Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Let's Get Physical (Therapy)

Today was my first real day of physical therapy (as opposed to the last time, which was just a consulatation). It wasn't too bad, though the session lasted longer than I thought at 90 minutes. I didn't think that there would be much I could do since I'm still non-weight bearing, but the therapist, Abigail, really gave my foot a workout.

First, she had me put heat on it for 20 minutes and the massaged it for 10 (this was my favorite part). After, I had to move my foot in every way possible -- curl the toes, flex and point, rotate my ankle. None of these exercises hurt, but my foot felt very stiff and it was shaking a bit because it's still so weak. She then had me do some movements where I actually put my foot on the floor (while sitting) and THAT felt strange. She had me rest my toes on the floor while I did calf raises with my heel and then rest my heel on the floor while I raised my toes. The calf raises hurt! I wasn't in agony or anything, but my muscles were quite sore. This makes me even more nervous about what it will feel like when I actually stand on my foot again, but the therapist told me if I do these exercises twice a day, I'll build up my muscles and the swelling will go down. I sure as hell hope so. I'm not intending to half-ass anything, though. I'll do these exercises daily.

I also picked up a mini ultrasound machine that's supposed to help my fracture heal. I haven't used it yet so I don't know what it'll feel like, but I have to keep it on my leg for 20 minutes a day, as well. So between this and the therapy, a good chunk of my day is filled.

I'm grateful that I've had my parents to drive me around to these various appointments. I was afraid that we'd kill each other, because we tend to argue when we spend a lot of time together -- especially when I'm alone and without my husband -- but so far (knock on wood, knock on wood), it's been okay. They still annoy me; for instance, my dad refused to listen when I told him to back the wheelchair out at a certain point because this is how Jon does it ... and sure enough the chair got stuck. And he still keeps asking me questions about my medical history (have you seen this type of doctor? Why are you listed as being pre-diabetic -- what does that mean?) whenever my mom goes out for a cigarette (yeah, I get the irony, too). But I'm trying to keep my cool and not flip out at him, even though I wish he wouldn't ask me this stuff.

We actually had a very civil conversation today about my weight. He said that he saw an interview with Al Roker who'd shared that even though he'd gotten a gastric bypass, he'd gained weight back -- and that no matter how thin he got, he'd always be a fat person inside, kind of like an alcoholic always is an alcoholic, even if he's sober. I explained that yes, this is exactly how it is for me -- that I want to be thin and have succeeded before but it's just been so difficult for me to stay on track. That even though I know what to eat, that I'm often overtaken by a compulsion to binge, and that I have to think about every bite I eat. I also revealed that I've been speaking with a therapist about my eating disorder and my dad was happy to hear that. I think maybe he's beginning to understand how complex obesity and how me being fat doesn't mean that I'm lazy or "misbehaving" because I ate "bad" food. I think that maybe Roker's interview hit a nerve or something and he saw how even someone who went to great extremes to lose weight has had a difficult time fighting his food addiction.

This conversation was important to me because I feel as if my weight has created a barrier between my parents and me. When I began to gain in college, it understandably frustrated them, but I don't think they handled it well. They'd lecture me as if I were a naughty child, attempted to use negative reinforcement ("You'll never get a boyfriend, job, etc.") and actually threatened to take me out of school if I didn't lose. Then when I did lose a little, they'd remind me that I had more to go. When I was a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding, I looked GREAT and a lot of people complimented me -- but then my mom replied, "She still has to lose some more."

I get that they were concerned, but I wished that they'd taken a different approach. I don't think that they meant to make me feel badly about myself, but they did. Not only was I upset about gaining the weight, but now I was disappointing them, as well. That's what really got to me, that I let them down so much. The thing is, I TRIED to lose the weight, as I am now. But they didn't seem to understand that or understand how hard it was for me.

Eventually the pressure got to me and I just stopped coming home during holidays whenever it was possible for me to find another place to stay. During our long spring break, I went home with my now sister-in-law and spent Passover with my now in-laws (on a sidenote, this is how I got to know my husband). And during Thanksgiving of senior year, I chose to spend the weekend in our house by myself rather than come home. I lied that I had to do a shift at the newspaper where I was working at the time, but I just didn't feel like dealing with them. So while everyone else was enjoying Thanksgiving with their families, I was all by myself for four days. It sucked. But it was better than going home and getting in an argument.

These days, I have a decent relationship with my folks, but we don't see each other much. They travel often and I've made a point to only see them when Jon is with me to act as a buffer. I would like to be closer, though. I think that they could handle things better, but then again, I probably can, too.

Now that I'm older, I can see their side of things a little better. I'm not sure what I'd do if I had a daughter and she became obese as an adult. I don't know what I'd say or how I could help her without hurting her feelings. I guess I can see how it would be a tough thing to deal with. I don't think that my parents are bad people at all, but they (unintentionally) made ME feel like a bad person.

I think that there are too many bad memories tied in with my parents and my weight for me to ever fully let them in on my weight loss struggles; as of now, they don't know that I spent some time bingeing and purging. But if I can let them in at least a little, maybe we can find some peace.

1 comment:

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