Opinion: Whose got my back?


I’m a lucky guy. I have three great physical therapists. Anna, Bri and Don work on my neck, shoulders and arm, and Eva helps me perform a certain exercise that I wrote about in a column a few years ago. Now, I’m back for a second round of treatment. I’m glad it’s not literally a round. It’s embarrassing enough already, but I can’t imagine someone ringing a bell when we finish. Ding, ding, ding! More on this later.

My orthopedist had previously ordered an X-ray and an MRI on my shoulder for injuries I received from a bad fall when I was out jogging a few months ago. These were just a few of the notes from the radiologist who read my results:

“The coracoid process is intact. The coracoclavicular ligaments are intact. The humeral head and bony glenoid are intact. The infraspinatus and teres minor are intact. Visualized portions of the chest wall appear grossly intact.”

I have never been considered person with any tact, so this all came as good news.

Now, here’s the bad news I read: Patient has edematous capsular thickening at the IGHL and rotator interval most consistent with adhesive capsulitis. Supraspinatus tendinosis with a partial intrasubstance tear at the far anterior.

“Could you translate that into English?” I asked my bone doc during the follow-up appointment.

“Well, Dick, you’re 75. That pretty much explains everything. Everyone has most of those issues at your age — if they reach your age.”

Now, back to Eva. She’s in charge of getting my pelvic floor back in shape, since those muscles were weakened because of a surgery several years ago. Men might want to question Siri or Alexa about Kegeling. Every woman knows what it is.

Eva’s a tiny thing, but by just working on me for a month, my pelvic floor is getting back to its original condition. By comparison, last winter it took three big men with a giant electric sander to get our dining room floor back in good shape.

I have exercises to do at home for my arm and shoulder, as well as doing my Kegel maneuvers. I never have enough time to do all these routines, so last night I tried to do everything simultaneously while watching TV. I was stretching my upper body, twisting my neck from side to side and pulling up on an elastic band held under my foot — all while doing Kegels. I must have looked odd because Mary Ellen thought I was developing a terrible neuromuscular disorder.

Last week, Eva wasn’t around, so I asked Anna a question about Kegels. Anna didn’t train for that specialty, and she told me, “Sorry, Dick, that’s a little over my head.”

“Then you are doing it all wrong,” I told her.