“It’s All About Therapy”

Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

A new vehicle these days comes equipped with the ability to tell you just exactly what it needs to keep it running smooth and in good physical health. You will get an email detailing which tire is low and by how many pounds of pressure. You will also get an alert reminding you of how many miles you may go until the next oil change is due. Imagine that your car tells you that you have used 88% of your current oil mileage and you might need to look into scheduling a maintenance appointment in the near future.

Unbeknownst to my husband, the car may even talk to you. Kenneth was driving his truck punching every button he could touch trying to get his radio to play the music he wanted to hear. I had left his truck on MY favorite page of stations rather than his favorite page. Oh, my! Had I only known what I was doing to the poor man. After several seconds of poking at buttons, a voice from out of the blue said, “Mr. Thomas, are you trying to make a phone call?”

Just use your imagination and think about how this poor man’s head was twisting and turning trying to figure just who was in the vehicle with him, where that voice was coming from, and more importantly how did that person know it was HIM! Softly he responded, “No ma’am. I’m trying to tune the radio!” The voice sweetly replied, “Have a good day then!” and Kenneth was left alone to figure out what had just happened. He may have felt he’d had a vision – not that would require a picture of something – perhaps he thought God was talking to him, but God was a man wasn’t he? Needless-to-say, my husband was one confused soul upon his return home.

The beginning of this story may be confusing when what I really want to address is Physical Therapy, but you’ll see how it all melds shortly. If a vehicle can tell you what it needs to work smoothly, it would be terrific if the body also gave out those same messages. Ah, but it does! A trip to the doctor to discover your blood pressure is elevated is a sure message from your body that it needs a better routine of maintenance. Diet and exercise is normally recommended, though when you are hard headed and won’t listen to your body or your doctor, you may run the gamut of blood pressure medicine, heart attacks, stents, or other life-saving measures. The same is true of all parts of the body. Maintenance is a necessity for the life of the vehicle, whether it be a car or YOU!

Recently I had both knees replaced, and I truly amazed every therapy person who worked with me. My doctor’s skill was just that great that there was very little bruising, way less swelling than was the norm in a bilateral knee replacement, and my range of motion from day one was awesome! Dr. William Shell of Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, TN remains my hero. When some OT or PT person asks, “Who did your surgery; I’ve never seen one that looked so good!” I proudly respond, “Dr. William Shell. Let me tell you all about him and his awesome team at St. Thomas!”

I did a couple of days with Occupational and Physical Therapy there at St. Thomas, moved to a rehab facility in Nashville for 4-5 more days, and came home to continue my physical therapy.  This is where my real story begins, for nestled within the serenity and beauty of our mountain home, we have such a hidden gem of such import that its presence must be uncovered and the need it fills in our community just has to be heralded far and wide! I have been going to Emerald Hodgson Hospital in Sewanee, TN and doing my physical therapy with its highly professional staff. Absolutely no one but an idiot would imagine that physical therapy is a breeze, because common sense should tell you that if you have something sliced and diced, it’s gonna take Mother Nature some time to mend that “Owee!” However, if you put this group of girls along with Mother Nature, your chance of recovering with full use of your Owee increases a hundred fold.

I have had a major life set-back lately, and the times I should have continued my exercises at home have just not happened. So, in I go to therapy walking like I have two stiff stove pipes for legs, and knowing what is about to happen to me is not going to be pleasant. I do believe in putting the blame where it lies, with me, not anyone else, because if I am too lazy to do those exercises at home to keep myself limber, whose blame is it if I find myself hurting more than necessary? It’s my fault, so I won’t blame my therapists when I say, “Oh, I’ll do that later. It hurts too bad right now!” 

When I look at these ladies, I immediately recognize two qualities on their faces, COMPASSION and DETERMINATION. They are gonna get me moving better than when I first entered their portal. Now, that’s saying a lot, because not only must they work with a patient’s particular ailment or injury, but they must also know which exercises are appropriate for the person’s age, muscle strength, and bone density.  They must work with a number of doctors, a myriad of personalities, and the excitement of what could be accomplished if the patient is both willing and able to share in his/her physical therapy. It’s a lot like teaching school, I imagine, just as we could never drill a hole in their heads and pour in the knowledge, physical therapists can’t expand our range of motion and overall mobility if we don’t accept that challenge to help them.

I have realized that I am the kind of patient who wants to please. If they ask me to do 15 repetitions, I almost always go for 20, etc. I like to hear encouragement and know that I am excelling. Doing it at home has not been something about which I can brag right now though. My husband very recently passed away, and I tend to come home and put my exercises under my pillow as I curl up and cover my head. This too is where the COMPASSION of my therapists is very evident. Does it sound like I love going to therapy?

If someone had ever taken the opportunity to explain to me how such little women equipped with a hand-towel, two gallon-size aluminum cans and their mere hands could inflict such total agony, I might have been all ears to listen. The saying, “No Pain…No Gain” keeps going through my mind during every therapy session. “Be the Best You Can Be” and “I Think I Can, I Think I Can” are constant mantras looping through my mind as well. I will have to say that each and every time I have left physical therapy I was in a far better shape mentally as well as physically after a thorough work-out. The saying, “Stop and Smell the Flowers” is often indicated when people need to slow down in their lives, take it one day at a time, and enjoy everything with which God has surrounded us. Physical Therapy also may enable us to stoop down or bend over and even pick that flower.

I have to say that I believe in God. I believe He gives us what we need in life and that He provides for us whether it is spiritual, mental, physical, or eternal. It is my belief that God gives people like Dr. William Shell the knowledge and skill to perform his surgeries on his patients. I believe He gives us professionals with therapeutic skills such as the wonderful staff found at Emerald Hodgson Hospital’s Physical Therapy department. I also believe He expects us to TRUST in Him and utilize His medically trained children. I give God all the glory and praise for carrying me this day and opening the door to Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance in Nashville, TN and physical therapy in a small mountain hospital in Sewanee, Tennessee.


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