Wednesday, June 25, 2008

caregiving: hijacked by a physical therapist

Is nothing sacred? On the way out of Patti’s care facility, we were hijacked by a physical therapist.


While I found this fascinating, to Patti it may as well have been fingernails on a chalkboard. I learned that Patti is not exactly a cooperative patient. <grin> The therapist reported that Patti voices her opinions quite ‘colorfully’ and usually rolls out half way through her scheduled sessions.


What physical therapy is trying to do is relax and stretch her leg muscles. She does not fully extend them which in turn complicates transfers to and from wheelchair and bed, etc.


Fortunately, I was able to keep Patti amused for a complete session. Patti’s short term memory loss, mental confusion, and lack of attention undoubtedly complicate any therapist’s plans.


To me the physical therapy room was somewhat like a play room with the coolest toys in town. To those who need physical therapy there may as well be an arch over the door emblazoned “no pain no gain”.


Later sharing the experience with our daughter, she remarked “isn’t physical therapy kind of ahh … like waste of time with Mom?”  … Megan’s brief observation is the acquired wisdom of a life time of living with Multiple Sclerosis. Megan has ONLY known Patti in a wheelchair.


While physical therapy and MS is debated, there is also the boundary of ‘need’ vs ‘want’.


There is merit to Megan’s observation especially in consideration of Patti’s progression and level of MS. On the other hand, private medical insurance, Medicare and Medicaid have formulas permitting “X” amount of PT for “Y” type conditions. Medical professionals obviously make use of those formulas to address acute concerns, for example, Patti’s recent bout of falls from out of her wheelchair.


Does it do any good? MS in general is about a short circuiting of communication between brain and body. Who knows?


Patti certainly has her opinion after over 2 decades of living with MS and it is NOT as politely delivered as in the jargon of a 20 year old, where it is “kind of ahh … like waste of time.”


Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer 





(also available in Blogger edition, Caregiver Blog: "Caregivingly Yours")


  1. somehow I think I know what Patti's comment might be; I can see with PT if you have a willing patient, it might be of benefit; if you have an unwilling patient, it will be a long session; don't know what they do in care facilities, but outpatient PT tends to want to set up home exercise programs; if you have someone who isn't interested in doing the home exercises, then PT can be a waste of time (speaking from personal experience dealing with my daughter and PT; she would have shared Patti's reputation of being not being a cooperative patient :)


  2. I have often wondered that myself with some of the kids in my class. When the PT comes, shows them a few things to do, measures their ability to do simple things and the measurement is worse than before, my mind often voices Megan's observation.

    She is her mother's daughter... only younger. <smile>

    I bet Patti gives the PT an earful!!  LOLOLOLOL


  3.  I can just hear her comments and I know the would make me lough


  4. ((((((((((((((((((((HUGSOYOU)))))))))))))))))))))It must be hard to get Patti to do stuff for health.

  5. So does Patti remember from one PT session to the next? Or does she rediscover it for the first time each time she goes, kind of like the movie "50 First Dates?" I know it's tot to be painful for a patient in the PT room... doesn't matter about the cool toys. Poor Patti! I can see how it makes no sense to her. I'd probably want to roll out before they were done with me as well. At least you kept her preoccupied during one session... I imagine the PT was grateful for your entertaining presence. bea

  6. lol i bet patti has them frustrated but i bet the aides are in stiches :)


  7. I would love to be in there helping keep Patti entertained colorful language and all. She sounds like a lovely riot...(Hugs)Indigo


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