For almost 3 years I have been under the care of a Physio in South Africa. I met her when she worked in another practice, up the street from our house in Cape Town. When she left there and started her own practice, I followed.
It all started with hip and leg pain that I could not manage. My back for years has caused sciatic nerve pain. Truthfully, I couldn’t tell what pain was what. I just hurt.
I was alternating ibuprofen and Tylenol and sometimes taking both. I had hip injections two years ago, without a positive outcome. Gabapentin was prescribed, three times a day. I was a wreck.
First, my physio just listened to me. And she listened. And she took notes and digested it all. Then she thought for a bit, gave me a kind, “pay attention to me” look, that she got from her mother I think, and said this,
“You know Doug, You are so active and have the mindset of a man much younger than you are, but you have to understand. Our bodies get wrinkles on the inside, too.”
Wrinkles on the inside.
Such a lovely way to describe aging. My aging. I have had a terrible time accepting the fact that I am not who I was. I mean I know, intellectually that I’m not a young man anymore, but in my heart I still think that way.
I use to think I was middle aged. Only if I live to 140. Middle age ended 20 years ago for me.
It’s not just that either. My whole mindset is tied to so much of my life. Coaching. Winning. Having to win. Setting an example to my players. Always working harder than my opponents. Having to be the best. All that is the foundation beneath everything that I have accomplished in my life.
With help, I’ve come to understand that I don’t have any opponents anymore. I don’t have to be the best. I have to be me. A 69 year old man.
My goal has always been to grow old with grace. It’s happening.
I’m being rebuilt from the head down. First she suggested therapy. My head needed adjusting for sure. Too much going on in my life. Pain is tied to your mental state. That is where she started with me. I did that, and just adjusting my thinking, began to change everything.
I have never been made to, or allowed to, feel old. Ever. She is so smart and such a professional, filled with knowledge and Physio Wisdom, and she has an extraordinary ability of conveying that knowledge, in just the right way, at just the right time.
I am a different person through her guidance. I have made so many practical adjustments.
When you go to PT in America, it’s a physical exercise. I have had good PT here, but it’s not like the training a “physio” gets in South Africa. It is much more wholistic. There is plenty of Physical Therapy, but not without my mind/body connection.
My physio is a pain reduction expert. I take very little medication. Tylenol sometimes after a day of hiking, to help me sleep.
I do Zoom sessions with her here in America. she is guiding me through my hip replacement surgery and recovery. She is on my team. I am very grateful for all she has done and is doing for me. I’m not easy.
Evidently, is is much more difficult to get a patient to slow down, than it is to get one get going. I am a prime example of that theory.
But, I am changing.
From just hiking, I now do Tai Chi, I walk, I will cycle, I will swim, when it becomes possible. I do a complete program of stretching and pilates type exercises. For life….It’s working. No pain.
My recovery from the surgery is on schedule. The fitness routines I did right up until the surgery, have made a huge difference in how quickly my body is responding.
It’s not possible, for me, to do all these things without help. I need to know what to do and I need to be held accountable.
Thank you. I am letting my physio remain anonymous, as per her wishes. If you want a South African referral. Contact me privately.
T-minus one month until the target date for my first new hip hike!