November 5, 2016 by kittynh
So I tried, really tried the physical therapy department at the hospital in Keene NH, again… and once again, they let me down.
I had gone for help for back issues long ago, and they did a fairly decent job except…I rarely had the same physical therapist for two visits in a row. I had developed a good relationship with someone I called “The high school football player.” He had played sports in high school and taken his love of sports into physical therapy. He made me laugh, he pushed me, he was consistent, and I pushed myself.
Then one day I got someone I called “Hippy person”. Hippy person was all into natural treatments, which she would mention between telling me how I was doing all my exercises incorrectly. She would say “Well this is HOW I LEARNED they should be done.”
When I discovered that at the hospital you just got who was available, I also discovered you got their training and education. Each physical therapist thought nothing of bad mouthing their fellow physical therapist. I would learn one exercise one way, only to be told that was “Not how I do it with my patients.” the next visit.
I finally gave up.
I have since gone back, at the suggestion of another doctor. I complained to this heart doctor, the best known in the area, that I need consistency to do well. The heart doctor told me “I’ve heard this from other patients. There is one physical therapist here in Brattleboro that works alone. I’ll call him and see if he knows anyone in Keene that would work with you.”
Sadly, there was no one he could find.
I gave it a second go, and felt the first physical therapist I saw was good. He did give me perhaps too many exercises, and also did not take into account my EDS, which caused me much pain during the exercises. Still, I was going in twice a week and I was sure we could figure out exercises that would work well. We just needed to modify what he had given me.
Second visit I got someone else.
They couldn’t even schedule the same person long enough to establish any kind of routine.
Second person I will call “Busy woman”. She was a few minutes late, as in ten minutes late. She marked something in her hands, but I’m betting she didn’t put down that she was late.
Then, it was “oh look at ALL THE EXERCISES! There are far more than I would have given you!”
I explained one I could not do at all. It was very painful. Very painful. Busy woman told me “I never give this exercise to anyone. I can’t even figure out how to do it.”
Then we tried to figure out how to do it. We just laid on two benches and worked on it and gave up. By this point I was in real pain. But I also explained my knees really hurt with some of the exercises. Busy woman was “Let’s try them using a ball!”
So we moved to another area and tried an exercise ball. Rather I tried one and was happy. I wasn’t sure where to purchase one, but I was happy with the ball. Busy woman was happy talking to another physical therapist that was walking on a treadmill as it was raining outside. I got to hear all about the children of both women. I got to hear about how one woman wished she could only work 4 days a week. They have a lovely conversation.
Finally she looked at me and said “So that’s it? Anything else?”
I was ready to go, as in go for good.
So I left EARLY, because she was “Well if there is nothing else, let’s call it a day!”
Now, my insurance was paying hundreds of dollars for this person to give me a half hour of her time. I felt slighted. I also felt she was not really worried that I was still being asked to do an exercise that caused me great pain that she never gave anyone to do.
I learned, that I needed a ball, but was not sure what size or kind of ball to purchase. I guess it’s pretty easy to purchase a ball but I wasn’t sure, I did have questions. Being told “Go to any store, or try online!” was not helpful.
I cancelled my physical therapy as I was told by another specialist I see, “Yep, there is no way they will give you the same physical therapist each visit. It’s a matter of economics. To make money they have to have everyone working. It’s a matter of fitting you in, not fitting you with someone that you can work with.”
I need to see a physical therapist. I do some workouts via youtube. Very gentle ones
meant for people with severe arthritis, but I have some very specific pain. My insurance company is glad to pay for a physical therapist. I would adore seeing ONE physical therapist. Or perhaps two that don’t bad mouth each others exercises and techniques. But I was not doing the carousel of different therapists, each with their own style and training. Some continuity is called for if I’m going to be trying to follow a routine. I can’t keep changing my exercises over and over again.
The fist time I went to physical therapy, I filled out the brochure on how things went. I strongly suggested some attempt at getting all the therapists on the same page, or just as much as possible making a good fit with one or two good therapists.
The reason I gave them another try as that I had hopes. Not much hope as two specialists in the Keene/Brattleboro area were “Yep, we’ve heard that about them. I don’t know what to tell you.”
So what to do? Self PT is working a bit, but I’m hoping to save up so I could perhaps hire someone at the local YMCA to just gentle take me through some exercises. The insurance won’t pay for it, but to have just ONE PERSON, that will listen to me and not blame the physical therapist I saw last time, would make my life so much better.
Or if there were someone, like the physical therapist in Brattleboro, who has struck out on his own and is doing well as people LIKE having their medical professionals agree on a treatment. I don’t care if it’s even the wrong thing, as various physical therapists have indicated to me in Keene, just any kind of consistency would be lovely.
The physical therapy department is busy. The chairs are filled. They have helped many people. I’m sure they are all wonderful and it probably is not the choice of the physical therapists that they have no chance to really develop a relationship with their patients. I really hope the people that manage the physical therapy department are working on this issue.
But, I’m not going to spend money, hundreds of dollars per visit, on inconsistency and less than a full half hour visit. It’s not my money, but I’d love to pull one of the physical therapists aside and say “Look $50 for half an hour, my house, twice a week. Please!” Heck I’d even pay $100 a visit.
I want to do the work, in fact I’m doing the work the best I can on my own. But, educated help would be wonderful and really help my condition.
When I go to visit my one specialist, the one that ordered PT again for me, I’m going to explain why I’m not giving them a third try. I don’t mind seeing more than one physical therapist, but when they have NO consistency, no agreement on the best exercises or way to do each exercise, and when I am ignored, I can’t go. It’s not doing me any good.
I don’t expect that they will change anything as every chair was packed when I have gone to physical therapy. If it works, and it makes money, it’s all good for them. For me personally, I like the personal touch. That means one or two, but not a Russian roulette of therapists.
I’m just wondering is this a problem everywhere? Or just in Keene New Hampshire?