Today I started physical therapy (PT) for my right leg. On September 21st, I underwent right knee arthroscopic surgery. The surgeon cleaned out some cartilage from under my knee cap and "removed some arthritis". I didn't even know arthritis could be removed. So now I am undergoing PT.
I arrived at my appointment relatively excited. I just want my right leg back. I want it to be straight. I want it to work. I want to be able to walk without intimidation. I want to be able to run. You know, the usual. What anyone would want out of a perfectly good limb. I figure I'm a little more than halfway through this mortal journey, but I still need full function of all my body parts. I'm not ready for the old person warehouse yet. When that time comes, I'll need a good rocking chair, several good books, my IPod, plenty of other friends in rockers and we'll need a toady so we can scheme...someone on the "outside"....yea, I've got plans....heh heh....but I digress....
I met my physical therapist...I think her name was Jeanette...maybe it was Satan, I can't remember. I walked in being all friendly and smiling-which is how I am! I have no reason to be any other way. Her countenance was very serious, almost like she was disturbed that I was there. It was very strange. Wow, if you don't like your job, change careers or something. I answered all of her questions as thoroughly as possible and pleasantly as well. She kept returning to the issue of how long I'd been out of work, which had virtually NOTHING to do with the condition of soft tissue OR knee joint. Did I mention that she stopped looking at me while she was talking to me and just kept flipping through pages quite loudly and looking down while throwing questions at me? Her non-verbals were screeching at me. After about 5 minutes of this, she had finally hit my edge.
I thought to myself, "Obviously, being nice to this lady isn't working. Something else is at play here. If sternness or attitude is what resonates with her, then I'll speak her language cause apparently she's kicking this up to militant-level 5, which I can do if she insists".
So.....after another question implying that I'm not working because I'm lazy or working the system or fill-in-the-blank, I remained silent. This caused her to look up and engage me. When she did, I was staring at her. My arms were crossed and I was leaning forward. My chin was down and I was addressing while looking at her from the tops of my eyes. I was not smiling. I finally answered with no inflection in my voice. I didn't say anything mean and I didn't say one word extra. My answers were "yes" or "no" and if it required more than that, it was as minimal and unsmiling as it could possibly be.
After that, it was a complete turn-around. We kind of understood each other. She explained to me about the mechanics of my own body, which were fascinating. She explained how my body had compensated for the weakness of my leg for almost a year and my tendons had virtually atrophied. She was amazing. She told me things about myself that were fascinating that I had no idea of. I asked questions, I worked hard, and I think she sensed this. She gave me lots of good advice and sent me home with great exercises for me to do. I'm going back three times next week.
My question is: Why is it that some people just kind of take you to that place? Why do some people not respond to overt kindness? I would have rather just had a nice, polite conversation with this lady, but I was prepared to go to her level, if that's what it required. If I had NOT felt judged and we would have kept everything about my knee, none of this would have happened. But how many people have been intimated by her and couldn't adjust to her? It's odd to me, and yet intriguing. I considered the fact that I may have projected my own insecurities upon the situation, but again, that hasn't been the case in any of this up to this point. This facilities works with cases like mine all the time. I had no reason to expect any difficulties. Also, again, as it was happening, I studies her nonverbals, which corroborated what she was saying (so she must have subjectively felt that way). Any thoughts?