Mar 15, 2013

Fickle Finger of Fate

So this is what happens after 60.

Last year, without any permission from me, one lumbar disc split a seam and cozied up to the left sciatic nerve. If I learned anything in high school, it was this — not all advances are welcome. The left sciatic nerve was no exception and showed its appreciation for the bulge with a compelling neuralgia that turned my leg into a cooked noodle. For a while I was bent over and dragging around like Igor without the hump. (see What hump?)

Since then I've been slogging up and down the neighborhood hills to push the errant leg back into form. No bullying this baby. Couple weeks ago, all progress came to a grinding halt. I've been double-crossed by a dicey knee on the wonky leg. After an intense session of self-diagnosis based on infallible-internet information, I concluded I had a bonafide case of "patellar tracking disorder."

I'm lucky in my doctor. He did not ridicule me, but he did send me to a physical therapy.

Today was my first adventure into PT. My therapist, Angel, is smiling, attractive, 30-something, ex-basketball star who is a humorless as Nurse Ratched. She begins with a scold, "I don't keep patients who don't do the homework." Then she tells me I don't have patellar tracking disorder. I believe she must have done her internship at a reform school. But I'm not quitting; I'm very worried about the wonky leg. As she is typing in the umpteenth version of my medical history, I wonder which version the Chinese hackers will put in my dossier. Then she handed me these yellow and green stretchy resistance bands. They smell like the rubberband balls my grandmother saved from the Chronicle. Down to business at last, she demonstrated a half-dozen resistance drills. My turn. They are hard. Really hard. I struggled. Suffice to say I did not impress the 30-something ex-basketball star. I now have two reasons to get the wonky leg back.

After 10 minutes, she sends me away with this homework, "Repeat the 8-stretch-triple-rep regime 3 times a day." By my count that comes to nearly 4-hours per day. Good thing I'm retired. Then she said, "By the way, no more hiking for at least 8-weeks."