Physical Therapy Guinea Pig

For what seems like our entire marriage, my husband’s world has been physical therapy, so it has become mine also. First, I helped him apply to schools. Then, I helped him study for tests and boards. After his first job and since, I’m privileged to listen to his patient success stories. But always throughout, I’ve been his physical therapy guinea pig; and somehow, we’re still married.
It started when he was in school. He would come home from class and practice all sorts of techniques on me, all the while commenting things like, “Wow, you’re not really very flexible, are you?” or “You can’t move my arm any more than that?”

My hubby likes to keep on learning, so I was his guinea pig once again after a recent continuing education conference. This one was on gait.

Gait?” I thought when I found out. “Great, now he’ll tell me exactly how much I remind him of a duck when I walk.” But, I smiled and off we went.

“First,” he asked me, “just do your normal walk.” I proceeded to walk across the living room. “Hmm, you’re not doing it quite right.”

“What do you mean I’m not doing it right?” I demanded. “You asked me to walk like I always do. I can’t do my own walk wrong! It’s my own regular walk.”

“Sorry, that’s not what I meant,” he back peddled. “You just don’t have an entirely efficient gait. Most people don’t. You need to swing your arms and rotate your trunk more.”

“But then, I’ll look like a freak! I am not doing that.”

“If you want to walk efficiently…” at the look on my face, my hubby must have decided it was time to move on. “Never mind. Let’s try some different ways of walking and see if I can detect any injuries or weaknesses.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like someone staring at me trying to ferret out “weaknesses”. This was our date night for the week, mind you. We are party animals.

He proceeded to have me swing my arms in different ways while I walked, take long or short steps, turn my toes in or out, and keep my legs close together or far apart until I felt more like a moving game of twister than a physical therapy patient.

On the last gait, my ankle began to throb, the ankle which I had hurt about 10 days prior and neglected to tell him about (mainly because I had stepped on my own shoe which he has constantly warned me is a hazard because I don’t put it away properly).

I told him my ankle was hurting.

“That’s great!” he exclaimed.

My silent response was colder than my hind end when I went skiing last time.

Not wanting to be turned to stone by my gaze, he quickly and sincerely said, “I mean, it’s just nice that I get to actually work on someone who has a problem. It’s fun to see things in action and try the techniques he was talking about today. I’m not glad you got hurt, though. How did you do it?”


Now it was my turn to look a little sheepish. I had to confess my shoe mishap. He continued on sans the lecture I was expecting, showing me exercises to do and how do to them so that my ankle would be properly healed and my gait would return to normal, or as “normal” as my gait ever is anyway.

I don’t mind being my hubby’s guinea pig, really. I get a kick out of his enthusiasm. I like to help and support him in his goals; he always helps and supports me in mine. And lucky for him, he didn’t make one reference to waterfowl the entire time; and, my ankle’s as good as new, just like our marriage


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