Tuesday, 22 March 2011

On the most uncomfortable hour of my life

I'm writing this up a couple of years after the event, having happened across an outline of the event in an old email to a friend. I figured it deserved a place here.

Some background info - for the latter half of 2007 I spent six months or so in excruciating pain - I had a slipped disc in my lower back, and due it not being diagnosed early enough it was eventually accompanied by a twisted nerve, leaving me with the physical dexterity of a 90-year-old, and a whiny one at that, until February the following year when they operated on me and fixed me.

During these months I tried a multitude of useless painkillers, as well as a brief course of physiotherapy, provided by the NHS. This is the tale of my first physio experience...

It was a hot and humid August morning and a rare one in that I'd woken with the pain at a barely noticeable level - typical that this should happen on a day when I was due at hospital rather than one I could take advantage of by going for a jog or something (I have never been for a jog in my life, but that's beside the point). It was as if my pain was a sentient being that fucking hated me.

I figured I'd look like a chump if I went for physiotherapy and didn't actually have any pain for them to work on, so I decided to walk to the place, hoping I'd get a twinge at least. But in true Bramish fashion I took it a bit too easy, and got a bit lost to boot, and thus had to rush to make my appointment.

I eventually got to the hospital and announced my arrival to the receptionist, and then had to sit in an unfeasibly hot waiting room. I'm pretty sure one of the other patients was a tropical lizard of some description, although it may just have been an scaly old lady. Within five minutes, the heat, combined with the effort of rushing to get there, and the fact that I fear waiting rooms in general, had given me a big-time all over body sweat. I had no time at all to acclimatise before I was called in to meet my physio, who transpired to be a ludicrously attractive young student. She ushered me into her torture chamber and began questioning me. I'm sweating like a swine and my general nervousness in hospitals isn't helping. Then she invites me to change into my gym clothes. Gym clothes?! Nobody mentioned this to me! Horror of horrors I'm asked to just undress to my pants like a forgetful schoolboy in PE class and I'm left standing there in all my sweaty, flabby glory in nought but pants and brown socks. BROWN SOCKS!

The next step in my horrific trial was to lie down on one of those tissue covered benches as she prodded and massaged me. As I imagine the horror she must be experiencing with each touch of my slimy body, I sweat more, and pretty soon the tissue is disintegrating in parts. I have to turn over, bits of paper sticking to me, the sweat and embarrassment rising until finally my ordeal is over.

But no, she makes me sit, dripping and semi-naked as she explains the exercises I should then do at home. And to top it off, when dressed I had to sit in the waiting room again to make another appointment. I couldn't even make a quick getaway as the session had brought the pain back to its usual levels, so I had to hobble out pathetically, and I think I may have even shed a single solitary tear, although that may have just been my eyeball perspiring.

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