There are few things in life more soul-blisteringly frustrating than being out-performed by an old man in slippers....especially if that man has pieces of food in his goatee...especially if his hip replacement was months after yours. After my first hip replacement, I spent six months at the out-patient physical therapy clinic at Burnaby Hospital, where I was treated to a revolving door of wizened gnome-men and shrunken old ladies in sweatpants, all of whom were literally walking circles around me. Let's just say that it's not so easy to concentrate on your "clamshell" exercises when some broad in a Bedazzled cat sweatshirt in the bed next to you is sizing you up as if to say, "You think that's a leg lift? That's really the best you've got? Compared to you, I look like I'm working the pole at Girls, Girls, Girls."
Every time I tried unsuccessfully to navigate the stairs or swing my leg in the physio sling, every other patient in the room would get a twinkle of superiority in their eye. I should have applied for federal grant money because I was doing a freaking public service by boosting the self-esteem of the elderly. You can therefore see why I was nervous about my first day at physio following the second hip replacement. It's been a rough few months: the leaving Illinois, the surgery, the hours of Home and Garden television. Could I handle the smugness of people who got their hip replacements after re-enacting that "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercial?
Actually, I was excited about physio, if only because it was a chance to get out of my bed. I am not very good at the whole "taking it easy" thing. "Take it too hard to the point that you injure yourself:" that's me. "Sulking for months in bed because you go a little nuts when you're not constantly on the go:" also me. Bottom line: I don't like being still and I was ready to get this recovery show on the road.
When I arrived at Burnaby Hospital, I discovered that the out-patient physical therapy clinic had been changed into a new "Optimization Clinic." See, I'm all about the euphemisms. I don't need months of physiotherapy, I just need a little....optimization. Just tweaking! Minor alterations to allow me to be the best cyborg I could be! Just tighten those bolts and lube up those joints and I'm good to go! Physiotherapy clinic says "Spend hours out of your day watching the graying flesh on an old woman's thigh swaying in the traction slings." Optimization clinic, however, says, "Girl, you are already fabulous. Hold on to your crutches, ladies, because we're about to crank the awesomeness amps up to 11!"
And you know what? After six months of hearing "your progress is slower than the plot of an Ann Michaels novel," I was surprised to hear the phrase "you are actually...doing pretty well." I guess this is what they mean when they say that a hip replacement is a routine surgery. I mean, at 9 days post-surgery last time, I was still in the hospital. Hell, I was going downstairs backwards until about 8 weeks post-surgery.
This time, however, I was able to do nearly every exercise the physio asked me to do, and I spent most of the appointment weighing my progress against an old lady who kept exclaiming, "Bless his holy socks!" Bless his holy socks, indeed, because I was kicking ass and taking names. Move over, people, because Arley 3.0 has arrived to show you how this optimization business is done. Cyborg power!