Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
My physical therapist suggested we have a “play date” at my house so she could evaluate how well I was mastering my virtual reality-based sports games and home exercises. As competitive as we both are, the visit quickly morphed into a trash talking “battle royal.” I am not sure which of us enjoyed it more.
We started out slowly, bowling on the X-Box 360. Rising to the occasion, I bowled a PERFECT 300 game, leaving me with an unbeatable “personal best.” Admittedly, I did some well-deserved celebrating, clapping my hands and raising my arms in the air to encourage my “virtual” fans to stand up and cheer for me. I was so busy basking in my own glory that I hardly noticed Mia wiping away the tears rolling down her cheeks.
Rather than bowl another game, she challenged me to a boxing match. I warned her that this was quite an aerobic workout, but that just made it more enticing seeing as how she was certain she had me beat in the stamina department. Standing side-by-side, facing a split screen, each with our own view, we almost clobbered ourselves for real. In the end, Mia’s athletic prowess was no match for my extensive experience with this game. My punches hit their mark with deadly accuracy, repeatedly knocking Mia flat on her back, staring up at colorful stars dancing in circles above her head. Just when I thought I had her beat, she roared back up again, saved by the bell. I won all three of our matches on decisions, robbed of the joy of a knock-out.
Mia tried to convince me to box with my good arm pinned behind my back, so I could work on strengthening my weaker arm. How thoughtful of her to put my needs first in the midst of suffering such a humiliating defeat.
“You’ll do anything to win, won’t you?” I yelled at her. “Have you no shame?” Apparently not.
The next day, Mia emailed me to say she thought she had the flu when she woke up, but then realized that her achy muscles were more likely due to our strenuous boxing matches. Is it possible that you could have contracted “sucky” stamina (her professional diagnosis of my condition) just by hanging around me, I asked.
I knew it was only a matter of time until Mia found a way to even the score, and she didn’t disappoint me. The one day I arrived 35 minutes early for my therapy session, Mia had left instructions for me walk the bowels of her building until it was time for my appointment. To be fair, she did allow me to choose my own route rather than assign me one. When Mia finally came to the reception area to get me, she laughed out loud at my sweat-soaked t-shirt and asked if I had had a good walk. The fiery look in my eyes said it all.
Who says physical therapy can’t be fun? It is all about our attitude and how well we “click” with our therapists. Multiple studies show that the better the working relationship between patient and therapist, the better the treatment outcome is likely to be. With Mia’s help, I improved my mobility, reduced my pain levels, and, for the time being, avoided the need for surgery and additional prescription medications complete with their many unwanted side effects. What more could I have asked for?