Do as I say not as I do, or fun with medical billing practices

I don’t think anyone will disagree with me when I say that medical insurance and medical billing in the United States makes no sense. It’s unfair to patients, unfair to doctors and makes the lives of medical office staff ridiculously complicated.

Let me just give a disclaimer that anything I say in this post is not a reflection of the skill of my physicians or the caliber of my care as both have been excellent.

But basing medical care on the decisions of private insurance companies attached to employment is reminiscent of the “company town” days when employees lived & worked in the same place and businesses profited on and controlled the life experience of their employees. Check out the old coal mines. I am from Pennsylvania after all.

I have spent much of the last year bouncing from specialist to specialist trying to learn how my body works as a 40-something with cerebral palsy and now, almost three weeks ago, I ruptured a tendon taking off my socks.

Last night, when I was already slipping into a fragile emotional state feeling lonely and physically broken (hey, it happens. We’re all human and have moments. Mine happen after dark while binge-watching medical dramas.), the teenager brought me the mail.

It was 9 p.m., I was curled in bed with an episode of The Good Doctor cuddling Louise, the tripod foster cat who deserves a permanent home because she’s such a doll.

I open my EOBs from my insurance company. Now, I know my recent misadventures will be expensive. I also know my therapist has recently sent me a $600 bill and apologized but said he can’t deal with my insurer anymore. But that’s another story and after almost 15 years with the same mental health professional… I will take care of it.

But this particular EOB charged me $200+ to see a specialist (fair) and a $2,000+ fee for surgery. Surgery? I walked into the office, an assistant removed my splint, he looked at me, he looked at the imaging done by Patient First, told me to get a cast and go back to work, and told me to make a follow-up for May 18 and left.

The assistant helped me put my splint back on, I left his office, went to another medical office (unaffiliated with him), filled out new patient paperwork, paid a $50 deposit, and received a cast.

Does any of that sound like surgery to you?

Being an anxious woman of a certain age with a hand injury, I did what seemed best at the time: I poured a whiskey and diet cola and grabbed the bag of sriracha pita chips and binged.

I ate all these chips, but no hummus or tea.

In the morning, I discovered I put my underwear on backward. I had two cups of coffee and a glass of water (I won’t eat until I get hungry) and called my insurance company.

“I’m not aware of having surgery so I’m confused.”

They arranged a three-way call to the doctor’s office.

The woman, who was polite and professional said, “so you’re not being treated?”

I said, “well yes I am.”

And she explained that’s a blanket term for tendon repair.

I replied, “Okay, so this was not explained to me. Let me just get some clarification. I paid the office fee, so the doctor could evaluate me, and he also gets an additional fee? Even though he sent me to a different doctor for the cast?

“Oh, she explained. “It covers any additional treatment in the next 90 days.”

Well then I hope that covers the office visits for all my check-ups and follow-up care.

I thanked them both— the representative of the insurance company and the billing clerk at my specialist’s office. But this is just another example of how the American medical industrial complex complicates and threatens patient care and a patient’s concern for if that care will financially destroy their stability.

** the title of this piece is a reference to me using binge eating as a coping mechanism

Rainy Mondays

This morning, I slept in until 6:30 a.m. and that felt like a luxury. My hip is starting to bother me less. I even managed to give the last foster cat her dewormer. Before coffee!!

I had a cup of my dark roast Supercoffee and a bowl of Cabot cottage cheese. I needed a shower, so I bathed. And then I called to see if I could move my chiropractor appointment up earlier in the week.

My plan is to confer with her about how best to strengthen my core and work with my hip. That will be Wednesday at 9:15 a.m.

Two hours had passed since my cottage cheese. I prepared my main breakfast— a vegan feast of quinoa, lentils, ancient grains, kale, pumpkin seeds, Hungryroot fresh salsa and my homemade roasted red pepper hummus as dressing. And the first batch of the days vitamins.

For dessert I had three slices of dragon fruit “chips,” which appear to be a great source of potassium and even have iron and protein. And a big glass of water.

I used my mid-morning to work on the Parisian Phoenix Publishing May newsletter.

It talks about upcoming events that will blend literature and fine arts.

I puttered about the kitchen and felt my injured hand becoming frightfully cold— so I started a second cup of Supercoffee at noon (which is way too much caffeine but it’s the only way I can keep my blood flowing without a workout and I don’t want to workout without supervision because of my recent falls and my mallet finger).

The teenager’s Keurig kept having some sort of stroke and just refused to make coffee. It acted as if it didn’t have water in it, so I unplugged it, added more water, took my fancy coffee pod out and ran the water through. Then I tried again. It took about three tries to get my coffee.

I gave myself two sesame mochi as a snack and curled up with the dog.

And after we got settled, the doctor’s office called to discuss paperwork for my employer and the disability company.

I’m watching some TV now and brainstorming ideas to make tomorrow a “writing day.” I just hope it finally starts to get warm.

Cute animal photos and mallet finger impact

It’s the end of April and it was 35 degrees last night. The price of oil continues to skyrocket and I’m still heating my house halfway through spring.

The cold does not help the poor circulation in my hands which has intensified in my left hand because my mallet finger restricts my movement.

My hands are painfully cold, except when Andrew is making me curse him in my head at Apex Training. Today was leg day, and I was so tired that when I came home and let the dog out I turned around and lost my balance and slammed right into the brick wall between my mud room and my kitchen.

Nala, my six-year-old Goffin’s cockatoo, started shaking and plucking her feathers today. Nothing in her environment has changed except the neighbor’s dog has been barking nonstop all day. The teenager believes his distress causes her anxiety.

Speaking of the teenager, she made this thick chocolate chip cookie/blondie dessert that I topped with ice cream that Sobaka’s mom brought home from Penn State when we dog sat last weekend.

Before the teenager brought home our dog, I would never criticize a dog owner, but now that I see the difference between different dog care styles, I feel back for dogs that aren’t spoiled like Sobaka and Bean.

And I don’t know how Sobaka’s mom does it— that dog is a bed hog.

But now an update on my mallet finger:

  • Stitch Fix has been amazing. Because my specialist at OAA took a week to return my paperwork and then didn’t properly fill it out, the onus was on me to find jobs I could do to not hurt myself. It turned out I can QC just fine— I hit 92% just fine.
  • But here’s the thing… my specialist knows hands, he doesn’t know me. I don’t think he heard me when I said I have cerebral palsy and that I work 10 hours a day in a warehouse. I’m just not sure that environment is safe for me right now,
  • Why do I say this? Because this week drove home to me how much I rely on my left side for stability. By forcing me to work 90% on the right, I am struggling to keep my right hip in place.
  • I am so stiff by the end of the work day. I also end up pinching and slamming my right fingertips and by the end of the day my left fingers I can use are swollen and sore.
  • And I fold 750 clothing items a day, handle 150 boxes and rip open probably 500 plastic bags. That’s a lot of fingers moving.
  • Once I consider the risk of accidentally losing my cast and bending my finger (which would extend my healing time) and adding the increased fall risk of mine because I am aggravating known issues with my balance and mobility, I just don’t feel safe.
  • This is a horribly stressful feeling.
  • I’m going to talk with my family doctor about it. I already mentioned it to my therapist, because I wanted to confirm my thoughts were rational and not whiny or emotional.

Today’s vegan lunch: curry carrots, lentils, quinoa, my own roasted chick peas, toasted sesame seeds, green olives and a touch of Thai peanut sauce topped with pumpkin seeds

And last but not least, cats. Misty caught a mouse! Video here.

Treating my mallet finger

It’s Tuesday and my life has been turned upside down by my “mallet finger” injury acquired Friday night, taking off my socks as I chronicled here.

I filed for short term disability leave based on what Patient First told me about the injury. Since my work week starts on Sunday, and the accident happened Friday night I thought it best to get the incident in the system as soon as possible.

With it happening on Easter Weekend, I was told by the doctor at Patient First to make an appointment with an orthopedic hand specialist Monday.

The doctor at Patient First explained that I had pulled the tendon out of my knuckle and that I needed a specialist to determine whether it would heal or if I needed surgery.

And I did my best to work around my enormous splint and changed the tape once Sunday night.

Even on Sunday night, I had no pain, minimal swelling and no bruising or discoloration. The nail was fine, too. And I was amazed at how the angle of the finger had improved.

Some recommendations came my way from friends and everyone recommended the same doctor at OAA Orthopedic Specialists. Unfortunately, he was booked into July. So I accepted an appointment with one of his colleagues, at an office 18 miles from my house. I called at Monday morning 8 a.m. and the only appointments they had this week were Tuesday at this office in the Allentown area.

That was today. The splint Patient First gave me is enormous— and I was very anxious to get not only news and a treatment plan, but also something more reasonable.

I filled out all the paperwork I could online, and headed out of the house for the 30-minute drive to the doctor. On Monday, I had already gathered my x-rays and reports from Patient First, a release of medical information form, my return-to-work form for the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy and the FMLA/short-term disability insurance paperwork.

(I also tried to clean the Tupperware cupboard, loaded and unloaded the dishwasher and made an enormous homemade Crunchwrap with homemade tortilla chips.)

I cried all the way down the highway. I miss my dad, who passed away in December, and I’m struggling with a lot of life right now. And I snapped driving to the specialist.

But when I arrived— h*ly sh*t. The orthopedic office shared a plaza with the Lehigh Valley Hospital Cancer Center and the Steel Fitness Premier Facility. The scheduler told me they had free valet parking but damn I did not expect that. It was a big hospital facility.

I went in, read the directory and discovered my office was on the second floor. And when I got to the second floor, I saw about ten check-in/ receptionists. Damn.

One checked me in and I was told to proceed to waiting room seven. The whole arrangement vaguely reminded me of the Beetlejuice scene where the dead people wait to see their counselor.

But they moved me right along and I met my doctor very quickly. And I was told getting dressed and undressed is a common way of getting injured.

The doctor produced a brochure from a nearby drawer. And it was the same information from the same hand specialist professional organization I had found online.

He explains that there are two tendons in each finger, one running along the top from knuckles to fingernail, and another running under the finger. I overextended the top tendon at that tip-top knuckle, tearing it from the joint.

Because I did not damage or break free any bone, this means I don’t necessarily need surgery. That immobilizing the finger at the top knuckle will allow the scar tissue to reconnect the tendon. And then occupational therapy will get that tissue usable.

The mallet finger brochure

The doctor said there are three treatment options:

  1. Splint
  2. A surgically-placed pin
  3. A finger cast

He recommended the finger cast. For eight weeks. And that he will see me in four weeks.

Paperwork and work release proved to be more complicated. He simply gave me a note asking me not to use the finger and that I could return to work today. I don’t think that’s enough for the folks at the Bizzy. So I asked the staff to please fill out the two forms— the one for the Bizzy Hizzy and the one for disability insurance— and told them I had read the sign and would gladly pay the $10 per form.

They wanted fax numbers or for me to pick up the forms, but I’m not driving 30 minutes back tomorrow or whenever they get the forms done. I think I found the fax for the disability folks and finally reneged and let them mail the form to my warehouse.

They also told me the forms should be in my portal so when they are done I hope I can download from the portal and send them where they need to go. If that doesn’t work, I have to call the Bethlehem office and make arrangements to pick them up there.

The OAA office also called The Institute for Hand and Upper Extremity Rehabilitation (a mere mile away) and arranged for them to see me. When I arrived, they were on the phone with my insurance company.

The staff at The Institute were beyond friendly, and every staff member apologized for making me wait. But I was impressed at how smoothly they ran and how they managed to balance the walk-ins and the scheduled patients.

Even more impressive, they had a binder promoting the small businesses they have “interacted” with— I hope I can leave one next time. I forgot by the end of my visit.

The Institute has one main rehab room so I got to see other patients at work, and every therapist acknowledged me, and apologized that I was waiting. One therapist, fitting a patient with some sort of brace or sling, was chatting with me about my injury.

The casting process was fascinating as I had never heard of casting a finger before and the person helping me also explained my injury. In this day and age when medical professionals usually don’t explain things, I was amazed at how many people took time to explain.

Mallet finger cast

My finger was only 15 degrees floppy today, which is a huge improvement from Friday. BUT if anything bends the injured area of the finger that could start the recovery clock back to zero as it could tear the scar tissue (which is why the hand specialist recommended the cast).

I certainly don’t relish the idea of eight weeks in a finger cast, nor do I enjoy the paperwork hurdles I now have to jump, but I’m relieved to have moved on to the next stage of the process.

The staff at the Institute also commended me for seeking treatment right away, as most people wait a week or more to address it and that causes more stress and damage to the healthy parts of the finger and can make the healing process more complicated and less successful.

My professionals:

OAA Othopedic Specialists

The Institute for Hand and Upper Extremity Rehabilitation

Spider-Man and Matcha Pie

I have a lot of little things to say that problem don’t belong together but today is the Lehigh Valley Book Festival at Bethlehem Area Public Library and I’m excited, a tad nervous and a bit super-focused and scatter-brained at the same time.

Parisian Phoenix Publishing has participated in events before but we have scaled up with our efforts and this event today.

So this post will cover:

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Health and Fitness
  • Pie
  • Cats

I think that’s about right.

So the teenager and I finally came to the current end of the Marvel Comics Universe movies with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Watching them sequentially, and for me, many for the first time, actually made a lot more sense than when I saw some of them the first time.

I got a strange déjà vu that I had seen some of these villains before, but at the same time I was confused because the memory was vague and distant.

So let’s just say, trying not to spoil it for others like me that are woefully behind in their pip culture, that this film incorporates some older films that will be familiar to Generation X.

The primary theme of this movie, in my opinion, is time travel. The actual plot is a tad weak and melodramatic but the homage made to the previous generation of Marvel movies, and the humor employed in this movie, make it worth it.

My favorite Spider-Man is Toby Maguire. I got to see him again. And that made my heart happy. (Toby is also the Spider-Man adored and referenced by supermodel Adelaide Pitney in my chick lit/horror fiction novel, Manipulations, the first in the Fashion and Fiends series.

I had a very good visit with my chiropractor Nicole Jensen of Back in Line. She’s impressed with my progress and got things to pop and move (my right ankle that I broke more than five years ago) that haven’t popped and moved in a long time.

My Later, Andrew at Apex Training worked out every muscle he didn’t the day before (okay that’s an exaggeration) and the teenager set a new personal record in deadlifting: 225 lbs.

Finally, I get to the part I’ve been waiting for: PIE! If only I weren’t trying to be so health conscious… Because I have been visiting the amazing pie ladies Anne and Lisa at Pie+Tart for three(?) years now and their pies (and flat white coffees) have nurtured my soul through some difficult times— and a very very toxically difficult boss.

I receive their weekly email and saw their “freezer section” of leftover discounted pies included a steak and Guinness pie and a matcha custard pie. A meal inspired by two of my favorite drinks.

I was so beyond excited to eat these pies I was vibrating at “the pie hole” which is what they call their window/doorway. It has allowed them to stay in business safely during Covid because how would we survive sans pie.

I can improvise plenty of solutions for lack of toilet paper but I can’t make pie like this— not even with my Pennsylvania Dutch family connections.

I couldn’t even wait for the matcha custard to thaw. I sawed at it with a knife, broke it in pieces with my hands and microwaved a slice for 30 seconds. It was delectable.

And the steak and Guinness pie? So rich and full of meaty goodness I didn’t even have a chance to take a photo.

Oh how I love my pie friends.

And finally the updates regarding some of the cats we are fostering through Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab, Mars has taught Khloe to play and Minerva is becoming much more social. As is Louise.

A visit to the podiatrist

My blog post yesterday received a lot of extra views and shares thanks to my discussion of the fabulousness of Nicolosi’s Pizza on Sullivan Trail.

It makes me wish I would have spent a little more time developing the back story so newcomers would understand some of my rambling at the end.

So here’s the latest installment.

Today I worked with Nan, my friend, blind poet and essayist. We did errands— the bank, retrieving laundry— and prepared some new submissions of Nancy’s poetry. We also checked out her most recent publication, “Brewing Chai” in *82 Review.

I made the decision, as founder and publisher of Parisian Phoenix Publishing, to purchase a hard copy of the magazine. One publisher supporting another.

Very exciting.

I also have two friends scheduled to get packages from the publishing company today, if the post office tracking info is accurate.

Very exciting.

And when I took Nancy home, I was able to head to the gym, Apex Training, to work with my trainer, Andrew, who along his prowess in powerlifting, does an excellent job observing my movements and targeting the muscles we think can make the most impact based on information from all the specialists I’ve seen.

And Andrew kicks my butt.

He makes me sweat. He challenges my range of motion. He also exercises the parts of me that work.

Very exciting.

Both of my trainers at Apex have been amazing.

I rushed home to shower and grab lunch as I had to get the dog into the car, pick up the teenager from school and go to the podiatrist. The dog had to go to the vet at the same I had to go to my doctor only a couple miles apart.

(One of the foster cats has worms, so every mammal in the house needs dewormer.)

This all begs the question: Why was I going to the podiatrist?

Well, I’ve known my podiatrist for 20 years. We connected in my journalist days through a mutual friend. The mutual friend nominated him for a small feature in our newspaper.

The mutual friend has passed away, and when the teenager needed a podiatrist and I couldn’t get timely care for her through my networks, this podiatrist friend of my deceased friend got her in expediently AND gave her amazing care.

I’ve been to the podiatrist once or twice myself— and I thought his brain would be a good one to pick for more information on my cerebral palsy. I made the appointment when I was still struggling with my splinter and dealing with my blistering toes.

We had a great conversation as he checked my feet and dealt with all the dead skin from blistering, and he asked me all sorts of questions about what other specialists had said. So I told him.

He’s very curious what the neuro-muscular physiatrist will have to say, and in the meantime he suggested physical therapy stretches twice a day.

And he wanted to know what the orthopedist had to say— if he could do anything. I said no that the only real option was the surgery I should have had when I was twelve.

To which he replied rather passionately that I should have had surgery when I was twelve.

At first he was angry I didn’t have more interventions as a child, but I explained how my mom was told I would die so she named me Angel, and then when I lived they told her I would never walk or talk, and then they said I had severe brain damage.

“Boy did they get that wrong,” he said.

“So that’s why my mom stopped taking me to doctors,” I explained. “Because they only gave her bad news and they were always wrong.”

“That makes sense,” he said.

(And he asked if I got my splinter out myself and I said first I tried a raisin, which fixed my hip pain, but it was my cockatoo that really got it out. And he said, “Oh this is going to be a good story.”)

This doctor has his own private practice and has been a doctor for a long time. I love that he decides how long he can take with each patient and he can be jovial and a little grouchy at the same time. Not nasty grouchy, just like-a-dad grouchy. It’s like he’s a person underneath that doctor coat.

The teenager made dinner: the chicken breast I had leftover from our last Hungryroot box, youba noodles and vegetables. And then we watched the latest Spider-Man movie which featured all the Spider-Mans.

Which, for the record, Adelaide Pitney, the supermodel from my Fashion and Fiends series, loved the Toby Maguire Spider-Man.

And since I started this blog post, both of the packages slated for my friends have arrived. My traveling companion M has received his copy of Recovery, as the book is dedicated to him and to his role in awakening my love of Africa and post-colonial critical theory.

The other package was to my therapist friend in Georgia who loves to have nice things to ponder.

Very exciting.

A new day at the gym

Today was my 69th session at Apex Training. The teenager and I did our first workout with Andrew, as Dan is taking some time with his family.

Now I don’t like change (who does?), but once I get comfortable with it, I can embrace it.

So the teenager and I met with Greg and Andrew at the gym last week and discussed our goals and got to know each other a little better.

And today we had our first session. I have to say Andrew did a great job ascertaining how my body moved and giving me some low impact exercises that would target my problem muscles.

Then he worked with the teenager on her powerlifting form.

And I was reminded that while I was very comfortable and enthusiastic with Dan, that the shift to working with Andrew is offering some fresh perspective and new ideas. That pushes me out of some potential ruts I may have created in my fitness routines.

Now excuse me, I’d like to go shower.

Rocking the Beast

Today started as an average day in the Bizzy Hizzy. This was welcome in my world as we changed the clocks last night— so as far as my body was concerned it was 3:45 a.m. when my morning alarm sounded.

Yesterday they didn’t open the warehouse because of the predictions of the sloppy winter storm.

I performed as expected in Freestyle, meeting the pace they like us to keep. We ran out of work, so I went out to pick. Now, picking is the act of running through the warehouse gathering clothes. A normal cart for picking fixes holds 40 items. A direct buy cart holds 80. I picked my batch is 41 minutes. That’s pretty good.

But somehow I also managed to ship 515 items— when the goal for a 10 hour day is 500, and I left the department for 45 minutes.

I also learned from the supervisor that I have successfully made it onto the safety team.

The teenager said I could have a cupcake to celebrate.

My lead at work has started calling me a beast— basically because for two days in a row I think I’ve hit 110% of the daily metrics. But he also mentioned it when I lifted a heavy box (probably 35 or 40 lbs) from the floor and carried it to my work station.

At the moment it happened, the phrase irked me and I wanted to take some time and think about why.

I know he meant it as a compliment, in that same way we celebrate achievements in sports or the gym. But that’s not how it felt.

It felt like he underestimates what I am capable of because he knows I have a disability— but he doesn’t know I work out with a personal trainer. He doesn’t know I considered body building a hobby. He doesn’t know I used to take 1,000 pounds worth of boxes like that into a commercial kitchen’s freezer.

I am a beast. And I hope this good spell lasts long enough to figure out what to do if the issues return.

But I am a beast just for getting up and going to that warehouse on days that I hurt.

It takes way more “beast” to perform on a bad day versus a good one.

The splinter update: How do a raisin and a cockatoo impact disability?

Earlier this week I visited a new doctor, where I learned about my femoral anteversion and need to gain more flexibility in my hamstrings.

After that visit, I had a miserable day at work with my hip bothering me.

But then I got a truly nasty splinter. And I wrote about the unexpected positive consequences of that here:

Part 1: A raisin and a splinter = 110%

Since then, my body has felt better than it has in 15 years (with only some minor discomfort after sitting too long and while sleeping).

And last night, between the raisin and my cockatoo (Video of her here helping me remove the splinter) I got the splinter out.

And I walked into the chiropractor today with no symptoms other than this very mild stiffness in the right hip on the groin side.

I told her the story. We laughed so hard we nearly cried.

And then she popped joints I guess she can’t normally pop.

And then she looked at my feet.

“Your feet look normal.”

We both think that the raisin and the nasty splinter DID impact my walk and my posture forcing me to stay on my heels.

So I need to practice balance and gait training, and also incorporate my doctor’s recommendation of stretching those hamstrings.

It’s so important— especially when you have a disability— to pay attention to your body and really track how you feel and all the changes.

Gym Update: By Now, You Probably Know I Love The Guys at Apex Training

So, I’m in the midst of what feels like an incredibly long, never ending journey. I’ve posted frequently about fitness, health and disability.

And I’m getting to the point where I’ve accepted that I will never be done.

It’s probably a long shot that my body will ever be athletic or even dependable, but at least I can commit myself to doing as much as I can to be as functional as I can.

I have hemiplegic cerebral palsy, which means it only effects my lower limbs. On good days, in the right circumstances, with the right concentration, you might not even notice. But those days feel fewer and far between as I age.

I started strength training in college— and if you’ve read some of my previous posts this might be repetition for you— as one of my gym electives. My liberal arts education included gym.

I returned to it on and off, mostly for stress management and then health after The Teenager was born. That’s when I met some very awesome vegan gym owners. (I was still in my vegetarian days. I keep trying to get more into a plant-based diet again.)

I worked out at home for several years while regaining strength after broken bones. And— as I’ve shared before— I got very lean and cut.

Now I have no desire to be than thin again and no discipline left to be that lean. But I am working toward regaining my strength and muscle. Those pictures are from when I was 40. Well, I’m going to be 47 in a few months and progress is slow. I’m still at an all-time high in my weight. I have days where my hips don’t want to work. And my spine hurts most of the time.

My eating habits also don’t match my goals— but my emotional state has to improve for me to fix that.

But I keep working on all these things.

As my marriage ended, I joined Planet Fitness and that kept some of my health demons at bay. The pandemic ended that, and that’s where my weight gain exploded, too.

And I also realized my desire and discipline had faded in direct proportion to my pain and physical difficulties. If I’m going to be crippled away, why bother?

But this summer, I saw a Facebook post by Apex Training here in my neighborhood. So I reached out and Greg got in touch almost immediately. I told him my story— and this meant a lot of vulnerability for me— and he immediately recommended Dan without missing a beat.

Now I was very very intimidated. I had walked by their gym 1,000 times but usually found small gyms and local trainers pushy and unwelcoming. Like a private club.

But I hit it off with Dan and found myself impressed with his knowledge and his creativity. He’d be a gifted physical therapist.

My strength has returned but my body still doesn’t always cooperate but Dan always knows how I’m feeling just my how I’m moving.

This gym is amazing. I see a lot of guys who come together to lift, a lot of women who want to lose weight, and married couples who work out together. And the environment is very family friendly— you’ll often see Greg’s dog Gotti or the babies, Dan and Greg both have toddler sons.

The Teenager has started lifting. She has a love of pushing around heavy weights so Dan has started teaching her barbell sports. Around the same time she started accompanying me to the gym, Andrew joined the team and he has a background in powerlifting.

The Teenager squatting with Dan

Well now it’s too late to make a long story short, but I’ve been feeling better and Dan has made some creative adjustments to my sessions to try and improve my range of motion.

Dan had to cancel this morning’s session so he suggested reaching out to Andrew, but Andrew was running on fumes. We weren’t able to schedule a workout but we had a great conversation about the prospect of getting The Teenager into her own sessions with Andrew and I can continue my work with Dan.

Andrew said she has potential and that he’s impressed with the lifts he’s seen. She now squats 155 I think and deadlifts 195. But here’s what I didn’t expect… “Your work ethic,” Andrew said to me, “is inspiring to watch.”

My world has been upside down for the last three to six months. So to hear that is just a reminder of how you never know who’s watching and how you may impact others.

And while I am still searching for the right doctors as I age, I know that strength training serves as a great boon to my future mobility and health. I see the orthopedic physiatrist this week and scheduled a visit with the neuromuscular physiatrist at the end of May.

I’m hoping these doctors can teach me how my body works so I can give this information to the team at Apex and maybe I could have a future in strength sports. Or maybe I can finally jog a 5K.

But more people need to understand—

Physical therapy is a blessing for specific injury. But as we age, most of us will gain a disability if we don’t already struggle with congenital issues. Just as I look for the doctor that can help me understand my whole body and its movement, the right personal trainer can help me strengthen my whole body.

I really wish I could be with the guys at Apex Training five days a week.

And I hope anyone with a disability who wants to improve their physical condition will consider committing to work with a personal trainer.