He crunched his eyebrows, lowered his face forward and sternly said, “I don’t want you to be writing one of your blogs about me.”
I had known him 5 minutes. He had asked how I occupied my time. After trying to rationalize what I did all day long I mentioned at the end, “Oh, and sometimes I write a blog.”
He was a little intimidating and I wasn’t sure I was going to like him. I already knew however, that he was blogworthy.
I was not happy to be there. My oncologist wanted me to mention “…any little post cancer treatment thing that might be bugging me, any little ache, pain or symptom. Don’t leave anything out.”
I brought a list.
She sent me to physical therapy.
I began to read that list of aches and pains and symptoms to my new physical therapist, complete with a dramatic introduction to my recent medical history when he sighed, put his hand up and stopped me from speaking. Out of fear and self preservation I summarized my lengthy list in one and a half nervously delivered sentences-as he had immediately requested.
He told me I had the strongest hip muscles he’d seen in years. I looked around at my elderly cohorts and hoped that was true. He told me he was glad I had Asics shoes. I told him my daughter found them on the clearance rack. He told me he wasn’t a big fan of running. I started to panic and wondered if I should find a new physical therapist.
He asked me if I wanted to go to the gym. I said…..ummm…….no….not really.
He stared at me for longer than was comfortable, threw his head back and started laughing from his belly. A sincere, authentic laugh it was. “Finally! Someone real! Someone honest!” he boldly guffawed.
I thought he wanted me to join a gym. He didn’t. He wanted me to go to the physical therapy gym down the hall to start my exercises-like all physical therapy patients do. I’m sure he thought I was a cranky problem patient. We went down the hall to the physical therapy gym, of course, when he finally stopped laughing at my apparent refusal to do so. We proceeded to work on my list of problems.
He would have been right, though. I was a cranky problem patient. I was sick and tired of being broken. I thought he might be a cranky physical therapist. I was sure he was tired of people like me-people with lists, people who needed to explain things, people who wanted someone to listen. He was unreserved, direct and decisive. There wasn’t any warm and fuzzy.
Or so I thought.
He gave himself away near the end of my appointment. He let it slip in between words like reps and deltoid.
“How’s your head?” he casually asked. “That was the hardest part for me after my cancer. After treatment is over you find your head is a little messed up.”
That wasn’t on my list.
That was my secret.
That was my secret.
He knew, because he had been there.
The receptionist was surprised I was willing to schedule my next appointment with him. She said some people find him too direct and intimidating.
I told her he was going to work out just fine.