Friday, June 15, 2007

Not bad for a Colored Guy?

This week has been a pretty rewarding week for me and it has reminded me why I entered the field of physical therapy. Over the course of the week I was able to treat people that were truely grateful that I was there to get them up and moving so they could return home. One of patients this week paid me one of the ultimate complement, he said that I had taken care of him better than anyone else at the hospital. It kind of amazes me that of all of the people that saw him on a regular basis my 20 minutes or so with him was the bright spot of his day. The funny thing about the whole situation is that the last two times I saw him all I did was stand him up and walk him into the restroom, and when he was done I walked in back to bed. I did help with the cleaning process just a bit, but I attempted to help him keep his dignity. I guess that listening to him and taking what he said into consideration was all it took make him feel like a person instead of a patient.

One of my other patients who I say only twice this week told another student physical therapist that I worked with that I was "not bad for a colored guy." I am not sure what that means but in the wake of Juneteenth I will take it as a complement. No matter how the complement is expressed it is good to know that my work in not in vain.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Physical Therapy...not just Sports Injuries

It never fails that when I tell people that I am going to be a physical therapist they ask if I am going to work for a sports team. Time and time again I have to explain that physical therapy is not just about sports injuries. Today I am taking it upon myself to let everyone know about some of the less glamourized specialty areas of physical therapy.

The first is fairly obvious and for what we are known for that is rehabilitation of post-surgical and sports related injuries also know as orthopedic physical therapy. We also work with people who have neurological injuries such as stroke, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Women's health deals with issues of incontinence in women who may have just had children, and due to the traumatic nature of giving birth on certian areas of the female anatomy need to regain control of those muscles. Pediatric physical therapist take care of children who have been born with certian disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida and even children with autism. They work in schools to make sure that all of these children with special needs are able to get attention they need to achieve at the highest level. There are also therapists working in areas of ergonomics, gerentology, nursing homes,and long-term care.

Currently I am doing my affiliation at a hospital in my hometown in which I have done wound care and am currently treating inpatients, also known as acute care. In wound care, as talked about in my previous post, I saw wounds on legs, arms and many other areas on the body. Some healed nicely because the conditions were optimal for healing and others did not. Acute care is a far cry from outpatient physical therapy because you are treating people who are sick and could even die. In acute care, there are critical care patients who are on ventalators and have lines and hoses comming out of everywhere, and they are so deconditioned that sitting up on the side of the be for 10 minutes is a challenge. In the acute care setting you have to be familiar with all of the areas of specialty which makes some days very interesting.

So in summation, out of respect to all physical therapists in every specialty area don't reduce the field to soley sports and orthopedic injuires, because it is so much more.