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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Physical Therapy

     As loyal readers know, physical therapy has been a major part of my life for at least five years. I guess the first was some basic range of motion recovery after a "bunionectomy" on my right big toe. Then there was an only partly successful reconstruction of my right rotator cuff. Hip and knee replacements followed...again on the right side. Plus, a right bicep tendon ruptured. Finally, last year, I had some scaffolding installed to fuse the 3rd, 4th, and 5th lumbar vertebrae. The PT for the mechanical aspects of my repairs have gone pretty well, but they are all embedded in the larger issue of my peripheral neuropathy. Enter The Balance Center.
     Originally operating under the auspices of Clemson University and now the Roper, St. Francis Hospital, The Balance, Mobility, and Dizziness Center of Charleston, was tailor made for my circumstance. Since the Balance Center could handle some rehab matters better than an orthopedic facility could handle the balance niche, I spent a lot of time there. Interestingly, every employee of the Balance Center is a woman. In fact, the director of the adjoining sports medicine facility, who has great respect for their expertise and professionalism, once said, "The place is awash in estrogen".
     There's an old line that says that the difference between a terrorist and a therapist is that you can negotiate with a terrorist. The implication being that physical therapists are tough, unyielding, even humorless folks. The ladies at the balance center belie that caricature, mixing gentleness with only enough discipline to get the job done. I suppose the fact that the demographic of their patients is generally older than that of most PT facilities demands it, but gentleness is evident everywhere.
     Several years ago, after a vertigo incident, I began working with the director of the center, Allison Schryver, an acknowledged vestibular expert. One day she said that she was going to hand me off to someone named "Jensen". While it is normal for the lead therapist to make the initial assessment of the patient and then assign someone else to continue the treatment, my initial reaction was, "Here comes the JV squad". Well, it wasn't a Jensen but Jensine Adams, a lovely, accomplished professional with a specialty in vestibulor pediatrics who had spent a good deal of time as a team athletic trainer. In my five years with the USAFA wrestling team I got to know and highly regard the profession of athletic trainer. Jensine is definitely not the JV squad. While I did make some physical improvements, her greater contribution was teaching me how to properly accomplish the exercises that I would have to continue in order to deal with my strength and balance in the face of deteriorating neuropathy.

     I'm the one on the right. Seriously, it's a great crew and I have enjoyed working with all of them. Your job is to write a caption for that picture.
     I'll pick up the bus in a week and leave SC in two weeks. It's definitely getting too warm here.
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