Physical Therapy and Feeding the Hunger

I went back to a different blog I had where I posted about what my physical therapist had to say about me being hungry after PT.  But first, I’ll give a little bit of back story:

In October of 2007, my left knee finally said it wasn’t going to take me continuing to walk on it after years of dealing with an injury.  I went to a minor emergency clinic, who prescribed an MRI, and found my knee was slagged.  The doctor at the minor emergency clinic said I was looking at knee surgery, probably reconstructive because at 41, I was too young for replacement.   I found a surgeon who, after hearing about my injury in 2000, how my knee had always acted up after that, diagnosed my knee problem as me being fat, gave me a shot of cortisone in the knee (I was in tears it hurt so bad), and sent me away with a prescription for physical therapy, recommendation to lose weight and the words that we would absolutely NOT be doing surgery on my knee.  Not even to take out the shards that were in the knee (one of the many problems that showed up on the MRI) even though it would be beneficial to do surgery for that.

He totally disregarded what I’d told him about the injury.  About how I didn’t have any insurance at the time of initial injury OR for years afterwards.  And he disregarded what I’d told him about losing 70 pounds in a year and a half and how the knee was doing worse AFTER the weight loss.

I found a different surgeon, but it took a few weeks to get the initial appointment.  Meanwhile, I went to physical therapy on the hope that it would help with the pain I was still in (despite the cortisone shot the first surgeon had given me).

Conall the PT is a body builder and wrestler.  Besides having all the college degrees and classes for physiology necessary to be a licensed Physical Therapist, he also has a lot of personal knowledge of nutrition and what it takes to build muscle.   He’s done a lot of research so he could optimize his own training.

The second surgeon listened to my story of long time injury, having lost weight and the pain being worse, looked at the MRI and did a couple xrays of his own.  And said that my problem was due to the untreated injury, which was made worse by walking/running/climbing/etc on it all these years.  He said the only way to fix this would be reconstructive surgery.  And oh yeah, the cortisone didn’t help because it was contraindicated for this type of knee problem.

Long back story, I know.   The part following is from February of last year.  I was doing an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes of weight lifting exercises three times a week to rebuild the muscles that had atrophied due to the surgery and walking on my leg wrong for so many years.  I was doing balance and stability exercises as well as walking to retrain me how to walk correctly.  And after each PT appointment, I was starving.

In other PT news, on Monday Conall the PT told me something that I thought I’d never hear coming from the mouth of a medical professional. Let me preface this by reminding y’all that the only thing I’ve ever heard from medical professionals was that I had to lose weight, or suffer dire consequences in the future. Let me also preface this by saying that Conall the PT is not only very experienced in physical therapy (20 years experience and damn good at what he does), but he’s also a body builder and wrestler. So, on Monday we were talking and I told him how ravenous I am at the end of the appointment all the time now.

Conall asked if I ate immediately after the appointment, and I said we do. We usually go to some restaurant (because Mom doesn’t get that I need to eat NOW, not in two hours after I’m done with PT). Conall then asked what I ate. So I admitted that it was usually a hamburger and salad, occasionally fries or onion rings (go to a local Village Inn — Shoney’s or IHOP style restaurant). Conall told me I wasn’t eating enough, and then said that I should also have a shake as well as the hamburger and fries. Ummm HUH? Was that somebody who’s a medical professional telling a fat person to eat more?!?! I tell you, it really confused me.

So, Wednesday, we were talking more about my eating patterns on PT day, and I told him that I eat protein before coming to PT. He said that was great, and told me that, as well as my water that I bring, I should bring either some electrolyte drink (but it HAS to be the type with carbs in it, not sugar free stuff) or juice, and that afterwards I should drink chocolate milk, as well as go out for a really good lunch with shake. I looked at him and said, “I’ve got to tease you now…” Then proceeded to ask if there was a oversight committee I could report him to, because he was telling a FAT person not only to eat MORE, but to eat really fatty stuff, like chocolate milk, milkshakes, and fries or onion rings. He laughed, and did a very short physiology-as-weight-builders-know-it 101.

Doing the type of muscle building exercises I’m doing breaks down the muscles a bit so they can rebuild. It’s how you build muscle. In order to rebuild, the muscles need a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Thus, the hamburger, french fries and shake, with chocolate milk later on, is the perfect combination to help the muscles rebuild. I thanked him for the physiology lesson (I really didn’t know that, and am always glad to get new information about stuff), and then told him about what my experience has been since I was 14 and first gained weight from 95 pounds. (He heard I was 95 pounds and said that was way too skinny for my frame, and was I sick when I was that small. I replied that I wasn’t, but didn’t get into the reason I was so skinny.) About how the first surgeon I saw about my knee back in October who diagnosed me as being fat wasn’t the first doctor to treat me like that, and that, most of my doctors have done that since I was 14. He just shook his head and said that was a terrible way to treat somebody.

Yay for somebody who gets it.

‘Course, this is the same guy, who way back when I first went to see him with orders to strengthen my leg muscles supporting my knee as all that was wrong with me was that I was fat, examined my leg muscles and said, “I don’t know why he thinks you need to strengthen and tone your muscles, you’ve got very well developed leg muscles. You don’t need musculature support for that knee.”

13 Responses

  1. I recently started PT for some mid back problems I have been having and have been amazed at the whole experience. I was terrified at first that I was just going to hear fat+ddd boobies=unhappy back despite the fact that the fat and boobies had been around for years and the back pain was just a few months old. I have always liked weight lifting but this is the first time I have ever worked on muscles not just to make me look (or feel emotionally) better but to make my body work better. My PT has never made me feel different about my weight and the whole experience has really made me realize how much I do like the going to the gym and exercising because I like feeling like my body is working really efficiently. Also my back is getting much better. I didn’t know that about the weight lifting either. I think I will have to add some chocolate milk to my diet.

  2. If I weren’t already married, I’d propose to your PT.

    Can we clone him?

  3. As someone that has had fairly severe knee problems most of my life, I can honestly say you are very lucky to find a PT like that.

    I had bilateral knee surgery last March, after at least 5 years of trying to track down a surgeon that wouldn’t just tell me I was a tubbo and needed to diet. They all assigned me to PT. Imagine being 17 years old, and not being able to sleep for the pain, or wanting to cry at the thought of walking through school with a backpack filled with books. Stairs were completely out of the question, and yet, I had no choice. Stairs it was.

    About a year and a half ago, my mother had double knee replacement. We had the same surgeon. She had dealt with the “You’re too fat” diagnosis for 15 years. Apparently, having bad knees, and being only slightly “overweight” runs in the family.

    Anyway, I am glad that you are feeling better, and that you found a surgeon and a PT that you are comfortable with. You are very lucky.

  4. liz: Unfortunately (for the rest of us) he’s happily married and has children. So, even if you weren’t married, he’s already commited. 🙂 And I wish we could clone him. Or better yet, have him do seminars on “how to treat your patients as if they were human”. That would probably have more impact than cloning would. 🙂

    puellapiscea: It’s amazing how much the body can heal itself when given the proper instruction! I hope your back continues to get better. It sounds like you’ve got a good Physical Therapist too!

    Laurdi: How has your recouperation gone? I hope you have less pain and more mobility now than you’ve had before. I was very lucky with getting the PT I did, as he was the one set up for me by the surgeon who diagnosed me as being fat. Since some doctors only work with specific people, it was a real possibility I’d have somebody who had the same views as that surgeon.

    And the second surgeon, the one who gave me the treatment I needed — I had interviewed his receptionist before I even made the appointment. After the first treatment I had at the first doctor, I was determined I wasn’t going to put up with that, so, before I made the appointment, I told the receptionist that I was fat, and asked if the surgeon would listen to my problem and give me a diagnosis that wasn’t weight based. She said he wasn’t like that, and did point out that surgery wasn’t indicated for everybody. I replied that I realized that, but I didn’t want to hear a doctor tell me, about bone shards in my knee, that surgery would be benificial for that, but that we are NOT doing surgery. That I did not want to feel punished for something that I had no control over, and that if that’s the way this doctor was going to be, I would not make the appointment. She assured me he wasn’t like that, and she was right.

    I know I was lucky I didn’t have to go through my whole in network list before finding somebody who was willing to treat me as a human. And I’ve got a knee that is ‘normal’ again. Climbing, walking, standing for long periods of time is back to being pain free.

  5. Well, my knee will likely never be 100% again. I mean, I will never be able to run regularly. Walking for more than an hour straight, and I’m down for the rest of the day. But other than that? I am SO much better! I can walk for an hour now! Maybe more! I can jog if I need to! I can climb stairs! I don’t limp anymore! I can kneel! I can ice skate!

    It’s really, truly, heartstoppingly amazing to be able to do things that I have NEVER been able to do! I haven’t tried to ski yet, I don’t know if it will work, but I can TRY. And that’s worth so much, you know?

    However, I will have to continue to do PT for the rest of my life. In 10 years, odds are I will need a replacement. But, I’m ok with that. Keep up with your PT, and you will do fine. Good luck!

  6. That is fascinating about being ravenous and about needing to rebuild nutritionally after a PT session. I recently had a course of PT for my knee (chondromalacia), which helped a lot. I was afraid the diagnosing doctor would make some comment about my weight, but he didn’t. I had deeply internalized that overweight people are just asking for knee problems and assumed it was All My Fault that my knee hurt. Sheesh. Yeah, turns out it was a form of cartilage degeneration that isn’t Anyone’s Fault.

    Anyway, my PT was fine, except she was a bit of a b*tch. When I was doing my warmup on the exercise bike, on zero resistance, I made a light comment about how I liked doing that exercise (because it FELT GOOD to warm up gently like that and because I got to read People magazine while doing it). She looked involuntarily at my ass and said, “it’s not going to do anything for you.” As if anyone had asked her, and as if, since I have a large behind, I must obviously want to lose it, and because I’m a stupid fatty, I must not know that a gentle ride on the exercise bike isn’t going to rid me of my hideous pert behind.

  7. I want your physiotherapist. What a wonderful guy. I am so happy for you that you’ve finally found a team of professionals who will treat like a person instead of a wobbly pile of adipose tissue. I hope you recover as completely as possible.

  8. Good to hear some of us therapists are getting a good name. Good luck with your recovery. We are not all Physical Terrorists, despite what you might have heard.

  9. […] Physical Therapy and Feeding the Hunger « A Day in the (Fat) Life […]

  10. […] bookmarks tagged weight lifting Physical Therapy and Feeding the Hunger saved by 3 others     kophead0151 bookmarked on 02/11/09 | […]

  11. Another fine story of the the (to really screw up a metaphor) eternal struggle to thread through the net of generalized disapproval that envelopes all overweight persons.

  12. […] Conall told me I wasn’t eating enough, and then said that I should also have a shake as well as the hamburger and fries. Ummm HUH? Was that somebody who’s a medical professional telling a fat person to eat more? …Continue Reading […]

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