Welcome to fall! The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder and Notre Dame is in the top ten. It is also National Physical Therapy Month. Instead of talking about how much I love this profession, I want to tell a story about how physical therapy and a physical therapist saved my life.
I share my story with you to not only thank the therapist that saved my life, but also thank all physical therapists for the vast roles they play within the delivery of healthcare. Physical Therapist’s impact in healthcare spans across a multitude of disciplines including Outpatient, Inpatient, Nursing Home, Long Term Care facilities, Home Health, and Occupational Health.
My journey over the last few months has been an experience. An experience that I would not wish for anyone. With that said, I am alive, recovering well, and beyond grateful to be at this point. For some context, several months ago I contracted a simple infection on my leg. I had the infection drained by my primary care physician. My doctor wanted me to see a wound care therapist to help speed up the healing process. I was already scheduled to be at a national physical therapy convention and needless to say, I postponed my wound care therapy appointments. I ended up in the hospital and very ill. The wound became an afterthought and at that point, I was simply trying to stay alive.
After leaving the hospital, I began physical therapy immediately. Clinically, I was getting better, but the wound was not healing. We worked on different methods of care, but my therapist was not able to get my wound to respond to treatment. We communicated with each other, my primary care physician, and the consensus was, give it time. My wound therapist did not want me to wait, she persisted and referred me to a surgeon. During surgery, it was discovered that the wound was much more complex than anyone was able to tell. It was deep and moving in a direction that could quickly turn fatal. The surgeon was able to successfully remove the infection and we have been able to get it healed (99% as I write this).
The real hero in this story is the physical therapist who spent time with me as a patient. She trusted her gut as a provider and knew that something wasn’t “right”. She spent time talking to my primary care doctor and the surgeon to make sure I saw the right provider and was able to get the underlying issue resolved.
I am forever thankful that I am here. I am thankful for that physical therapist that took the time to care about me. I know that sometimes we see descriptors such as National Physical Therapy Month and ask, “do we really need to recognize it”? I say absolutely because a physical therapist saved my life, and to her, it was just a normal day treating patients.