Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jumper Cables (four years later)

I published my first blog post over four years ago (on the now defunct Switch 2 Plan B site), just a few days after falling off a fire engine and severely spraining my ankle. (See a pattern here?) That injury also resulted in time off the job and rehabilitation at the local physical therapy clinic. I wrote about my experiences at the time, and since I’m returning to that same clinic this week, I thought I would re-post it below:

When it comes to an injury like torn ligaments, there are actually two kinds of pain: The first is the initial trauma, localized to the injury site, characterized by sudden onset, acute intensity, and relatively short duration. The second comes weeks later and is inflicted by a physical therapist during something he gleefully calls “rehabilitation.” 

If you ask me, the person who really needs “rehabilitation” here is the therapist himself—but only after serving a nickel in Chino state pen.

But I kid. My therapist is a great guy. His name is Greg. When I first went to see Greg, he took me back to his exam room for a “consultation.” This involved careful assessment and palpation of the injured joint, making sure to flex it into positions that would have been considered unnatural even if completely healthy. The important thing, apparently, is to slowly rotate the ankle until the patient begins to weep.

Then with the help of two assistants, Greg dragged me into the back room for more intensive “treatment.” There, they continued a therapeutic regime specifically tailored to my injury, while I struggled to maintain consciousness.

Greg’s assistant is Radz, an ex-Army Ranger. He just got back from a tour in Iraq, where he served as a physical therapist at Abu Ghraib. The patients still talk about him there. After a dishonorable discharge, Radz returned state-side and worked in a rendering plant before Greg recognized his obvious talents and took him under his wing.

Greg’s intern is Lauren, whose specialty is asking things like “Does that hurt?” “No? How about now?” It’s also her job to hook me up to the car battery after the other two have grown bored of me.

I know our therapy session is concluded when I wake up in the alley behind the clinic. Oftentimes I find that I have soiled myself, but Greg assures me that this is normal and many of those who have survived have done the same thing.

I go back next Tuesday.

(Originally posted 09/07/07)


Anonymous said...

So...this is your second time falling off a fire truck? Hmmm

Ever think about a new career? ;)

Hope you're feeling better soon!

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

Seriously. Some of us are injured running into burning buildings, others, on major wildland fires. But you, no, not you. You decide to break the mold and fall of the wagon...er, I mean truck.. Way to break the mold.

Have fun in physical therapy.

Unknown said...

On the bright side, we get to hear from you more often now :-).