OH No… Please, not the marbles!


Yesterday morning, bright and early, I started the modern torture known to the medical community as Physical Therapy.

This is a big step (literally) for me. Its been over 70 days since I took an unaided step on my left foot. So, let me tell you how it went – pain. Pure pain.

But, it felt so good and so bad at the same time. I had met and overcome a huge milestone on my way to recovery. I felt a certain unexpected pride in standing there in the front hall when my wife and kids came home and it took about 5 minutes for them to realize that I had 2 shoes on and was not on the knee scooter. And although I moved with the speed that would make the legend Tim Conway break into a sweat, I was able to hobble my way around the house.

The next morning, before 8AM, I was standing in front of the PT facility and was wondering how much I was going to be hurting after my scheduled hour was over… I knew from having gone through a past surgery (to repair a fractured wrist) that this was not going to be fun, or fast or pain-free. I was going to have to work hard to get back my full range of motion, to work through the pain and get to full strength. It was with much trepidation that I opened the door and greeted my newly assigned medical torturer.

I wont bore you with the details of stretching my foot a few millimeters to the left and to the right, of riding a recumbent at a speed so slow I was embarrassed. But, I will mention the marbles.

The dreaded marbles. I had no idea that someone could find such a painful way to use these devilish bits of stone polished to a perfectly round shape… It sounded so easy.

“Ok, Steve…” Paul (my designated Torturer) said as he put a small hand towel on the floor and took out a small plastic container that was filled with medium/small shiny marbles.

I swear that Paul seemed to have a sadistic smile on his face as he dumped the contents onto the towel and said with almost glee:

“I want you to roll each marble on the towel and grip it with your big toe and 2nd toe and put it back into the bowl.”

“Oh and its probably going to hurt, so take your time.”

Understatement of the year.

He set a timer for 5 minutes and I think I was able to place about a dozen marbles in the bowl. Who knew this would hurt soooo much.

Thus begins 6 weeks of creative torture designed to build back my strength, flexibility and get me back on my feet again. Like every other patient, I’ll survive – this torture isn’t meant to forcefully withdraw intelligence or for some sick pleasure. I know that I’ll make it through the pain and will emerge able to walk again normally…. But it’s going to be a looooong 6 weeks.

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