It’s never a good sign when your physical therapist kisses you good-bye.
What that kiss on the cheek means is, “It pains me to pain you. Though my job dictates I hurt you by grinding your muscles into chopped meat with my forearm, my humanity dictates I offer you compassion.”
It does not mean “I like you,” or “You’re cute,” or even “I want to kiss you.” Especially when the kiss is preceded by a tribal handshake and a salutation of “Dude!”
On Tuesday Fabian used something that looked like a palm sander on my glutes. (He called it an “oscillator” but we know better.) After I did my foam rolling, Sticking, lacrosse balling and soleus stretching, he put me on a table on my front and proceeded to lay into my glutes and hips with the “oscillator” (rhymes with “Terminator” for a good reason). I was all like, Fabs, you have me laying on this table with my fat ass in the air and you are provoking its jiggle with what seems to be a palm sander?! For realz?! (My spelling degrades when I go to PT.)
But I was all like that for only a second or two. Because after that I was just in pain, and couldn’t really form sentences of speech or thought. I would have never guessed I was that knotty and tight throughout my glutes and hips, but there I was a day later, sore. It was like Fabian was trying to disintegrate the pebbles and stones in my muscles into sand. It fucking hurt, yo. In between moaning and gritting out repeated owe‘s, I deep breathed and told myself to relax. I’d pick a muscle group–shoulders and neck, or glutes and quads–and tell them, Ssh reelaaaxxx, sweet musclesssss, reelaaaaxxx. It lasted until the hand sander hit another pebble; in other words, for a second.
Fabian might have said, “You’ll be sore tomorrow.” I can’t recall much beyond the ringing in my ears and the gray haze of pain that descended whenever the man would lay his hands upon me.
But the next day? When I pulled my tights down to pee? The pressure of the elastic waistband sliding over my butt was enough to remind me that my ass muscles were pulverized by an asexual vibrator yesterday.
Oh and that wasn’t the end. Fabs surveyed my back, hamstrings and arms–even the survey hurt. I am a rock–in no good sense of the word. My whole body is a tangled, petrified mess. He also worked on my calf muscles some more with his forearms. I’ve explained this before. It hasn’t gotten better so let’s not revisit.
The paradigm remains the same: he hurts me against his will but for my own good, I suffer for my redemption, and just before I’m ready to quit or hate, I receive tenderness enough to return.