Author’s Note: To read more about the injury I sustained, please read here.
In the course of my lifetime, I have been fortunate to have more encounters with medical professionals as co-workers and peers than as a patient. I have only had two encounters that stick out in my mind with medical personnel that were truly heinous. One was physician assistant who was doing a pre-employment physical and thought that it would be appropriate to mock my mental illnesses. The other was the physical therapist I encountered last week.
It has often been joked that Physical Therapy stands for “Pain and Torture.” I have never felt that way about the profession. I don’t have any delusions that some of my patients will feel some pain, or some muscle soreness during their session. However, I try to minimize, and constantly evaluate what the patient can tolerate.
This was not my experience last week. I had a wonderful therapist complete my evaluation, understood my concerns, and set up a treatment plan. The next session, I had a different therapist. Unfortunately, he was of the opinion that since I was walking without a limp, I was “fine” and didn’t need to be there. I will admit that I was not walking with a limp when I arrived, but certainly was when I left the building.
I originally went to the orthopedic surgeon a month ago, and have been self treating and putting off further therapy interventions. Family and friends have encouraged me to not be stubborn and to seek out additional treatment. It was a bit soul crushing when my greatest concern/fear did come to fruition last week as this therapist quizzed me throughout our session, mocked the fact that I was seeking treatment, and tell me that I should be completely not putting weight on the ankle (my orthopedic doctor disagreed).
I don’t know why I didn’t just leave in the middle of the session. To be honest, I was in such shock I didn’t even know what to do. I did end up going back to see my original therapist, who both apologized profusely and provided a much more appropriate treatment.
I am trying not to be discouraged, as I know that this is a temporary injury. For the most part the pain stays at a low level (1-2) even, but it has increased again with the initiation of physical therapy. I now hover at a 4 at baseline and a 7-8 when it’s aggravated or at the end of the day. I am surprised at how much I am fatigued by even such a low level of pain, by how often I need to take breaks throughout the day, and by how much it has impacted my daily life and routine.
I do not allow it to impact my job performance, but once home I am often just spent. Last week was particularly difficult when my pain ricocheted to a 9 on the pain scale and stayed there for several days. I spent a few nights, with my ankle elevated and iced while I binge watched season 7 of Pretty Little Liars.
I am looking forward to going back to the orthopedic doctor for my follow up in just about a week. I’ll keep you all posted on how that goes!