Many readers will identify with the following people who gladly sat down with me to share their stories of the journey they made back to a healthier self.
Meet Dianne, who retired after 43 years as a special education teacher and looks forward to hiking, road trips, travel and feeling her best. Proactive is her approach to health.
A Rim Country area resident for under two years, she described her journey with many years living with pain and treatments that did not work. She finally received “the right diagnosis” when she arrived in Payson.
Working with a local nurse practitioner, what was thought to be issues with nerves in her back causing the pain, it was discovered that muscle spasms were actually the culprit.
“I have always been proactive about my health. And, kept trying to find out what was causing the pain.”
Her nurse practitioner referred her to RCH’s Rehab Therapy.
After trying heating pads and taking Tylenol, she tried the Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR) and Physical Therapy (PT). “Trying Myofascial Release Therapy was a miracle.”
“Allan (RCH therapist) is wonderful. He believes everything is connected. My pain areas are located right away,” Dianne said.
After trying different modalities at RCH, a combination of MFR and PT helped Dianne to be pain-free 70 percent of each day versus being in pain every day. Prior to therapy, she was restricted and told, “no lifting.” She is able to stand without pain. She now exercises at home using strengthening techniques learned at RCH.
Dianne knows how discouraging pain can be, but knows that a great attitude together with being your own advocate by never giving up got her to better quality of health.
Dianne recently attended the Special Olympics in Cottonwood, Ariz. Something she could not have traveled to nor could sit through prior to having rehab therapy.
“Everything looks brighter. I don’t want to sit around crocheting my life away. I have plans with my son and will be hiking again,” she said.
Meet Sandra who shared her passion for caring, cooking and feeding her friends and neighbors in need. All while she, herself, was discovering her health issues that needed attention.
Sandra is very familiar with physicians, surgeries and therapy. She says, “I’m not a quitter and I say don’t ever give up.”
Four RCH therapists, at different times, have been on “Team Sandra.” She enjoys working with Allan, Michael and Patrick. She also recalls when she first met Richard. Sandra appreciates the knowledge of each therapist and has had good experiences. “They do it (therapy) at my pace.”
She perceives her therapy visits as fun because of the politeness and sense of humor in the department, along with therapists understanding how she’s feeling that day to set and/or adjust her goals.
Core strengthening and balance are the focus for her sessions. She’s back to climbing the stairs to her front door.
“I want to keep going — to the grocery store, prep and cook the food — and, drive to do ‘food sharing’.”
She described her famous pistachio-coconut-pineapple pudding that’s a favorite among friends.
When asked what she tells friends about rehab therapy Sandra said, “Get. It. Fixed.”
It’s not often that a co-worker/friend is featured in our journeys, but volunteering to share her story was something she came to me with even before her surgery.
Meet Carol, RCH’s former and now retired dietary director, back in the kitchen still “cooking for my residents.”
With one hip replacement already under her belt, it was time to have the other hip done. “I was lucky to find someone in the Valley who only does hips and knees, but I knew I was coming home and to Rim Country Health for my rehab.”
Before the surgery, walking was a struggle. Carol was on it with a combination of mental preparation and purchases including a walker, a cane, sock reachers, and, a “hip kit” from Amazon.
“When you can’t do the stairs, have no flexibility and have to buy slip-on shoes, you know it’s time.”
There was a class Carol was required to attend prior to surgery that described everything that was going to happen. She and her husband, George, both appreciated that class and were ready for her journey.
But, she was really thinking about her recovery and how she’s not a person that lies around in bed.
Physical therapy started two weeks after her surgeon cleared her.
“PT was a joy! Don’t let anyone tell you to ‘just walk’ after hip surgery. PT helped me to regain my balance, climb stairs, get in and out of my truck and… it gets you back into healthy living because you’re socializing with people.”
Carol credits RCH therapist Patrick with getting her back on her feet with PT twice a week for six weeks. She was back to work in eight weeks. “Patrick makes you work without even realizing it. He’s a good listener and communicator. The rehab therapy area is always a friendly space, very open and sunny.”
Due to Carol’s work schedule, she was very happy that she could schedule the first appointment on Sunday mornings (when she was off).
“I feel like a teenager again. Range of motion is so much better. It’s life changing.”
Carol is, again, walking 1.5 miles a day.
“Go get it done, don’t wait. This (hip pain) doesn’t get better on its own,” she tells friends.
“I’ve seen the wonderful work and successes from the therapy department at Rim Country Health in the past six years. So, I already knew I wanted my therapy there.”
For more information on insurance verification, for inpatient or outpatient, and having rehabilitation therapy services at Rim Country Health & Rehabilitation, call 928-474-1120.