Saturday, April 15, 2017

Massage or physical therapy - you be the judge

I finally hired a physical therapist for C. It was the first time she had this therapy since she "graduated" school at the end of August 2016 - and was thrown to the dogs by the powers that be.

Since then her liver crisis and pressure sores consumed all our time and attention. Only now, with those issues resolved, could we focus on her less urgent needs.

I was surprised to discover that few physical therapists will travel to their patients, regardless of the remuneration. And since we aren't up to driving C. anywhere on a regular basis, we were down to one candidate who agreed to come here (she lives a five minute drive away).

The woman was French, nice and gentle with C. But she spent nearly the entire session oiling, massaging and stretching C.'s limbs. Now I'm sure there's no harm in that, and possibly huge benefits of some sort. But it's what I'd expect from a certified masseuse - not a physical therapist.

For the remainder of the hour, she listened to my summary of C.'s medical history and watched me demonstrate MEDEK-standing and describe the MEDEK-walking I used to do with C. in pre-liver-crisis times. (Surprisingly, she'd never heard of that superlative physical therapy method.)

I was impressed by how very calm C. looked and by her repeated "smiles" throughout the session. (Just to clarify: C. hasn't really smiled since her epilepsy struck 21 years ago. But she does stick out the tip of her tongue through the side of her mouth when she is happy and we've designated that her "smile".)

The therapist was confident that we'd see unspecified improvements in the coming week and urged me to call her with a report. But nothing resembling improvement eventuated. In fact for some reason, C.'s standing has worsened somewhat in the last three days. Not that I'm blaming the massage.

Still, desperate times require desperate measures. So with no alternatives around for now, I asked this one to come again. The second session was much like the first. This time, though, I observed more intently and photographed and videoed the routines so that C.'s caregiver and I will be able to do them daily.

But somehow this doesn't pass for physical therapy in my book and so I've resumed the hunt for another therapist who'll work at our place.

Have a look at the photos. What do you think?

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