High Tech Magic

My physical therapist brought out the big guns on Tuesday.  She had frowned when I limped across the waiting room to join her for my session.  I confessed to nearly perfect behavior, at least for me, for two whole weeks.  I had been wearing my old orthodics regularly as I promised I would.  I only ran seven miles the previous week; a mere three this one.  Even in cross-training, I had eased up on plyometrics considerably, modifying my boxing warm-ups and cardio classes.  And, I had spent almost a week in bed, flatten by the flu.  I felt betrayed by my own body, unable to bear my own weight without experiencing pain. I could see by the look in her eyes that she sympathized with me.

“I spoke with my supervisor, and we think we should have the head of the department assess your foot.  The usual therapies are not working like they should.  This is unusual.  But there’s one more thing I want to try.  I’ll be right back.”

I lay on my belly on the table, my foot in the air and flexed, trying to stretch the tender tissue even more as I waited for her.  I could feel the crunchy tissue in the arch as I flexed and winced, resting my chin on my folded arms, trying to hold tight to my patience.

“This is the laser.  It’s not usually covered by insurance for this purpose, but we just came back from an informational session where this therapist did a study on using laser for soft tissue inflammation relief.  He said he has had huge success with it, especially for plantar fasciitis.  Let’s give it a try.”

My first question:  “How much is it going to hurt?”

My posture while asking this question:  Leg extended, offering the offending extremity up for sacrifice.

“Oh, it doesn’t hurt at all.  I have to wear these” and here, she held up a huge pair of black-framed sunglasses, the lenses tinted bright green, “and you have to wear them, too, unless you promise not to look back while the machine is on.”

As she made her fashion statement, slipping on the horrid eye protectors, I turned right back around and put my head between my arms, face down on the table.

“I’m good.  Don’t need to watch.”

I felt her hand on my foot and the slightest pressure as she pressed the tip of the laser on my foot.  It was over in less than two minutes.

“That’s it!  All done.”

“That’s it?”  I flipped over onto my back and sat up.

“Should it feel better right away?  Does it take time to notice a difference?”

“Well, you should notice today for sure.  See you in two weeks.”

I bent down and shoved my foot back into my sock and sneaker, wincing as the orthodic pressed up against my arch.  I grabbed my purse and book and left.

I pulled into my driveway, got out of my car and found myself walking, not limping, up the back stairs.  I spent the rest of the afternoon marveling at the lack of pain.  After a while, I forgot I had plantar fasciitis.  I went to kickboxing.  I did the whole warm up.  I stayed for the R.I.P.P.E.D. class afterward.  I jumped around in the back row of the class beside my friend Krissie, grinning like an idiot.

The pain is not completely gone.  But I ran a little over four miles this morning without much pain.  I am walking heel-to-toe on that foot now, instead of landing on the ball of my foot to avoid touching the ground with my heel.  The pain seems to be along the perimeter of my heel, the places where the laser was not applied.

I sit here on my couch writing this.  My cat is snoring loudly beside me.  The sun is blazing full-strength outside my living room window; the thermometer on this March day reads 81 degrees.  I am obsessed with wondering if I will be able to have laser therapy at my next and final physical therapy session in two weeks.  I wonder why it would not be covered by insurance.  I take no prescription drugs, I eat well, I exercise regularly.  I see my doctor for one check-up each year, at which time he shakes my hand, gives me a warm smile, and suggests I write a book on how to stay fit and eat right.  I think he has a crush on my cholesterol numbers.  Why would my insurance not cover this, when in the long run (my long, long run), they would be saving money?

It’s time to get back outside and live in this remarkable day—but the high tech magic of Tuesday will sit in the back of my mind, along with the hope for one more zap.

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2 Comments on “High Tech Magic”

  1. Pat Earle Says:

    Great news that you are less pain free,,but believe me..Health Insurance regs have NO connection with common sense and/or the patient’s welfare..just because it will alieviate pain, keep you away from further visits and in general help your overall health has NO bearing on on coverage-or lack of it !


    • Thanks, Pat, for confirming the way insurance works. Perhaps I should stop exercising and lay around more, get my blood sugar and cholesterol numbers cranked up so I can get my money’s worth from the thousands we pay for health insurance each year. Seriously, though, thanks for reading and taking time to comment. Big love to you.


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