Informative Speech

Topics: Knee, Anterior cruciate ligament, Arthroscopy Pages: 2 (741 words) Published: April 16, 2011
I first had physical therapy at 27, after I slipped on an icy Montreal sidewalk and tore the ligaments in my left ankle. I had it again at 42 and 43, after surgery on my right and left knees, and most recently I’ve had it on both shoulders. My orthopedist likes to say surgery is half the battle. If so, it’s the easy half. The slow and repetitive work of physical therapy often starts the next day, and for an injury like a tear in an anterior cruciate ligament, it can take up to six months. Before you’ve done it, it’s hard to imagine anything is going to take so long and hurt so much. Part of the challenge is the nature of arthroscopic surgery, whose multiple incisions are often so tiny they barely leave a trace. I’ve had torn meniscus (cartilage) removed from both my knees, and I have to look really hard to find my scars. Removal of bone spurs from my shoulder through four incisions left my skin almost smooth. Surely this is a good thing. But those minuscule entry points make it difficult to comprehend what has been done in there. After only 45 minutes under general anesthetic and with no huge incision or bloody wound, why am I in so much pain? And why do I have to keep doing these silly exercises? Surgeons have little time, and sometimes less appetite, to discuss the minutiae of a procedure’s aftereffects. Often it’s the physical therapists who patiently explain what the physician did and why we now have to relinquish huge chunks of our time to rehabilitation. Physical therapy, or P.T., demands the month-after-month tedium of spending hours in a room filled with strangers stretching colored rubber bands or spinning their arms in circles. The rituals are oddly and intimately public. Patients of every age, race and income level share a large, sunny room. We do our leg-raises side by side on wide beds. We wait in line for the pulley, the elliptical and the arm bike. We learn a new language and its tools: the strap, the stick, shrugs and pinches. Everyone ends up in...
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