Whitney Reed seems like such a nice lady, kind and gentle, with pleasant eyes and a soothing voice. Then you enter her torture chamber.
I’m kidding, of course. Whitney is one of the physical therapists at Roper St. Francis Healthcare and she’s charged with making my 64-year-old hip feel like it’s half its age.
Turns out I have bursitis with bilateral muscle weakness which means my right hip hurts. Her job is to make it feel better by putting me through a series of stretching exercises twice a week, then giving me homework to do when I’m not under her watchful eye.
The first thing that makes me feel better is being in a large room filled with people with worse problems than mine. You know, people rehabilitating severely damaged knees and folks with serious back issues. So, all in all, I’m pretty lucky.
But getting old isn’t for sissies. When Whitney puts me into unnatural positions and tells me to pull or bend or stretch some sorely unexercised muscles, the sweat pops out on my forehead and my face contorts like I’ve been stabbed.
“Challenging or painful?” she asks as she walks by.
“Good question,” I said with a wince as I pulled my leg across my body. “It’s a fine line. Let’s go with challenging.”
I lied, but she liked that answer and gave me a few more exercises to do over a 45-minute session, of which there will be many more before she’s satisfied with my progress.
The good news is we have a state-of-the-art facility for this stuff right here at St. Francis Hospital near my home. And it’s filled with professionals like Whitney who are making life better every day for people suffering all manner of painful injuries, not to mention the wages of aging.
“See you next time,” Whitney says as I ice down my hip after my workout.
“Will that session be challenging or painful?” I ask.
“Pain is weakness leaving the body,” she explained, pointing to a sign in the workout room that expresses that thought.
“Great,” I said, clutching my homework instructions. “Pain it is.”