Me & My Time Machine
Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1957, I had a predominantly painless childhood. My father didn’t believe discipline had a physical form. He preferred deprivation. If you did something wrong, you simply had to give up something you love for the period of time Dad felt was appropriate. So it wasn’t until my ninth year that I had my first real encounter with physical pain, courtesy of the school bully. For me, then and now, the humbling effects of pain are far outweighed by its motivational aspects.
Over the course of my life I developed many passions; but I attribute my achievements in basketball and the martial arts to developing the skills, both physical and mental, to deal with and more importantly overcome pain. From the tender age of nine through age thirty two I considered myself a respectable basketball player and a devout martial artist.
The comforts of my marriage at age twenty nine and a wife that’s a great cook literally weighed in on my physical conditioning right through to my early forties but it wasn’t until I reached my forty fourth birthday that the concept of aging had slapped me in the face. Like Willis Reed, NY Knick center 1964-1976 (yeah right – I’m a 6’-2” gravity bound white man who played guard), my knees, from time to time, would stiffen up enough to remind me of my age. As did the long since healed ribs & toes I broke attempting to be Bruce Lee. Even though my body was dropping subtle hints all along the way, it wasn’t until a freak surfing accident that reality set in. That day, I tore my left rotator cuff, something I never even knew I had. The prognosis was this; a 50% mobility loss in the damaged arm/shoulder combined with painful sleep deprivation. The orthopedic suggested immediate surgery to alleviate the pain. Being the type of person that doesn’t take well to the idea of surgery, my question was simple; Could I attempt recovery solely through physical therapy and then, should that fail, have the surgery without risking the success of the surgical outcome because of the time that had lapsed. The doctor was brutally honest. He said I could postpone the surgery without any anatomical risks but physical therapy would be a painful ordeal that he wouldn’t recommend or put himself through.
Fast forward through two years of religious gym visits focusing on the rotator cuff injury. My arm/shoulder was restored to 90% mobility; the remaining 10% gets awarded to some dull pain, minor sleep position issues and joint creaking/clicking. No gold medal, no happy ending here just the added bonus of developing knee trouble; a gift courtesy of the treadmill I was warming up with at the gym. So back to the orthopedic I went and guess what he recommended, right, surgery. Apparently the elasticity, cartilage/tendon, and joint in my left knee decided that I wasn’t going to have playful use of my left leg anymore; by playful I mean low end stretching, kicking a heavy bag, even simple kneeling hurt. Frankly, I was angry! Forty four was not the point in my life I imagined beginning minor surgeries or a regiment of pills. Furthermore, I received mixed reviews on arthroscopic surgery from some close friends who had the procedure and were not fully satisfied.
Enter the infamous ROM ad. Yes I saw it in an airline magazine while flying, yes I was skeptical and yes it is expensive but, the concept made sense to me. Gradual stretching over a full range of motion, oxygenated exertion, a combined aerobic & anaerobic session and FOUR MINUTES!! What did your parents always tell you; if it sounds too good to be true..? Nevertheless, I began my research. Frankly, the more I read, the more the science of it all made sense. The only other issue was the financial rationalization, how could I possibly justify the cost? You can easily put together a very respectable home gym for less money but the workout/results wouldn’t be any different than what I was getting with my existing gym membership. Well, I spent two weeks, utilizing any/all free personal time, wrestling with the decision and it came down to this. All science aside, I have to credit the present state of the medical insurance industry in the US with the win. Comparing the “quality of life” investment to my onetime medical insurance co-pay & “roll the dice” surgery option, I decided to give the ROM’s minimal risk guarantee a shot.
Well, long story short, I got the gold and my happy ending. Three years of ROMing later, my status = NSR (no surgery required). I get to workout with my thirteen year old son, kicking a heavy bag with both legs AND my arm/shoulder mobility is back 100%. Sure, I can give you all the infomercial rhetoric; all my friends can’t believe how good I look, I’m back to the weight I was in college, I look very different in the same clothes, but that’s all petty compared to being surgery free, prescription free and anatomically fully functional, approaching my fiftieth birthday (October 2007). No I’m not playing full court with the twenty year old animals but I play in the driveway with my son & his friends. Nope, I’m not competing in Karate tournaments but I get a full martial arts work out with my son three days a week (one of the best parts of my life) and I feel great! Here’s a perk – my orthopedic wouldn’t recognize me if we bumped heads.
In closing, let me sincerely say this. I’m not a writer (please accept my grammatical apologies). I did not write this review in haste. I couldn’t rationalize writing to others about the ROM immediately after the trail period when I just committed to the purchase based on my preliminary results. My ROM just had its third birthday and really successful relationships require effort and time. The nice folks that make the ROM didn’t pay me to glorify their machine. It took a life changing event, the passage of time and a lot of hard work & dedication to make my full recovery and this heartfelt review possible. I cannot and will never be able to thank the ROM inventor and the folks at http://www.quickgym.com/ enough – God Bless them.