As a 78-year-old guy, I’m realizing more and more that my body needs increasing attention. Lately, my body has gotten my attention by sending my mind a signal via my left leg.
One day several months ago I began, seemingly out of nowhere, to feel tenderness when I put weight on my left leg, which prompted me to move my weight quickly to my right leg. This caused a limp that was sometimes hardly noticeable, sometimes obvious.
A visit to Arvind, my Los Banos doctor who is a general practitioner specializing in helping geriatric folks like me, followed by some x-rays and then a second visit to the doctor, resulted in a diagnosis of arthritis in my left hip. This was causing some mild pain not only in my hip but radiating up to my waist and down to my knee.
Being a stubborn old man, I was determined not to give in to this. When a family member who observed me walking said, “You’re limping,” I immediately responded with a firm “No, I’m not,” even though I knew I was, at least a little.
This story does have a happy ending, however, thanks to two health professionals in Los Banos, Anthony (a chiropractor) and Daniel (a physical therapist). After some regular treatments, I no longer limp, at least not 98 percent of the time.
I’m writing this column in gratitude to them. They’ve been practicing in Los Banos for a long time, and I’ve known and respected both of them for decades.
I’m also writing this column in hopes that my readers see me as an example as an old dog learning to do, if not new tricks, at least new approaches to his body and taking advantage of the talent in the local health community.
I went to Anthony first. His chiropractic manipulations of my body have helped me in the past, straightening me out, as it were. His work on me helped again and his advice was, among other things, to be patient with my body and it grows older and doesn’t do what it once did. He also said he would put me on a plan for “regular maintenance” of my body every two weeks.
Then, after my general practitioner recommended physical therapy, I went to see Daniel. Like Anthony, he has helped me a great deal over the years. Daniel spent a lot of time with me, as he always does, reviewing what my doctor had sent him and listening to my left-leg story.
He soon realized I was not in too bad of shape. He thankfully ruled out hip surgery in the foreseeable future, and then developed a plan for me, which would take about a dozen visits over six weeks.
It was very thorough plan, beginning with riding a stationary recumbent bike for 15 minutes to loosen up my body, and then a series of eight exercises for me to do followed by three stretches which he or his staff of physical therapy assistants (including Anna, Deanna, and Nadine) would help me with.
Those 11 activities would take about a half-hour, which Daniel asked me to also do at home (stretching myself for the last three), most of them while lying on a table (at his office) or the floor (at my home). The directions for all 11 were very detailed and thorough.
I learned from Daniel and his staff that the exercises and stretches were targeted at different parts of my body. The various exercises helped at various times with my glutes, quads, abs, hamstrings, outer thighs, inner thighs and hip flexors.
The stretches helped my hamstrings, hip flexors, groin, glutes and lower back. Those are a lot of body parts below the waist. (I could give you, dear reader, more formal names for all these body parts, but I think you get what I’m talking about.)
I have completed all of my physical therapy visits, but I will still do the stationary bike riding, exercises and stretches at home. I figure that will be true for the foreseeable future, perhaps the rest of my life. The total workout is about 45 minutes, about the average for a gym workout.
I am pleased and happy to say I’m feeling good. My left leg is much stronger now (as well as my right leg) and my body has become much more flexible, thanks to be God—and Daniel and Anthony. And if you observed me, you wouldn’t see any limp (except maybe a little early in the morning or late at night at home). I will need, however, to use moderation in my activities, including walking and standing.
Strangely, I’ll miss my visits to Daniel and his staff (they helped me as much as Medicare will allow). They are a very friendly, hospitable and congenial group. Fortunately, I’ll continue to see Anthony (also a friendly, hospitable and congenial person, as well as his assistant, Levada) because, like my car, I now need regular maintenance.
I hope dear readers (of any age) you think of my story as an example of first, taking control of your own health and body, and second, working with your local health practitioners.
I don’t consider myself a “health nut,” nor do I want a “youthful body.” I just want to be able to function as best I can as I grow a little older each year.