Physical therapists...as hard to find as a therapist?

I've been to the new physical therapy happening 3 times so far this week. First time for intake and a little heat/tens unit action on my neck. 2nd time in the pool (shallow enough not to immerse my neck)...walking back and forth and backwards and forth and doing some stretching. 3rd time was today. I'm telling myself 2 appointments with someone isn't enough to form an opinion, but I'm feeling very torn. I like this place. They focus on pilates based physical therapy and water therapy. The physical therapist isn't trusting anything I tell her. If it isn't in writing from the doctor it isn't fact. I'm annoyed at the fact that I'm supposed to harass my doctor to put everything in writing that they've told me. I'm trying to keep in mind that she doesn't know me and thus doesn't know that I'm going to struggle not to do to much, not fight to not do anything. So some of it I've gotten in writing to close the discussion, some I'm still formulating. My doctors (I'm talking at least 3 different doctors independently here) are counseling patience and taking my time in building up strength and endurance and not overdo it. The physical therapist is saying not to bring my wheelchair into physical therapy and that I should just walk and that she's going to have me walking at least 4 blocks within weeks. Personally I like the latter, but seeing my recovery thus far and knowing that I've been in a wheelchair full time for 10 years am finding the prior to be more realistic.

Anyway, have any of you used a walker? Did you use a 3 wheel or 4 wheel model? What did you like? Why?

And if you haven't seen it (cuz it didn't publish for some reason) check out the posting form may 17.


Eliza said...

Honestly? This PT sounds less than ideal. The fact that she's wanting everything in writing is understandable; that's been pretty typical in my experience (they need to cover their butts). But, it sounds like she is trying to push too hard and isn't necessarily doing the type of work you NEED.

After suffering through totally clueless folks forever, I needed to find someone local to my mom's house when I was first recovering from surgery, as I wasn't ready to go home and go to my usual (crappy) place. I completely lucked into finding the best PT ever (total luck: first name in the phone book who'd take my insurance. The office was GROSS, and I was like, "What did I get myself into?!" But, she was phenomenal). She was very manual-based (no machines/exercise stuff), doing lots of labor-intensive work (on her part) hands-on type stuff, trying to help my muscles calm down. She also did a bit of work on my balance but REALLY understood the limits (I couldn't believe the difference between what she had me do and what my other place had had me doing). I wish I could have kept going to her forever.

The general idea of where you are sounds fairly good for your issues, but it sounds like you need another month or so of just massage and stretching and maybe VERY minimal endurance-building stuff before you are ready to do the pool and pilates work. And, as nice as it would be to meet her goals for your walking, it sounds like maybe she's more goal-oriented than progress-oriented: pushing you beyond your limits because she's set some arbitrary goal is only going to impede your progress in the long run. Seems to me it would make more sense to figure out what you're capable of doing NOW and basing each session's work on building from there.

PTs who have had training in Europe or Israel are most often the ones who have a more manual approach, if you do decide you want to look for someone else. If you want to stay at the place you're at now, I think it's important to have a LONG talk with her, perhaps getting your nurse from TCI involved. Good luck.

gimpy mumpy said...

I've used a 2 wheel and no wheel walkers and honestly they both sucked (sorry no better way to put it). I found pushing a wheel chair worked easiest but was the least practical. If you do use a walker I found putting tennis balls on any feet without wheels helped a bit.
Best of luck.

Eliza said...

Oh, yeah, forgot to mention the walker thing. They made me get a walker before they'd let me leave the hospital. I was so pissed, since they had me walking around the floor with a cane, so it seemed pretty stupid. Maybe they were working on commission. It was one of those generic lightweight silver, two-wheel ones (the other two feet just slid). I think I might have used it inside my mom's house (where I went after my surgery) for about a half a day. It was too wide for the [non-wheelchair-accessible] doorways and didn't move easily over the carpet, so it was more work than using the patented cane/wall-hugging combo. (Once I was up to going outside and started taking short walks down the block to try to build up my strength, I did use the walker for awhile there. But that was it). I didn't find shape of, the way I had to hold my arms on it, to be comfortable.

If I were going to be getting one to use more full-time, I'd probably go for more of the rollator style. I'm not positive, as those are so heavy and I couldn't lift it, but, if I didn't have to deal with carrying it up and down the stairs to the subway, that'd be my choice. I'd like to have a seat attached, so I could sit down when I was tired. And I think the handles are more ergonomically positioned. And, duh, they come in pretty colors.