I want to start 2017 sharing the story of my Mom's sudden health collapse early in 2016 and about her amazing recovery.
My Mom was a fully independent and highly self-functioning 78 year old lady who had few of the medical issues typical for a person of her age like high blood pressure, arthritic changes, osteoporosis and pains and aches.
In February of 2016 she started developing hip pain after relatively minor fall from the chair in her bathroom. She was walking and functioning however did complain of that hip pain. After few days, she fell again and my sister took her to the ER, where she was cleared of any fracture (based on X-ray) and sent home with allowance to ambulate to the bathroom only and take it easy for a week. However, after that second fall, she developed very severe pain and could hardly function or sleep. Due to stunning progress in communication technology, I could have full contact with my sister and niece who were so kind, supportive and were her primary care-givers.
As the week was progressing instead of getting better, my Mom was getting worse and worse as far as her pain and function were concern. One important thing I want to share with you here is that medical system in Poland is not even close to the one that we experience here in America and the further development of that story was hugely related to that.
Due to her severe pain, I encouraged my family to take my Mom back to the ER. She was admitted to the hospital and further medical diagnostic tests were positive for pelvic fracture in 5 places and as a follow-up recommendation by one orthopedic doctor, she was put on 6 months of bed rest with no order for any Physical Therapy or mobilization whatsoever. Just the allowance to get up to the bathroom, but no assistance to accomplish that goal from the medical community was provided or offered.
I have worked in the USA as a Physical Therapist for over 22 years, many years before I opened my private practice, I spent on orthopedic floors of the hospitals and based on everything that I have learned here, I knew that if I want my Mom to live and function again I do need to offer help or other solutions to that antiquated plan of care.
Not knowing what will happen, I bought one way ticket to Poland and cleared my schedule. When I arrived to Poland, the picture did not look good at all. My mom was home in a hospital bed, in severe pain, deep depression and pretty much in her own mind ready to die as somehow, she did not see the solution to that situation that she was in. Thank God to my loving sister and niece who have amazing hearts and were always there offering support and help.
My goal was to offer knowledge and experience of how a situation like that would be approached and treated here in the USA. Of course, if the person had a severe car accident and had traumatic body fractures, prolonged immobilization would be appropriate for the bone healing, however most pelvic fractures in a 78 years old people are due to osteoporosis (like in the case of my Mom). Any American orthopedic doctor and any other one who is willing to learn new knowledge would recommend different approach.
Convincing my family and Mom that she needed to start right away with proper exercises in bed, breathing exercises and teaching the body how to move in bed was not easy as the doctor recommendation was so different. I was simply hoping that if my sister and I privately were to visit with the doctor, he would be more open and will allow what is the best for my Mom. Unfortunately, this doctor's ego was immense, and honestly, I do not know what he was hoping to accomplish except deterioration of my Mom's body by putting her on bed rest for 6 months.
Long story short, we found another younger doctor who was a neurologist and his approach was completely different and agreed with how we do things here in America. My Mom really needed a good plan of care that would be consistently followed, designed to rebuilt her body, mind and spirit to return to pre-fall functioning. That was really all it took.
So, since March till December 2016, she has had a private therapist who was coming twice a week after I left Poland, combined with the help of my sister and niece. During all those months, my Mom's therapist and I were in close contact via social media to consult and talk about her progress. She also completed 3 weeks of private rehabilitation and now she is getting closer and closer to be fully independent and strong again. Hard to imagine in this country, but in Poland, if we wanted to wait for the rehabilitation that she could receive based on her insurance, the wait time is on average 2-3 years. Really!
I was so much happier, lighter and relived when I was going back to Poland for Christmas. I knew that my Mom was doing so much better physically, mentally, emotionally and functionally and she strives to be more and more independent now. However, all her progress was due to different knowledge and a better approach that was offered to her. All her services were privately funded.
Insurance and initial doctor wanted her to be on bed rest for 6 months and have rehab in 2-3 years. Well I do not know where my Mom would be with that approach, but I am sure not where she is right now.
To my Mom, my family and obviously to most of the Polish medical system, our American medical approach feels out of the box, new and may feel wrong. To me, the Polish medical system feels antiquated - we treat the same medical diagnosis differently now than back in 1950.
So, having all that said, we can be very grateful for our American medical system. It is not great, but it is way better than in many places in the world.
But even within our American, medical system we still have different approaches how certain diagnosis are treated, especially in Physical Therapy.
I used to work in a traditional Physical Therapy places where, especially chronic pain diagnosis, were treated with modalities and approached that do not bring you the results that you want.
So, to a happier and healthier 2017...it starts with a choice and with a change. Nothing happens magically. Only we can make it happen. So, let's choose wisely, and research what is the best for your own body, mind and spirit, what is healthy, and what will produce the results that you want.
Sending you all Blessings, Love and Light Energy for a Happy and Healthy 2017!!!
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