Dear UBE: it’s over

Dear UBE: It’s Over

Dear Upper Body Ergometer…I’m sorry you had to hear it this way. And really- its not you- its me. You are, after all, an inanimate object. But this co-dependency has become toxic! You are holding me back, limiting my treatments, and what’s worse is- you are hitting on all my friends, too (did you think I hadn’t noticed?!). At this rate every OT in the place should have their own little UBEs, that’s how dependent we are on that sweet, sweet 5 minute cycle.

I’m tired of lugging your around, and I know you’re tired of having your knob twisted.

Look, we both know that this isn’t how we thought things was going to go. You started from a good place, with all the good intention in the world. I don’t pretend to know much about your girlfriend before me- Physical Therapy- but I know you guys had a good thing going. You guys looked at frozen shoulder, scapular mobility, strength and endurance- and had great times together. But over on this side of the gym- in OT world- all you bring is time-filling, unfocused, non-occupation-based activity. Even if I am working on all the above biomechanical issues with my patient, I want the PT to work on strength, range and control; and I want to focus on the occupation. How to get that T-shirt on, how to open a can, how to lift your toddler out of the crib- that’s my real love.

It has been so hard to imagine life without you. We all are getting so much pressure and need to be more and more productive, and let’s face it…you fill a gap. But that’s not a good enough excuse. If we as OTs start filling time with meaningless activities just to get our productivity up, then we start veering into the unethical- and I won’t go down that dark alley with you! You always were the bad boy, but I have to behave myself these days.

I’m not saying you didn’t help me along the way when I was younger. You bridged a gap in my imagination- but now, with years of experience, I can see that being with you is keeping me from being the most functional therapist I can be. And you deserve better- to be loved and cherished as a useful tool. I don’t want to have to try to explain anymore to my hip fracture patient why they are using you, when the real answer is: I need ten minutes to do my note. That’s not right for anyone.

I know we are going to keep seeing each other everywhere. It will be awkward, at first. You are in every therapy gym I have ever walked into, so it is inevitable. But why do you have to be so close to me? Why are you on the OT side of the gym? The only occupation I can think of involving you would be a boxer- and even if I was working with that patient- well, we would probably use a bag.

Look, UBE- we’ve had quite the ride, but I need to spread my wings and fly. You keep me from being my best self, and for that reason it has to be over. It might hurt at first to see you with other people, and I’m sure you will wonder why I am doing functional movements with my patients as opposed to spinning your wheel- but one day you will understand- occupational therapy is meaningless without occupation.

And please stop calling.


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