The day before S.'s wedding, everyone in the bridal party is going for fancy massages and I've signed up for some freaky lymphatic massage that is supposed to get all the toxins out of your system, since I figured I might as well start fresh before I put all the toxins back into my system with my upcoming diet of Lean Cuisine, ramen noodles and bathtub-brewed grain alcohol. Plus, who knows: it might do wonders for my skin rashes, which (in case you were losing sleep waiting for an update on my never-ending post-surgical rash war) have evolved into hives that look exactly like little bullseyes. I know. Fancy.
Today, however, I can go ahead and switch my lymphatic massage to a mani-pedi because I am already getting a free massage at physio. One of my regular physios is off on holidays. Luckily, the physio who is replacing her is very nice and is full of good ideas. It's good to have a fresh set of eyes to evaluate me. After all, I have less than two weeks to get my gait pattern looking a little less "night of the living dead"-ish before I walk down the aisle, so I will take all the help I can get.
During physio, I was complaining (as I am wont to do) about how I am nearly three months post-surgery and still cannot do a move known as "the clamshell" (I'll spare you the details), which I could do before my surgery, even though I am busting my ass (well, bruising my ass anyhow) doing three hours of rehab a day. The new physio's suspicion was that my muscles are too tight to physically perform the exercise and that they needed to be stretched and/or massaged.
First, she hung my leg off the side of the bed. Before the surgery, this move would be cause for a Grade A Ultimate Hip Freakout Spasm Dance Party and I had flashbacks of becoming stuck while getting out of my car, wedging myself in a half-prone position over the seat while trying to free myself and having to phone J.B. to come and save me. (Thanks, J.B.!) While my leg dangled over the bed, the physio reefed on my good hip to provide a better stretch, which caused me to squirm with discomfort since, according to the physio, "I have absolutely not a single ounce of padding there." The stretched worked. I got looser, but still could not do the clamshell.
Luckily(?), the physio had one more trick up her sleeve. Cut to me, a few minutes later, writhing around on the table so much that one of my socks came off, as the physio kneaded her palm, first into my thigh, but then right into the muscle on my anti-ass. Passersby slowed down to watch me squacking and flapping around as the physio gave me a vigorous ass massage, as if she was auditioning for a role on "Physios Gone Wild." (Why is it that so much of physiotherapy involves me performing moves that I usually won't do without being bought dinner and a movie first?)
Now, I have a high pain tolerance. I once allowed a doctor to inject hundreds of needles full of sugar water into the ligaments around my spine (you know, for kicks) without complaint and I put up with my hip's diva antics. In fact, the pain post-surgery has been easy to deal with (my surgeon keeps reminding me that he hammered a long metal spike into my femur, so I probably should be in more pain), most likely because my theory is that if I'm not shaking and puking, it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be. Still, I will admit that when the physio was going to town on my anti-ass like it was a lump of bread dough and red-hot agony was radiating throughout my entire leg, I had to go to my happy place for a little bit. But, man, when she finally (finally) stopped and the pain went away, my hip felt fan-freaking-tastic. It was a beautiful day in the neighbourhood indeed.
I had to hand it to her: the medically sanctioned ass massage worked. At the end of her treatment, I could almost kind of do a quasi clamshell! Victory! Not only did I show a bit of progress in the hip-strength department, but I also can check "first post-surgical ass grab" off the list of post-hip-replacement firsts. Done and done!
The physio assures me that I can repeat the massage on myself by using a tennis ball. I know that I will be able to massage my thigh just fine, but I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to perform a solo ass massage. So, if you come to visit and you find me up against a wall pressing a tennis ball into my ass and making groaning noises, don't judge! It's doctor's orders! Just be happy I'm not asking for volunteers.