Thursday, August 12, 2010

Arley 3.0: Sweating With the Not-So-Oldies

Yesterday was my second day in physio and I am well on my way to becoming teacher's pet, as opposed to last time when I was basically in the hip equivalent of special ed. Someone give me a gold star! The first day, we did a few slow, gentle exercises. This time, however, it was time to get on a bullet train known as the Recovery Express. In the words of the ridiculous Home Depot ad that has been playing on my TV roughly 8 million times a day, it was time to "kick my doing dial up a notch."

I came to physio expecting to work out for 45 minutes to an hour. Ninety minutes later, I was still sweating away on this "step-fit" machine that's like a cross between an elliptical machine, a stationary bike and a stair master...if you can imagine it. I was like one of those show ponies...or a dog in an agility course (well, maybe 'agility' is the wrong word...). I'm swinging my legs in swings! I'm pulling my leg with a lever! I'm squeezing and tightening! I'm lifting and lowering! I'm doing 5 minutes on the step-fit machine! I'm doing some sort of bizarre squatting thing on the balance bars like an arthritic, polio-stricken ballerina! I'm bending over forward on the physio bed waggling my ass in the air while trying to raise my legs in a manner not befitting of a lady!

I, of course, was loving it. I was like some sort of slobbery St. Bernard let loose for a romp in the forest. I was picking up a scent and it smelled like recovery. Despite the fact that it's only been two weeks, it feels like a lifetime since I've flailed away on an elliptical machine with Jesus and Mary Chain cranked up to the point where my ears start to hum. Even five minutes on the "stair fit" felt like the "running up the stairs" scene in Rocky. (To be fair, "Eye of the Tiger" does loop almost constantly in my head, so even brushing my teeth feels like the "running up the stairs" scene in Rocky).

You might be saying to yourself, "But Arley. Aren't you pacing yourself against people who remember the Hoover Administration?" No. Incorrect. Last year, I went to physio at 8:30 a.m. and the clinic was packed full of the "6 a.m. breakfast at the Jiffy Wiffy Waffle House" set. You know, the type of elderly person for whom restaurants keep liver and onions on the menu from between 4 pm and 5:30. For whatever reason, old people like mornings, and old people who need a hip or knee replacement like morning physio appointments.

My new time is in the afternoon and the crowd is a lot younger. I mean, not "going to a Justin Bieber concert" young....or even "going to a Michael Buble concert" young...or, come to think of it, not even a "going to a Paul Anka concert and then gushing about how no one makes real music these days" young. But they're definitely younger and more spry. There were even a few people that seemed to be roughly my age. I have a lot of competition in the optimization department.

And to those of you who are pointing out that physio is actually not a competition and that there is no prize for the fastest recovery....also incorrect. If I've learned one thing from years of wheelchair basketball, it's that literally anything can be made into a competition. So the next time you're in the grocery store and you feel as if someone is staring you down, radiating the intense focus of a champion....that's me. And I will get the freshest watermelon.

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