swear I could feel my ass inflate whenever I had to assume this position. It was not a flattering angle, I'm just sure of it. Every time I moved, a loud, crinkly noise was emitted from the paper underneath me. When I'd eventually rise and sit back up, my face would be all red and squashed, and worst of all, there would be a big oily spot on the paper where it had been pressing against my face. The first time I noticed this, I was utterly horrified, and then looked up to find there was a mirror just opposite me revealing how disastrously disheveled I looked.
So. Not. Hot.
In moments like these, I really do feel like the consummate Bridget Jones, arriving at the big fancy Barrister's ball with make-up askew and hair all asunder. And then there is Marco Darcy, looking ever so perfect with his wavy hair, flawless smile and tan skin. Ah well.
Eventually, I got over my self-consciousness and figured he'd probably seen worse than the likes of me, and the exercises he was giving me really began to help. (Most of the time, I can turn my head from side to side all I want!) I have a whole routine that he designed for my neck and upper body that I do about twice a week at home, and I'm getting so much stronger. I figure what I may lack in grace and panache, I more than make up for in diligence and progress, which, after all, is the real reason I'm there.
At least until the end of today.