Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Physical Therapist, Session 1

So I’m lying on a table in a frigid room with 12 springy needles hanging from various appendages, one of which feels as though it is actually buzzing in the middle of my forehead. I'm thinking about how to explain our philosophy of street ministry to one of our new, enthusiastic volunteers. I'm thinking deep thoughts to avoid seeing the silver needle just within my visual horizon, hanging over my left eyebrow. And I’m thinking to myself that this is probably a waste of time, and money, and that surely this vague tremor running from my toes through my fingertips is just a figment of my imagination. That the physical therapist will come back in 15 minutes and I’ll just have a couple pale pink dots on my skin to record the whole experience.

And I do have the faintest of faint dots, if I look hard enough.

But my shoes fit.

And ladies and gentlemen, fit maybe isn’t the word. They nearly fell off my feet. I swear, my swelling went down so markedly between 3:30 and 5:00 pm today that I had a brief moment in which I wanted to go out and spend a credit card limit on all those high heeled, strapped and otherwise completely unsuitable for a missionary’s life shoes that I’ve been deprived of for so long. (I did try on these fantastic thick 1930’s glamour girl platforms but didn’t let the salesgirl know that the R$300 price tag was oh, about 20% of my SALARY. They stayed in the store. But then there were these gladiator boot things that have been running around in my mind all day…why oh why was I not born in Paris? Rome?) Shoe fetishes aside, I have no other explanation for the pain free way I nearly floated out of that office, except to say, acupuncture works?

The therapeutic massage yielded some humorous exchanges. I wasn’t feeling terrible when I showed up for my first session today, which made me feel somewhat guilty. I only want to go to the doctor when I’m at death’s door, so I guess it’s only natural that I would want my massage to feel like someone is kneading pine cones into sunburned flesh. Somehow, that makes it more worth the money? I didn’t feel much pain at all, but she was pretty freaked out. “Doesn’t this hurt??? Please, tell me when I hit a sore spot….Wow. Are you feeling ANYTHING? Do you get headaches? You should get headaches…oh my. Oh my. My.”

I tried to warn her beforehand but I don’t think she believed me.

We’ve scheduled a couple of sessions to experiment with what kind of treatment will work best for me: some funky French chiropractic-like therapy, acupuncture, massage. There are things I draw the line at: I’m not paying anyone to place seeds in my ears, for example, like the flyer a well-meaning acquaintance dropped off the other day. That goes against pretty much everything my mother taught me. And in this humidity? What if there’s a seed miscount and a few weeks later a bean plant starts sending forth shoots between my piercings? I’ll pass…

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