This day…. Let me sum up. You might not know that I have injured myself. Again. I know, I know, you are shocked! (if you don't know me, I should explain that this might happen with me a lot) Some might say it’s just old freaking age, but I think we all know that’s not true. (We all know I’m mostly crazy too, so I wouldn’t disagree with that last statement) I have a badly torn rotator cuff, in three spots, and several compressed disks in my neck and spine. It’s a little inconvenient, I must say, but I’m no pansy, so I’m dealing. I have been going to a Physical Therapy clinic for two weeks now. For the first week the doctors there just gave me some exercises to do. No big whoopee. Shrug your shoulders fifteen times, every twenty minutes and do the chicken neck thing, pull your head back so that your double chin turns into thirty chins and say “bwack”, fifteen times as well. (Saying “bwack” might be optional) Easy peasy, lemon squeezie. Of course I didn’t do these exercises in front of anyone. Especially the chicken neck thing. My friends already think I’m several bricks shy of an outhouse, no need to provide concrete proof.
After a week and a half of looking really confused and unstable every twenty minutes, I returned to the PT clinic for further evaluation. What this means is two PT dudes pull, tug, twist, maim, disfigure and manhandle your body, while asking “does this cause you pain”. Most of my responses were: “Since my bones are not made of wet spaghetti, then I’m going to say yes, yes that does hurt”, “That’s not especially painful, but I’ve never seen that part of my body in front of me before”, “Is that still attached to my body”?, “I’m pretty sure that is illegal in 17 states”, “Does your mother know you do this for a living” and my last response to them, while one PT twisted my head around toward my back and then tilted it as far as it would go to the left, and the other PT pulled both my arms around my back and up toward my, now looking to the back, face, and they both pushed in at the same time and said “Does this cause any discomfort”? I said, “You fellas used to torture puppies when you were young didn’t you”?
The good news is that after all that “testing”, and I use that terminology generously, they both agreed that neither one of them knew exactly which problem was responsible for the pain and numbness in my right arm. So they slipped off to a private torture chamber (because I was actually out in the middle of a huge room full of other patients who were watching with pained looks on their faces, thanking the dear sweet Lord that they weren’t the next victim of “Jigsaw and Billy”) to chit chat about it while I untangled myself and maneuvered all my miscellaneous body parts back into the configuration that God put them in 42 years ago. They returned a short while later giggling under their breath like Bevis and Butthead when they met a man named Dick. The sound of their muffled giggles woke the pterydactyls in my belly that like to flutter around when I get nervous.
“We think your main problem is in your neck, blah blah blah, pinched nerves, blah blah blah, impingement, blah blah blah, traction, blah blah blah, see you Thursday”. Yippee.
So now to today. I must admit, though I established earlier that I’m not really a pansy, I was a tiny bit hesitant about the whole traction thing, especially seeing as how I didn’t know what the hell it was except when your tractor gets stuck in the mud and won’t giddy up. But I really didn’t see how they were going to put me in mud and make me get stuck, so I dismissed that thought fairly quickly.
I arrived at the clinic a teeny bit late, oops; maybe they are going to have to reschedule me. Nope. Igor and Lurch were waiting for me in the lobby and they seemed a little excited. Not really in the kid who got a puppy for Christmas kind of way but more like the kid with a magnifying glass and ant kind of way. Nerves are kicking up a little bit now. Pterodactyls are getting restless. So they take me into the back into one of the private PT rooms…. Yeah, I really didn’t feel that wasn’t a good omen. If they were willing to twist me into an origami pinwheel out in the middle of the clinic, what goes on in a private room? The only thing in the room was a table with a medieval machine at one end, a bunch of straps and buckles along the table and a strappy helmet attached to the medieval machine. Not the accessory of the year in my opinion. But apparently my opinion wasn’t really important at this time since they made me hop up on the table and put my very tense head into the party helmet. Then, oh glory be, I didn’t notice that on the end nearest the medieval machine was two little Stonehenge like structures that one PT dude then placed my neck in between, while the other one strapped my legs down. I felt very Salem Witch trial/Eighteenth century Asylumish . Uh-huh, not a warm fuzzy moment for me. The pterodactyls are fully awake and having a wild mosh pit type concert in my gut.
Bonnie then says that Stonehenge will now tighten up on my neck, but please let him know when it was pretty snug. “Snug….. It’s snug….. Dude! *gasp* It’s too tight!” Clyde then examines the structures that are now imbedded in my neck glands and says “Can you breathe ok”? Apparently my ears were being affected by the pressure on my neck because I could have sworn I said “Um, it’s actually pretty difficult to breathe like this”. But since Dr. Frankenstein replied with “Perfect”! I must have actually said, “Sure, who needs to exchange air anyway? I’m good like this. My neck feel like a sippy straw was just placed down my larynx and then filled in all that extra space around it with concrete, but it’s all good in the hood, Frankie”.
Then Jekyll explains how the doomsday device works. “It’s going to pull up on your head a bit, not too much, it really shouldn’t be painful, and it’ll pull, release, pull, release, pull, release for the next 20 minutes. (Sounds swell) Here’s a bell, we’ll put it over here by your leg. Just tap the bell if you become too uncomfortable.” When I inquired where that bell was when they were wrapping the jaws of life around my neck, my mouth must have not been working properly either (all that extra oxygen coursing through my new sippy straw windpipe) because Hyde looked and me and smiled and said “Uh-huh, okay we’ll be back in 20. It’s okay for you to fall asleep if you want”. What????? Are you %&$#@&* joking, psycho???? At this point, “The Rack” came to life. A gentle hum began and the table started to shake a bit. I’m pretty sure I started hyperventilating, but my dad-gum straw wouldn’t let me get enough oxygen to pass out. Lovely. Then, The Jaws of Life sprang into action. Pulling on my head a bit, my fat ^#@$!!! I was certain this is how all those dandelions felt when I used to sing “Mama had a baby and its head popped off” as I used my thumb to dislodge the head of the dandelion and send it flying off into the air. I’m so sorry dandelions!!!! Really I am.
I lasted the entire 20 minutes, only because in the first 30 seconds I jerked my leg and sent my only saving grace, the bell, flying off the table onto the floor where it rolled off to that place where all the mates to your socks are. During those 20 minutes I imagined that I was being choked by a rabid gorilla at the Bronx zoo. I don’t know why the Bronx, or even if they have a zoo in the Bronx, and if they do have a zoo, if they have gorillas, but let’s remember I was seriously low on O2 here. I also saw Jimmy Hendricks walk into my room wearing a lab coat and a clown nose while carrying an albino penguin, Jeff Foxworthy floated over my head with tiny bat wings and sang “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog” while playing a ukulele and wearing Ruby slippers and finally I’m fairly certain I saw an iceberg drift by outside the window with more of those darn little albino penguins.
When Jack the Ripper and Norman Bates returned, they turned off the machine of death and unstrapped my head from the helmet, but neglected to loosen Stonehenge from around my neck. Jack instructed me to sit up when I felt able…. “I would love to sit up, you Crackhead, but my neck is still being held down by the freaking Jaws of Life, you @#$$#^ Whackadoo”! That is what my brain told my mouth to say, but since my brain was so oxygen deprived what my mouth actually said was “I can’t sit up until you loosen the things holding my neck in place”. Duh you big fat dog turd! (Still no oxygen)
Nurse Ratchet released the pressure on the paddles holding me down. After they dislodged from my esophagus with a loud slurpy suction type noise, my ears popped about 13 times andI was finally free. I was able to breathe and move and try and make my jaw work again! I was sure I heard angels singing just outside the window. They may have been keeping the albino penguins company on the iceberg. (Too much oxygen, too quickly, after being low for 20 minutes apparently has some adverse psychological effects too…. Go figure) After giving Penn and Teller the stare down (it might not have been as intimidating as I intended since I think my eyes may have been wobbling around in their sockets a bit doing the whole Mr. Deeds, Crazy Eyes thing), they made me an appointment next week to attend this wild hootenanny again. Hallelujah. I wonder if getting run over in the parking lot would be sufficient excuse to not come back next week. Could someone check on that for me?