My wife is a physical therapist which means she actually helps people for a living rather than exploiting their weaknesses for financial gain. That’s why I married her – she’s literally my ticket into heaven.
Which reminds me, I’ve got a great ground-floor opportunity for you we should discuss by tomorrow afternoon. It’s filling up fast. Plus there’s free shipping.
I turned 40 (a while back) and as my friend predicted random things started breaking. My sleep. My attention span (I’m no doom scroller but I am a “closest available deep-fried food at midnight” scroller). My shoulder.
I woke up one day and yes, my massive, sculpted, perfectly coiffed, shaven and tanned right shoulder just started hurting. Like most intelligent men, I waited about six weeks for it to magically go away. Somehow it didn’t.
Begrudgingly I went to my primary care doctor and she referred me to this other doctor, of the muscle and spine variety. I think the word “Performance” was somehow incorporated in the marquee at his clinic, right before the word “Medicine,” which made me hope anyone who saw me walking in assume I was a professional triathlete or at least a cross-fit enthusiast, although if I participated in either of those sports right now I’d undoubtedly vomit during warm ups. Or possibly putting on my gear. Including a jock strap. I always wear jock straps when I work out.
This doctor did some kind of bait-and-switch maneuver where he had me look over “there” then push against his arm with my forearm or something and yes he determined I had something wrong with my rotator cuff (which I thought was a myth muscle) and would I like drugs or physical therapy? He didn’t even offer me a lollipop. I chose physical therapy.
Now perhaps you’re thinking “Oh cool your wife is a physical therapist she can just do it” and I’m here to tell you to wake up and think before you talk. And maybe don’t talk out loud to yourself. Having your spouse provide professional services in any capacity is the equivalent of dumping live piranhas and ginsu knives on your marriage. Plus I whine a lot.
It just so happens during this time my special lady was taking a class based on the teachings of the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) in Lincoln, Nebraska. She advised I consult a physical therapist here in town with a PRI Certification.
I did. His name was Jeremiah. He looked at my shoulder (admiringly, I will say) and said it hurts because of weakness in my lower left ab wall and furthermore there’s nothing wrong with my rotator cuff and please stop taking all the free pens. I insisted that just a week ago my lower left ab wall looked like Brad Pitt’s in Fight Club and felt even stronger, I’m not sure what happened and why it now looks like a piece of an obese halibut, but sure, I believe you, and you shouldn’t leave the pens out if you don’t want people to take them. All.
Then he told me to lie on my back, put my feet against a wall, and blow into a balloon. Assuming this was some weird internet thing likely broadcast to perverts around the world I kind of fake-practiced in the clinic. Then I went home.
For the first time in my life I felt guilty about my skepticism, plus my various health insurance fraud scams (never convicted) put any active claim under a microscope, so I figured I’d give it a try just to finish out the claim. I did this balloon business for five weeks and haven’t had a shoulder problem since.
Something happened with my ankle a few months later. I went back, Jeremiah taught me some more insane exercises, one of which involves walking backwards up and down stairs and breathing a certain way and I was doing it recently in the dark at about 5:45 a.m. and this citizen walked by and oddly enough commented that he liked our blow-up Santa and Reindeer decorations rather than the fact I’m apparently an insane person obsessively backwards walking and breathing loudly but I’m glad the decorations brightened his gloomy morning. Oh, and my ankle basically doesn’t hurt anymore.
My wife continued her education in this modern-day witchcraft. Lots of hard work. Courses. Tests. Visits to Lincoln, Nebraska for more tests. Years went by. Decades. I applauded her for bettering herself and trying to help humankind but I mean where’s my homemade mac and cheese you know? I have to COOK?
We even took our son to the Postural Restoration Institute. The inventor guy (I too plan on inventing an institute of some kind one day) who goes by the name Ron Hruska, basically went “Oh he needs prism glasses,” after about 30 seconds of evaluation and boom my kid started walking around without a limp, with his head up. See? Witchcraft. My son’s too young for placebo so don’t go all placebo on me. Although he was given an inordinate amount of sugar pills.
In case you’re wondering (you’d better be, this is good for you) there’s more to PRI than I’m letting on. It involves breath and breathing, diaphragm usage to balance natural asymmetries in the body, our contact with the ground – a whole host of things I’m not qualified to discuss and am certainly too lazy to research I mean are you going to pay me for this? Plus I enjoy condensing two decades-worth of positive medical and health explorations, a man’s life’s work that will benefit humankind, not to mention the hard work of all the super Midwest-nice therapists and staff there, into some pithy commentary.
Also in case your wondering, Lincoln, Nebraska has really good queso. And beef products. I mean seriously good. The queso is white and the edges get kind of thick and chewy and it’s liquid cheese I think and the beef basically lives right there in people’s backyards. I’d gladly sacrifice my Pacific Northwest Salmon and subsequent heart health for an early death at the hands of Lincoln queso and cow. Cows.
Just this month my wife went to Lincoln to take The Ultimate PRI Test, the PRC (Postural Restoration Certified™). She passed, mostly because of my unyielding faith and perhaps the fact she studied for the better part of oh let’s call it a year with the last six months virtually studying with a peer from Ohio who somehow lives in Vermont. Go figure. I guess if you work hard and stay focused and have a passion blah blah blah you’ve heard it all before.
So, the real message here is I now have a pretty cool t-shirt my wife brought back from her trip which makes up for my lack of mac ‘n cheese, and this PRI business isn’t really witchcraft, it’s real, despite the fact this guy and the Institute don’t exactly get mad props from the American Physical Therapy Association.
But that’s what happens when you go first and lead you know? Not everybody gets it right away. And you’ll have some haters. But haters are just confused fans. They’re into your stuff, they just haven’t wrapped their heads around it yet.