Ponzi Schemes and Physical Therapy

Well, looks like Bernie Madoff has signed a long-term lease for housing at the Federal Slammer Hotel. What was it that the Eagles said about the Hotel California: “You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.” And while enduring enjoying my now daily sojourn on the elliptical trainer, I heard some people opine on TV that Bernie’s sentence of 150 years was not enough. Woot.

And I also heard the TV talking head pundits describe Bernie’s vocation as running the largest Ponzi scheme in history. I wonder. Shouldn’t Social Security at least be given some consideration? And if so, why let Bernie sit in the slammer on the public dime for the next several decades at a minimum. Why not put him in charge of Social Security? And turn the profits over to Ma and Pa Taxpayer? Probably a flaw in that thinking. If so, I’ll offer this excuse. My mind is on overload trying to make sense of my physical therapy debacle.

I head to the sports medicine doc this afternoon. And if I am going to be honest, I’ll tell her that a month in physical therapy for my leg has been a waste of time — and money. Wonder if this is typical for the average — like me — person? And I wonder how many medical dollars are consumed by this — both by weekend warriors trying to recover from self-inflicted injuries or by people injured on the job, in car accidents and so on?

Here’s problem No. 1: communication. My belief is that in the Internet, Twitter, texting culture that we live in most of us enjoy talking a lot more these days than listening. Does anyone actually listen anymore? Can’t even drive a car without talking on the phone or sending a text message. I digress. Listening is a skill, but we are so distracted by gadgets and by the notion of multitasking that I’m becoming convinced that you could yell fire in a crowded theater these days and no one would pay any attention, let along race to the exits. Anyway, despite my best efforts, I was several sessions into therapy before I could get anyone to consider that my injury started with a problem in my foot — and then progressed to the upper leg. I’ll see if I can make that point again this afternoon.

Here’s problem No. 2: weekend warriors don’t know when to quit. I would have been better off a month ago just stopping. Instead I tried to run through the pain. Bad idea, but typical. Here’s an informative article that everyone who participates in sports — biking, running, swimming, hiking (well maybe not) and so on — should consider. It’s from The New York Times, “That Little Voice Inside Your Twinge“:

“ ‘Listen to your body’ is always a tough one,” said Keith Hanson, a coach who directs the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, which recruits talented distance runners and supports them while they train full time.

One of his runners, Brian Sell, was in the Beijing Olympics, and others are internationally competitive.

“There are several aches and pains that you can run through,” Mr. Hanson said, “and others that need some down time. I always try to follow one key rule: If you are gimping — altering your gait— after 10 minutes of running, then it is an injury and not just an ache or pain. You should never run through injuries. If you do, they almost always turn into compensation injuries. What started as an ankle pain becomes knee and hip problems.”

Ah — “never run through injuries. If you do…what started as an ankle pain becomes knee and hip problems.”

And I knew that a month ago but chose to ignore the reality until one problem had multiplied and there don’t appear to be easy solutions. Wow. Just like putting your faith in a guy running a Ponzi scheme.


5 responses to “Ponzi Schemes and Physical Therapy

  1. Pain is Mother Nature’s way of saying, “Stop it you old fool. You are no longer 18.”

    She also says to eat your fruits and vegetables, don’t run with scissors and wear clean underwear.

    I prefer red meat, dark beer, pushing the limits and avoiding pain at all costs.

  2. Oh, you are so right. Wonder if dark beer will help my leg? Just an “old fool” thought. Just came back from the sports medicine doc. She was less kind than Mother Nature.

  3. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  4. I am a physical therapy student and I am disappointed to hear about your situation and the care that you received during physical therapy. We are taught and expected to examine each client holistically and consider all biomechanical impairments such as your ankle leading to knee, hip and eventually back pain. Unfortunately, this did not happen in your case. Bad therapists exist just like any other profession so I hope if you ever need treatment that you consider therapy again under the care of a competent and knowledgeable therapist.

    Tony V.

    • Tony,

      Thanks for your comment. I’ll admit that I was disappointed with my experience. But saying that, I recognize that it is difficult to heal many of these injuries with a limited number of therapy sessions. My leg injury finally got better but the problem I am having with foot pain appears to be something I am going to have to live with. Anyway, best wishes as you pursue your career. And I believe the approach you described is absolutely correct.

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