Graduation Day……

I have been kicked out of the nest. Yesterday marked my last day of Physical Therapy, session 23, on the road to recovery from a badly torn rotator cuff. This experience was a tough one, and at my age I am no stranger to health issues that are taxing. I have previously written about falling and will end the discussion about unexpectedly leaving your feet with this admonition. Falling situations are all around you, but they mean something entirely different to a 70+ year old as opposed to a 30 something person. Do not take falls for granted.

This has been a long process. In early April, I fell down the steps into our garage. On May 5, the talented Dr. Timothy Galbreath, an orthopedic surgeon in Jefferson City, reconstructed a badly messed up shoulder. He is in favor of limited immobilization post surgery, unlike many surgeons, and prescribed physical therapy beginning on May 17. I elected to rely on the Physical Therapy services at Mercy Hospital and was introduced to Coe Rose, PT DPT, shortly after. Coe and I share a propensity for very short hair (none) and began a protracted relationship involving a manageable level of pain and plenty of homework. Along the way, a young lady, Katelyn Schmude, a senior student of Physical Therapy entered the picture. Katelyn is finishing a PT internship under the watchful eye of Coe before returning to school in St. Louis. Simply put, I could not have been in better hands.

Left to right, the patient, the princess and the master.

Like most folks, I had a very basic knowledge of the nuances of Physical Therapy. These folks rely on a solid knowledge of anatomy as well as an intimate knowledge of just how a given part of our body should move. They understand the healing process and how to measure progress over the course of time. Their prodigious bag of tricks includes isometric exercise, rubber bands, free weights and the manual manipulation of the aggrieved part of our anatomy. They can spot bad technique from a block away and have an uncanny ability to isolate a particular muscle or connective tissue so as to maximize healing and strengthening. I have developed a deep appreciation for what they bring to the table in terms of healing. Perhaps as important as their ability to guide you physically, is their ability to encourage you and help you to understand that we are all different and respond differently during the healing process.

I end where I began. There may be health care systems and practitioners in the world that are as competent as ours but there are none better. I still have a ways to go, as most orthopedic surgeons will tell you that recovery from this injury and surgical repair will take a year. I am 5 months in and am ahead of the curve in the opinion of my therapists. These folks will tell you early on that recovery is a partnership and that you will get out of the process exactly what you put in it. Thank you Coe and Katelyn for your professionalism and skill. In hillbilly terms, “you done good”! As a parting thought, Katelyn is scheduled for another internship in Chicago……..please be careful young lady. The world needs your talent and compassion. Chicago could care less about your well being………

Have a great week ahead!


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