You Have My Back

I’m a lucky guy. I have three great physical therapists. They treat me well from my top to my bottom. Literally. And I have a fine orthopedic surgeon. They are all busy with me lately.

Three of the PT’s, Anna, Bri and Don, are assigned to my neck, shoulders and arm, and the other PT, Eva, helps me to effectively perform a certain exercise that I wrote about in a column a few years ago. Now I’m back for a second round of treatment. I’m glad it is literally not a round. It’s embarrassing enough already, but can you imagine how I would feel if every time Eva finished with our session, someone rang a bell? DING DING DING! More on this later…

Previously, I saw my orthopedist who ordered an X-ray and then an MRI on my shoulder, for injuries I received from a pretty bad fall when I was out jogging a few months ago. Here’s what I saw the next day on MyChart, my Community Hospital portal to all my medical information. These were just a few of the notes from the radiologist who read my results.

“The coracoid process is intact. The coracoclavicular ligaments are intact. The deltoid muscle is intact. The humeral head and bony glenoid are intact. The infraspinatus and teres minor are intact. The cardio-ligaments are intact. Visualized portions of the chest wall appear grossly intact.”

I have never been considered person with any tact, so this all came as good news.

Now here’s the bad news I read: Patient has Edematous capsular thickening at the IGHL and rotator interval most consistent with adhesive capsulitis. Supraspinatus tendinosis with a partial intrasubstance tear at the far anterior.

“Could you translate that into English?” I asked my bone doc during my appointment in his office.

“Well, Dick, you are 75 years old. That pretty much explains all that.  Everyone has most of those issues at your age—if they reach your age.”

Now back to Eva. She is in charge of getting my pelvic floor back in shape, since those muscles were weakened due to a surgery several years ago. At this point, the term Kegel may require some googling by men. And I don’t mean peeking in the window at the rehab facility. Men in particular would be wise to question Siri or Alexa about Kegeling. Every woman knows what it is.

Eva’s a tiny little thing, but by just working on me an hour a week for about a month, my pelvic floor is getting back to its original condition. By comparison, last winter it took three big men with a giant electric sander to get our dining room floor back in shape.

I also have exercises to do at home for my arm and shoulder, as well as doing my Kegel maneuvers. I really don’t have enough time during the day to do all of these routines, so last night I tried to do everything simultaneously while watching TV. I was stretching my upper body, twisting my neck from side to side, and pulling up on an elastic band held under my foot. And all those repetitions while doing Kegels. I must have looked odd, because Mary Ellen thought I was showing signs of a terrible neuromuscular disorder.

Last week, Eva wasn’t around so I asked Anna a quick question about the Kegels. Ana did not train for that specialty and she told me, “Sorry, Dick, that’s a little over my head.”

“Then you are doing it all wrong,” I told her.

Dick Wolfsie spent his career sharing his humor, stories and video essays on television, radio and in newspapers. His columns appear weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at Wolfsie@