Butter Knives and Cream

The physical therapist brought out a jar of cream. She didn’t say a word, and so I assumed, that maybe, she had some magical cream that would take away the very small red scars left behind by the incision. But instead, she picked up a shiny sterling silver tool. It looked like a butter knife with a blunt point at the end. I realized we were heading someplace far darker. I braced myself for the worst.

Scar tissue – not the surface scar — but tissue. Not everyone gets it. I do, and it’s severely limiting my mobility. It’s as if a giant octopus has reached its tentacles around my knee, on the inside, and is holding my leg in a vice-grip Like I’m in traction.

When I first started getting “tight,” I did a quick search on the internet to find the cure for scar tissue and found some not-so-delightful-solutions that included massage, (had that), walking on your knees on concrete (really… it’s a thing), surgery (no, not the drugs again), and the Graston Technique. When I saw a description of the Graston technique, I thought. Wow. I’m sure glad this is 2016, and I am going to a modern, reputable, state-of-the-art facility. The Graston technique, I thought, was barbaric.

That cream she brought out, which I thought was “beauty cream”? It was a lubricant for the Graston technique… and yes… that’s about what’s going to happen.

No, we were not locked in a room, without eyes to see what she was doing. We were right out there in the open room, among other patients and therapists. So, when she started to use that tool to “scrape” around my knee, another physical therapist did not jump to her feet, grab the tool out of her hand and say, “Stop that right now! You’re torturing her!” In fact, my doctor even walked in to see the procedure, and simply said, “Looks good.” This is not an archaic barbaric technique from the middle ages.

I am glad I knew about the technique, ahead of time, and did not naively believe that stretching and movement alone would get rid of this scar tissue. Because, the knowledge helped me to sit there, focus on my breathing and think happy thoughts. Like, the fact that I am finally off that mountain, and avoiding thinking about snow, the sensation of ice-cold wind, wearing skis. I honestly just wanted to throw up. This was Painful.

I didn’t jerk away, or do anything to give her any indication that she should stop. If this is the only way to get rid of scar tissue — let me have it.

When she was finally done, there was one single hard-as-a-rock pebble still there. I knew I would have to go through this again. So, I didn’t let out that sigh of relief. I told her, “That was very painful. But thank you.” It takes a special person who can do that to someone without passing out.

Since then, I have been walking a bit on my knee on the carpeted floor. I’ve been massaging, rolling, and poking. My favorite method is to take a hot warm bath and roll a ball around the scar tissue.

Nothing… it’s not breaking down.

This week, back at PT, she got out her tools again and worked it so much that my skin actually started to bleed. And, the knot is still there.

But, fortunately, she is not worried or concerned. So, I won’t be either.

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