I’m not going to lie, learning to love physio was hard. I don’t mean trying to do the Sudoku puzzle in the morning paper hard, I mean trying to give up the food you love the most hard.
Over the years I’ve had loads of physiotherapists and I have liked them all. I just didn’t find the therapy itself particularly enjoyable from the age of around six or seven until I was became old enough to understand and appreciate the benefits . The reasons that I didn’t like it were, admittedly, my own fault, no one else’s.
I was stubborn and pretty much all my friends were able-bodied when I was growing up and, as far as I knew, none of them had to have physio. But I did. It made me feel different and I hated feeling that way. I’d dodge doing my exercises as much as possible and would row with my parents about it all the time. I’d shout, scream and cry about it but they’d still make me keep doing the stretches that I needed them to help with, but I’d always try and avoid doing the ones that were my own responsibility. Sometimes, I’d go weeks without doing any and other times I’d do a set every couple of days. In reality I knew that I should be doing them morning and night at least but that never really happened.
I used to dread the appointments with my therapists because I knew that I wasn’t doing as well as I should or could be. They never actually told me off or shouted at me for it, but deep down I always felt like I was letting them down. Really I suppose the irony is was that the whole time the person I failed and disappointed the most was myself.
Then at sixteen I had a complete attitude change. I had some surgery (much more on that later) which meant that I wasn’t allowed to stand for six weeks, after which there’d be another operation. If I didn’t buckle down and get on with it I knew that I wouldn’t get the most out of the opportunity that I was given and I didn’t want to waste it.
Mum, Dad and I embarked on a regime that seemed to feel like I was doing exercises every 30 minutes. It was probably more like every 90 looking back on it. At the time it hurt more and left me more tired than any I’ve ever had to do in my life. I used to mock complain about the amount I had to do, but secretly I found that I actually looked forward to it!
I found my inner competitive streak around that time, even if it was only with myself. I would try and do one more of each activity every time and when I could see the results it made me so proud that I didn’t want to stop. I knew that I was being proactive in helping myself and that made me feel good and is probably what got me through that rehab period, along with the love and support of those around me, of course.
After that I figured that I worked so hard there was no point in giving it all up now. While I admit that I probably didn’t do as much of it as recommended while I was studying, I’ve really tried to get into a habit now that I’m back home again. Yes, there are times when I slip, days I forget and some days that I make the choice to have a day off. Now though, I don’t dread the appointments, I look forward to them and the sense of achievement that they bring.