Third Time Lucky

Last week Super Physio effectively discharged me. For the third time. Hopefully third time lucky.

The average number of sessions for patients my physio treats is 12. So, typically, treatment takes about three months. I've been in treatment on and off since 2005. That would make six years.

To be fair, I've had a lot of complications and extenuating circumstances. It initially took me about two years to get better from my long-standing neck and shoulder problems (read The Whole Story for well, the whole story).

So in 2007 I was discharged for the first time. I was doing extremely well when on a weekend trip to Bologna with the girls, the muscles in my neck suddenly and inexplicably went into spasm. That was when my physio realized that there might be an additional problem in my neck – which eventually led to a tonsillectomy in early 2008 (carried out by an ear-nose-throat doctor and not my physio, in case it might have sounded that way).

After the tonsillectomy it took a long time to recover. Although the surgery changed my life for the better by dramatically decreasing the number of sore throats I suffered from and eliminating tonsillitis (strep throat) attacks completely, the year I had the operation and for some time afterwards, I remained very weak. I lost so much blood during the operation that I was anemic for months. And that Christmas I got the flu (the real flu), and a persistent cough that lingered for ages. It took a long time to build my strength back up and throughout 2008 and 2009 I really struggled with being able to move into doing more 'normal' exercise while still remaining pain free.

In hindsight I probably didn't 'get' it – all I wanted was to be able to go to the gym when I wanted to, just like 'normal' people did. But I most likely set myself back by trying so hard to push myself into a regular exercise routine. For example, since last October, I've had great success easing back into exercise at a slower rate – going to yoga once a week – a method that the old me would have definitely thought wasn't 'enough'.

But regardless of how long it took, by early 2010, I was effectively discharged again (second time) and back at the 'review' stage (meaning a check-in every few months or so just to make sure everything was still working OK, at my own discretion).

But in an unfortunate turn of events, as we were moving house in May I packed and cleaned and unpacked a bit too much and threw out my back. And astonishingly even after all my years of physiotherapy I somehow missed how bad it was. I was having trouble walking, but I thought I could fix it myself with my exercises, missing the fact that I had never really had lower back problems so might not be able to address such an acute injury to the full extent necessary on my own.

It was during a review in June that my physio saw how bad it was. And so I spent all of last summer fixing my back (which included stretching out my hips big time). We got there in the end. But with the wedding coming up, I kept going for very regular reviews just to make sure we kept everything in order before the big day. After all, I had no time to deal with some sort of injury or even stiffness (so when I fell down the stairs three weeks before the wedding I was in good enough shape to keep everything moving and was pain free on the big day).

But now the wedding is over and I have healed from my freakish stair spill, so I'm back to dealing with my body on my own again. I hope that I've learned enough from all my experience over the years not to push myself too hard this time. I've got the tools I learned in physio to keep my muscles from getting tight and my posture in good form, but I still have to take things slowly. 

Keep your fingers crossed for me that this is the last and final discharge. As much as I like and respect Super Physio, it's high time I saw her less.

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