Is it true that if there is no pain, there is no gain? What if there definitely is pain, but whatever gain is all but obliterated by, well, the pain? The only thing we have to fear is the painful fear of fearful pain…. And so on.

If you are of a certain interior cast, your cast of personal demons is so extensive that nothing of any importance usually occurs in the outside world. Or so the illusion goes.

One thing about physical medicine…it’s no illusion. The physiotherapy assistant who drops in weekly to extend your range of motion is real enough. So is the preparation, a good 45 minutes or so on the exercycle. And so are the results. Normally, the latter don’t amount to anything very dramatic. No particular “gain,” just not any particular losses. Maintenance, that’s what is supposed to happen when you get regular stretching of the limbs, the tendons, and whatever other connective tissue is being worked over, kneaded, and shredded. Words that may seem a bit hyperbolic, but actually reflect the personal experience. Up on the treatment table, prone or supine, getting bent this way, elongated that way.

In other words, I’m used to it. I am even used to falling behind in the process. Yes, for varying periods, and for various reasons, I have failed to call Perry, redoubtable Stanford trainer, to my hearthside But my bedside? Never necessary, for such is my relatively robust quadriplegic state. Until, well, this morning. Then I could have summoned an ambulance, such was my anxious state.

Overstretched. Like everything in life, both a literal and metaphorical term. But that must be the only one for my recent muscular adventures. Informed that I have lost some range of motion, particularly in my left leg, it made perfect sense to have Perry pull and bend and elongate those pesky muscles. Yes, I’ve been sore in the wake of delayed and catch up stretching, but so what? Thus the pain equals gain equation or assumption or whatever.

So imagine my surprise when this morning I couldn’t get out of the bed. And we are not talking any metaphorical bed, but the actual one with the mattress and tufts of dog fur from my extended canine family. Too much shooting pain, that would be my simple description. And the anxiety? That I am, simply put, trapped.

Of course, it wasn’t just in the standing up. Getting my legs off the edge of the bed was another exercise in pain. And then the process, if it can be called that, of getting my torso into verticality…which involves grabbing the edge of a mahogany sidetable and working my hand along the molding…well, that seemed enough of an indignity. But the pain in my overstretched thigh, the one that works, was too much. There was no rocking forward, up and on my feet.

I called Lorna. She only lives a few meters away. It will be easier when Jane moves in u stupid pstairs, but still there will be these moments. Times when I am on my own, often because I want to be on my own. What is one to make of all this?

No pain, no gain. That and, perhaps, lightening up just a touch on the stretching.

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