Thursday, May 22, 2008

Personalities at PT

*Quick note: I absolutely destroyed my cell phone. It is now broken in two - I'll b e getting one tomorrow and will see if I saved all my data to the phone OR to the phone chip. Let's cross our fingers for the latter. In the mantime, I'll be sure to post what I CAN do in a while. For those of you that have my number - could you please email me your cell number? Thanks in advacne... :)

Now that I’ve spent several weeks in physical therapy, I’ve acquired a pretty good idea of the varying personality types that work and train at my specific PT studio. So in the style of Elizabeth Fedofsky’s Swimmer Personality Types, I present you – dear readers – with the Personalities of Physical Therapy. Enjoy!

The Over Achiever: Individual who wants to do everything now. They won’t stop, they don’t always listen, and they’re downright stubborn about their program. They want to get better and get on with life. But they always show up (on time!) to appointments and are generally agreeable. They look forward to new challenges and are generally good natured. A real challenge to the physical therapists.

The Golf Pro: Usually attending physical therapy because they need a break from The Tour. They have some sort of injury, but don’t exactly know what or where. They are looking for “their swing” and are waiting for their next “big tournament”. They constantly chew gum, flirt with the assistants, and show up wearing pressed chinos and a striped polo shirt.

The Ex Golf Pro: A retiree with chronic shoulder, arm, or back problems. They had a great career, and now enjoy golf in their free time. Physical Therapy is a hindrance, as it forces them to adjust their swing. But they work twice as hard as their younger counterparts, simply for the love of the game. They constantly chew gum, flirt with the assistants, and show up wearing pressed chino sorts and a striped polo shirt.

The Knee Rehabilitation Patient: Constantly making faces whenever they have to bend their operated-on knee. Spend much time in leg traction and doing flexibility exercises. Generally wear loafers, shorts, and are in the latter stages of life. Have a sense of humor and are good natured about the long scar on their legs. Don’t like balance exercises, as it forces them to wobble uncontrollably.

The Guy on the Cell Phone (always): The cell phone is constantly ringing, and he never fails to answer. Doesn’t matter if he’s doing lunges, step ups, leg extensions, balancing on the bosu, or all four - has always got the phone pressed to his ear. Most annoying when the physical therapists are trying to explain something to him, and he’s still on the phone, chatting away.

The Soccer Player: Usually has some sort of knee or hip injury from kicking hard on their dominant side. Good looking, short, tan, and in-shape, this patient presents a unique challenge to physical therapists. With uncanny hand-eye coordination, they are masters with the medicine ball and trampoline, but don’t like stretching or spending time in traction. Are devoted to physical therapy and will listen to their therapists as they do their coach.

The Softball Player: A sturdy, tall-ish, gal in her late teens or early twenties. Most are constantly working to rehabilitate shoulders or knees. A quiet intensity and focus surrounds most of them. But there’s always one that flirts with her physical therapist. Like the soccer player, most of them have a lot of respect for their physical therapists and treat them like a coach. Except for the lone flirt of the bunch: she’ll do anything she can to draw attention to herself.

The Volleyball Player: Tall, lean, and usually very tan, she draws attention from all the male clients, most notably The Golf Pro, while she moves from one station to the next. Generally, her shorts are as short off the court as they are on the court.

Mr/Ms Missed Appointments: Individual who chooses when they show up. They have no shame in skipping appointments or being late to said appointments. They come whenever they choose, and clearly aren’t all that interested in physical therapy. As a result, the physical therapists enjoy making them stretch or do extra push-ups. And the on-time patients enjoy watching the show.

The On-every-occasion Late Comer: Usually the younger crowd, although busy professionals are know to show up late. They breeze in, 10, 15 minutes after their appointment time with barely an apology or else a half made-up excuse for their tardiness. Their excuse would be believable, however as their lateness is a constant, the physical therapists see right through their excuses. They are also subjected to additional work.

The Occupational Patient: Sits at the table with the occupational therapists, working on hand and wrist movements. Common activities include marble count, sewing practice, and small motor skills. Most patients look as though they crochet their own clothes. And the therapists do as well. Always calm, collected, and quiet, they tend to shoot wary looks at the athletically-minded patients.

The Retiree: Can be confused with the Former Golf Pro. Usually an avid golfer who just wants to get their swing back. Flirts with the assistants, chews massive amounts of gum, and wears khaki shorts with polo shirts stretched tightly across their abdoment. They spend 6 months out of the year on all-you-can-eat cruises, and look perpetually tanned. Always in search of a better golf swing.

The Flirt: Can be confused with The Softball Player or The Volleyball player. Happy to bat eyelashes and do whatever their physical therapist says – as long as the therapist is a good looking young male. Will attempt to use persuasive good looks to get out of the hard stuff, although not always successful.

Barbie: Shows up perfectly made up, eyelashes in place, make-up perfectly applied, and not a strand of hair out of place. In spite of doing the work, never breaks a sweat. Or smells bad – unless the scent of flowery perfume counts. Usually tall and tan. Has an aversion to flat-soled shoes.

Ken: Barbie’s match. Tall, dark, tan and generally hairless and handsome. Has pearly white teeth and a smile that he’ll flash at anything with a heart beat. Can be confused with The Golf Pro, right down the the pressed chinos and striped polo shirt. Smells strongly of aftershave and cologne. Never sweats and is adored by the female secretaries. Has a fake laugh to match his fake smile.

The High Schooler: Never stretches or does his assigned physical therapy at home, but shows up on time because his mom drives him. Hates stretching, but generally willing to make a fool out of himself doing all sort of different exercises. Looks at physical therapy as a “game”, and believes that he’ll inevitably get better – with or without the physical therapy.

The “I Can’t”: Person who never thinks they can do anything, even if they’ve done it before. The knee replacement “can’t ride the bike” and the shoulder surgery patient “can’t rotate with the 5 lb weight.” Tend to give up before trying. Very infuriating to The Over Achiever, and the two normally clash. Frustrating for the physical therapists – but they are determined to make this person do something. Miracles are known to happen.

The Basketball Player: Very very tall. And coordinated for their height. Always wearing baggy shorts and has the latest and greatest new shoes. May even have their own shoe contract, usually as part of a basketball team. Does the work without question, and treats their physical therapists like their coach. Except the PTs are willing to stretch out their shoes and get said shoes “game-ready.”

The Hurt-on-the-Job-er: The person who fell or hurt themselves while working at their job. Depending on their career choice, they may spend time at the Occupational Therapy table, or else on various other pieces of equipment. They show up wearing work clothes: overalls, paint-spattered shoes, or (in the case of occupational therapy), self-crocheted sweaters.

The Funny Guy: Always cracking jokes. Will joke in the chair, while climbing a stair. Will joke while stretching on the wall, or doing sit-ups on the ball. Always ready with a quick response and funny comment. Humor is self-deprecating, but appreciated by all. Enjoys making fun of the late-comers, but mostly pokes fun of themselves.

The Over-confident One: The person who will attempt any pose or any new exercise without question. Usually tends to make a complete fool out of themselves, as they roll off the ball, drop a weight, or toss a ball way off the mark. Can be exasperating for the physical therapists, but their wherewithal is appreciated. Can be mistaken for The Over Achiever and vice versa. But innately different personalities.

The Professional (office worker): Shows up with cell phone and office gear in tow. Depending on where they work, will sometimes bring a change of clothes – suit and tie or pants suit – into the physical therapy office to change after their session. Are always on time, follows their routines without question, and devote their full attention to their progress. Have been known to answer the cell phone, but keep their work separate from physical therapy appointments. Not to be confused with The Guy On The Cell Phone.

The Whiner: Confused with The “I Can’t” individual, except The Whiner is much worse. Not only complains about what they can’t do, but perpetually whines about what they have to do. Something is always not right with them, and they do their best to make every one else aware of their problems.

The Cheater: Are known to skip entire sets of workouts or drills. Finish their assignments oddly early and without sweating. Not to be confused with Barbie. Their progress is not great, as they are constantly cheating on their sets. Unwilling or unable to do hard work. Do not get along well with The Over Achiever or The Over-confident One.

The Great Debater: Tries to finagle different exercises or drills out of their physical therapist. Will debate every last element of their physical therapy, right down to the color hand weights and the times they’ll return. Enjoys the attention from others at the PT studio, and enjoys conversing with all. Has been known to disagree just for the sake of disagreeing.

The Jock: Constantly reliving their high school days, as they were (self-professed) “the best of their lives.” Played football baseball, or basketball and enjoys discussing game-winning shots from 10 years ago. Does not understand The Golf Pro, retirees, or triathletes.

The Rotator Cuff Injury: One of the most painful injuries, but determined to make it through better than before the injury. Especially popular with Softball players and Golfers, this injury requires a lot of patience, and using light weights. Patients are know to make awful and horrendous faces while being stretched out.

The Uncoordinated One: Person who is given a 4 or 6 pound medicine ball, told to “toss sideways against the trampoline”, and who promptly ricochets it off the side of the trampoline, nearly beheading the stretching knee replacement patient. Self-professed klutz. Jokes that there’s a, “reason why I do multisport.”

The Always-Using-The –Bathroom One: Self-explanatory. After EVERY exercise, makes a trip to the bathroom. Makes other patients aware of their own limited bladder space, and thus the line forms. Tends to drink lots of coffee, in spite of their overactive bladder.

The High Heels and Jewelry One: Can be mistaken for Barbie. Always wears jewelry and high heels. Is perfectly made up, smells nice, and has her hair done up. Does not sweat. Questionable weather or not she’s human at all.

The Teacher’s Pet: Always doing what the physical therapist says. Is a little over-eager to please, and is willing to sacrifice dignity for balancing on the Swedish ball. Shows up 10 minutes early and brings treats for all the office workers.

The Animal Lover: Loves all animals, has lots of pets, and smells oddly of dried cat food and fur balls. Talks obsessively about her cats. And then passes around pictures.

So there you have it. Just want to make a side note that IF there is any similarities between REAL people and those portrayed in this article, it’s PURE coincidence. Trust me –unless you want to show up to my Physical Therapy studio and see for yourself. Only make sure if you do decide to attend, you show up on time. But if you don’t, that’s okay. I and my fellow PT patients would enjoy a good laugh, while you attempt 3 X 25 Bosu Ball pushups.

I can only do so much to help you, although, I DO enjoy a good laugh while watching others on the bosu... Wait and wee!


BreeWee said...

This is so funny, reminds me of the dentist office too, and school, and triathlons, and everywhere! You nailed all the different peeps on their personalities. Let me guess, you are the animal lover! ha ha ha, your PT sounds like a FUN place!

Beth said...

So which one are you Marit?!?! :) Have a great day!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Thanks guys! I consider myself 'The Teacher's Pet", "The Over Achiever", - and "The Uncoordinated One."

Yesterday I nearly DID kill someone with a 6 pound medicine ball. Totally unintentional - but that's what you get when your PT tells you to stand 8 feet away from the mini trampoline and side toss the ball in it's general direction. I guess they assumed I could throw and had good aim.

Throw - I could.
The good aim part was a bit of an afterthought.

Thankfully, the knee rehab patient stretching was able to duck out of the way just in time.

I was SO embarassed. Then again - there's a reason why I do multisport and when I played soccer I was Sweeper and Stopper. I didn't have great aim, but I could KICK the ball way out of the park.

Anonymous said...

I also have to do the weighted ball toss to the trampoline - standing on one leg. I feel like such a girl when I throw - it's terrible, but I'm getting better. It's all about standing in the right place and hitting the right spot on the trampoline. Today, I believe she is going to make me do this standing one-legged on a bosu ball - yikes! Here is where I become the Whiner.

You forgot the Know It All patient - she tells the PT how to do their job. They assign the students to her as she can tell them everything they need to do. If you're not careful, she'll tell you what you are doing wrong.

It is a great people-watching place.


Sarah said...

That was hilarious. Really. i LOVED all the descriptions and couldn't help but think "I bet Marit is the cross between the Animal Lover and the Over-achiever." Didn't know you weren't very coordinated. I would probably fall somewhere in the over-achiever/perpetually late/un-coordinated one.

Sounds like PT is good times. Happy Friday!!

Ryan said...

You're not the animal lover are you?

I would imagine that a cat the size of yours would create enormous fur balls that would stick to your clothes.

I couldn't wear black until I killed Melissa's cat, errrrrr, I mean it died of "natural" causes.

We all know you are really the teacher's pet!

TriGirl Kate O said...

I confess, I am a hybrid of three PT patients:
Mrs. Missed Appointment (mostly while still in school;)
Late Comer (when I do show up invariably I'm 15 minutes late);
and The Flirt (my PT is quite cute!) but I don't often get out of doing the hard stuff. My favorite is the push the sled w/ 90lbs of weight down the hall and back 3xs.
POTE is the next book I'm reading!
Glad you're home safe and that the trip went well--it really sounds like you're quite a ways down that road of recovery.