Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Therapy…of the Physical Kind

I've had a lot of "free time" lately, but of course I use that term lightly. "Free time," to me, conjures up feelings and scenes from second grade, when we would be granted fifteen minutes of spare time after lunch to do whatever our little hearts desired: transferring our vocab words to flash cards, touching and smelling the new shipment of dictionaries in the library, thinking about ponies, having fake conversations with fake friends…you know, the normal things that normal second graders do. Now that I'm an adult who currently works part time and finds herself with a few unscheduled hours, I'm still trying to replicate that feeling of productivity that drove my days back when I was a miserable office drone. When I'm not working (or preparing for work), I have the wonderful ability to do whatever my little heart desires: organizing my recipes, writing lists about things I need to write lists about, touching and smelling the new shipment of books at the library, thinking about ponies and having fake conversations with my fake TV friends. I also take an inappropriate number of pictures of my cat, but let's leave that for another day.

I realized recently that I've been taking extreme advantage of my physical therapist. I've known her for a little over a year now, back when I saw her for an undiagnosed painful wrist, and I now consider her a friend. Now that my problem has been surgically fixed, she's helping me recover and gain back my mobility. The thing that I struggle with, though, is not the excruciating and blinding pain this "friend" puts me through several times a week; it's a word in her professional title: Therapist.

"Hey Jackie! Come on in, have a seat. How's everything going?"

"Yea, I'm doing alright, I guess."

"How are you feeling?"

"Well…honestly, you know, hmm…I'm feeling a little insufficient. I mean…really…what am I going to do with my life??"

"…Because of your wrist…?"

"I mean, no, not really. Am I living up to my own expectations??"

"You must have misunderstood me…how does your wrist feel."

"Oh, my wrist is fine. I mean, seriously, what is my main purpose for being on this earth? What is the goal…"

"Jackie…the wrist…physically, you're here about your wrist, right?"

"Should…should I lie down?"

I think it's something about medical authorities that automatically makes me want to over-disclose, made worse by the fact that I already have a predisposition to over-disclose information about myself to those not in the medical profession. I consider myself to be an honest person, an open book of sorts, but I tend to relax too much in beige midtown medical offices. Then again, I also tend to relax too much when I'm in awkward situations (quiet elevators, locker rooms, interviews, etc.) or when I'm wearing my Magic Velvet Sweat Pants. It's a slippery slope. One minute you're engaging in idle chatter about a recent trip to Target, the next minute you're explaining how you forgot to put the lid on the container for the prescription pads that you use to wipe your cat's vulva (because she's too obese to clean herself) and they're starting to dry out. Those things were expensive! And you can rest assured that I'm going to tell at least five people about it.

I think the solution is to start having random conversations with random people. That would take up some of my free time and also allow me to tell awkward stories without ever having to see these people ever again. No one wants to tell a good vomit story and then have to face that person again…not cool. Or maybe I could start calling 1-800s routed through India so that I can ask them insensitive questions like, "Have you had Chipotle?" and "Do you speak Hindi in your dreams?" Then again, I should probably just get a hobby. One that doesn't involve cats.