For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing therapy three times a week in a heated pool. In a short time I’ve gone from feeling miserable and having very tight, painful muscles in my left leg to being able to move and bend the leg, and lay on my stomach and both sides.
My therapist, however, haven’t allowed me to put any weight on the leg, based on a physical therapy prescription written in late March by my rehabilitation doctor. We have another prescription from my orthopedic surgeon written in early February that refers to being able to put weight on the leg if the pain was tolerable.
For two weeks, my therapist has been trying to get approval from the orthopedic surgeon to allow me to start walking in the pool, where most of my weight is supported by water. He hasn’t had much luck so Rich interceded and got a hold of the x-ray technician in the surgeon’s office. He pulled out my chart and essentially read what was on the prescription… "weight-bearing if tolerated."
My therapist, insisting that he can only "work off of one prescription," obviously never bothered to read the orthopedic surgeon’s instructions!
Hearing the conversation Rich was having with the x-ray technician, I exclaimed "Enough is enough. It’s over!" With that proclamation, I arose from my wheelchair, grabbed by walker and put weight on my left leg. Its held and surprisingly didn’t hurt!
Moments later, I was hesitantly walking using the walker. Thrilled, I decided to try it sans-walker. No such luck! My attempts were painful and awkward.
Happily, the next morning, eight weeks after my accident, I had an appointment with the therapist’s assistant, Mia. Marathon-runner thin and in her 40’s, Mia not only assigns challenging exercises, but watches every movement I make, ensuring they’re done correctly. The other therapists simply sit by the pool and tell me to do scissor kicks or bicycle for ten minutes.
Mia confirmed what was written on the orthopedic surgeon’s prescription then put me through my paces, including, when I was in the pool, teaching me how to correctly walk.
When you’ve been sitting in a wheelchair for two months, you need to retrain your muscles to walk heel-toe, swing your opposite arm, keep your "core" tight, and not rotate your hips. It’s humorously hard considering I’ve been walking, running, hopping, and jumping for decades.
It’ll be at least a week before I can dispense with the walker and walk comfortably on my own. By the end of April, I should be back to norm. Meanwhile, I’m doing lots of exercises at home and concentrating on every step I take to make sure I’m not learning bad habits.