Thursday, February 7, 2013

Back to PT

      I have something to tell you that you're not going to believe.
     A physical therapist used the word "agreeable" to describe me. "Agreeable". A-G-R-E-E-A-B-L-E. "Agreeable." I know that you probably think I'm lying. But I swear I'm telling the truth. She said that I was agreeable.
     I would actually like to think that I'm at least somewhat agreeable. I don't pick arguments for the sake of picking them, and I'm never involved with drama and stuff like that. Never. But I never seem to be on the same page with my healthcare team. The day my pediatric rheumatologist calls me "agreeable" will be the day pigs fly. I actually just got a new physical therapist (my first appointment was yesterday), and I'm glad that I made at least a half-good impression. My physical therapist has a student with her, so I really managed to get two new physical therapists. When I got home, I realized that I've seen a LOT of physical therapists in the last two years. I've had 8, not including their students, which I can't count because there were too many. I'll be the first to admit that I liked some of them significantly better than others. None of them were bad or mean, but only Stacie became my best friend and made me look forward to appointments.
     I'm actually back doing pool therapy with my new therapist and her student. At the end of the day, physical therapy is just a pain (literally, it's pretty killer to the joints) and I don't have the time. But my new physical therapist is pretty nice, and she thinks I'm "agreeable", so I have everything going for me right now. Yesterday I had a "land" appointment with her, where she assesses me before we do the water therapy. I think that has to be the worst thing about doctors and other healthcare team members in general. Their job is to judge you and fix you. They judge you with their eyes and with their medical forms and with their needles. They all seem to scribble things down in a sloppy cursive that I am unable to read, so I cannot try and decipher what they're writing. They suck your blood out through hollow needles and then send you off for testing. You go from being "Rachel" to a serial number. At the end of a rheumatology appointment I am left feeling almost abused. The problem is that a lot of the times with illnesses as vague and undetectable as juvenile arthritis, a lot of the prodding ends up being worthless, because nothing changes.
     Anyway, the physical therapists ask a bunch of questions at these "land" appointments, like if I have seizures or asthma and if I can swim, but then they ask questions that revolve around personal goals. "What do you want to be able to do at the end of these sessions?"
     "I want to be able to run. I want to be able to use the stairs at school and give my elevator key back to the office. I want to donate my wheelchair. I want to be able to do ALL of the activities in my P.E. class. I want to be able to do everything my friends can do."
     "And what is that?" (She was asking me what my friends can do that I cannot.)
     "A lot of stuff."
     Luckily, she seemed pretty satisfied with that answer. I was not feeling like explaining. I also wasn't about to tell her that I'd like to not wake up with red joints and I'd like to not talk to my knees using phrases like "COULD YOU NOT" when they become intensely painful. Then she asked another question, a question that no physical therapist has ever asked me before. "Realistically, do you think you can get there?"
      "And you know that this involves a lot of hard work on your part..."
      "I'm willing to do it."


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