Chapter 6: Physical Therapy
Three weeks after receiving my new legs and having numerous adjustments done. Dr. Mumford announces I am ready to start physical therapy at the Bethesda center. Today is my first day at the Bethesda center to start my first day of therapy. My therapist is a Navy reservist named Matt Green, he is a drill sergeant when on duty, and right now he is my drill sergeant. OH god, what I have gotten myself into, I should have asked for the hottie working with a guy in a wheel chair. She was blonde and well shaped, but no I got Mr. Muscles here who looks like he could bench press me with one arm.
After introductions he starts working my butt off, in true Drill Sergeant Fashion by getting in my face. Wait until Dad and Grandpa here my therapist is a drill sergeant. Dad will just smirk and grandpa will go good that is just what you need someone to ride that lazy ass of yours.
First exercise he starts me off with is just standing up, this part which was not so bad, then there was the standing and not holding on part again no so bad I managed to stay mostly vertical after the thired time, I fell down twice and had to grab on to the bars to hold myself up on the forth try. We did this exercise for about 20 minutes, holding on, letting go, holding on, letting go again. I was waiting to something else this was getting boring and I finally mastered standing without aid. "Ok let's take a break" he says, get some water and come back here in 10. You got me. "Yes sir, sergeant sir!" giving him a sloppy salute, I get back in my chair since I am just learning to walk again and roll over to the fountain for drink and to run some water on my head. When I come back after my 10 minute break which seemed more like one, we started it again and worked for the next three hours on building my stamina but standing and sitting and holding on and letting go. Hey this wasn't so bad I thought as I headed to the showers and home. Boy was I wrong.
The next day was worse definitely worse. Sergeant Matt as he liked to be called started me on the same exercises as the day before and after thirty minutes of work, he had me stand once more and then he did the unthinkable at least to me, I wasn't ready, at least I didn't think I was ready to start walking, I barely managed standing yesterday but he must have thought I was ready because he said "ok, now let's take these legs for a test drive now." Seeing me hesitate he went into full Drill Sergeant Mode and shouted "Move it!" His shouting at me startled the others around us garnering a few smiles, chuckles, and smirks from the staff and patients who have had the privilege of seeing the Sergeant in action. "Let's go! Move, move, move it DiNozzo, you can do this. Come on what are you waiting for an engraved invitation! Move it!"
I was still not sure that I could do what he was asking me "you mean walk, actually walk, I mean I just stood up yesterday and, but,…" I start to stutter but Matt is not letting me finish he continued to speak to me in that DI voice of his, the one he used yesterday when at the beginning I was feeling sorry for myself again.
Remember our chat yesterday before leaving the workout room he sat me down at one of the tables for a chat and we discussed my treatment we talked for about an hour about what his expectations were and boy; were they high. He promised to having me walking in no time, I just didn't expect it to be our second session. I mean I thought I would you know somehow build up to it.
"Yeah DiNozzo are you deaf or something to? Now get your ass up and out of that chair and walk" this was the same voice I learned he used with his raw recruits in boot camp, geeze am I screwed. He was treating me like one of them. All I do was steady myself on the bars as he had at me again and I answered. "Yes sir, moving sir" my muscles were protesting the movement. After about five minutes I finally got my left leg to move and then the right. Wow I took my first step.
"Good, now that again, one foot in front of the other, come on, you can do it, even a baby can do. Now move!"
As I tried to do it again, I fell down and started to pick myself up and he said "Do it again come, get off your lazy butt" as I nearly fell again trying to hang on to the bars for dear life "but, I"
"There is no but in this room. There is only CAN! You got that!" Looking at me full of fire in his eyes and determination more than I had at the moment, "DO YOU GET IT!" he shouted at me.
All I could do and say was "I got it sir!"
"Now that's better." Standing in front of me as I took my second tentative steps and this time I didn't fall down. Smiling that I managed two steps, "ok now give me two more." Regaining my momentum I gave him another two small baby steps and then another two until I made it to the end of the bars and back again. Exhausted by now, I was hoping he would call a break as sweat was dripping down my face but, no, I had to go back in the other direction. So I tried myself around without falling down again and started the slow journey back to the other side.
After three months of working intensely with Matt, I was finally able to get around without my wheel chair and I could walk with a pair of arm crutches for short distances and I could also start to stand for longer periods of time. I was happy I was finally making progress. Matt was confident with my continued progress I would soon not need the crutches either to get around. Finally gaining more independence and being able to get around myself did load for boosting my self-esteem which was pretty bad when this who mess started.
Everyone was proud of my progress and I was even in talks with Vance about coming into the office to work twice a week while I continued my cold case and consultant work. He mentioned a position he might have for me once my therapy sessions lessen to twice a week and don't take half the day. I still couldn't drive yet, though they Matt seemed to think I could eventually with a specially equipped car. I still needed people for now to drive me around when I needed to somewhere since where my grandparents home is there is no public transportation. But, we worked out a schedule where they or dad or one of the team would get me where I needed to be.
Dad has been especially helpful in getting me around and with everything that has happened he has been there for me, unlike my sperm donor. Now that I am more mobile we are spending more time in his basement working on his latest projects. Currently we are working on a new kitchen table and chairs. Seeing that I had stopped sanding as I was wool gathering as he called it "hey son, that leg is not going to sand itself." Smiling at me as I bend down to pick up the sanding block I start sanding the leg he just cut and start sanding. Smirking I say "Yes sir!" giving him a sloppy salute ah life was finally good and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.