On one side of me was a chunky man who appeared to be in his late 50’s/early 60’s. Like me, he was there to rehab his knee. You could tell that he was one of those soft men and a real complainer by his mannerisms even before he got down to the business of rehab. Once he started in with the exercises, he was literally howling in pain and crying like a baby while loudly spewing Tourette-like F-bombs and other expletives every 10 seconds. Normally, I might be inclined to cut someone in a rehab situation some slack but even his wife was there yelling at him to quit being such a baby so I figured I’d give myself the green light to scoff at his dramatic performance.
On the other side of me was an octogenarian rehabbing his shoulder. He kept getting pissed and muttering comments about his dissatisfaction at my therapist when she’d attempt to correct his form. Throughout his appointment, he continued to completely dismiss her qualified instruction. The one time he was compliant, he was nearly too compliant. She told him to roll to get on his left side on the narrow table, so this mouth-breather gave her an inquisitive look as if to say, “So you want me to roll off this table onto the floor? Ok.” After a quick pause, he rolled over and came dangerously close to rolling himself onto the floor 3 feet below before she stopped him and explained that he should get on his left side WITHOUT dropping off the table onto the floor. Later, while she assumed he was doing the exercises, she followed up with him only to find that he’d fallen fast asleep. He gasped, nearly jumped off the table and gave her the stink eye when she woke him.
Before this experience, I always figured the worst part about being a physical therapist would be having to touch and smell sweaty, injured strangers wearing gym clothes. Well, that, and of course, helping old men in loose shorts stretch their hamstrings which would put me at a high risk of witnessing a patient ‘hang brain’ while I’m touching them <shudder>. I learned today that I was wrong and the worst thing would be having to withhold my comments about people who whine excessively or are generally non-compliant with instruction for their own medical care.
I’m certain that I’d never have the patience to deal with patients like those two jokers. I guess it’s best that I followed my childhood dream of being a middle manager in corporate America.