Finding Freedom, Virginia’s Patient Spotlight

“You think I’m going to come to the lake and not try to catch a few fish?”

This was the first thing I heard Lenny say when I arrived at Cross Creek Lake a few weeks ago. Lenny was unloading some kayaks from his truck and grabbed his fishing pole to take along with him on the journey.

We were at the lake for one main reason, Virginia. Virginia is a patient at WPT who came in with a knee replacement and a few concerns at the beginning of her journey.

“When I found out I needed a knee replacement, the first thing that ran through my mind was that I am young. Is this something I really need? Is this going to benefit me? Is it going to work? These were all very real fears because I’ve never had a joint replacement. There was a lot of anxiety.”

A good amount of positivity can accompany a physical therapy journey. There is optimism, high hopes, and determination-turned-triumph. However, what can often be overlooked in a typical PT setting is the fear a patient may bring into their treatment; but WPT is not a typical PT setting. Understanding every aspect of how a patient is feeling better informs our decisions in how we go about treatment. Having a holistic idea of patient health is crucial to recovery, so Virginia’s concerns were met with compassion, not apathy.

During an initial evaluation, our physical therapists make sure to understand our patients goals for physical therapy. Goals can range from big to small, but it is important to understand them because it helps our PTs decide the best course of action to help our patients regain their freedom to move. In Virginia’s case, her main goal was to get back in a Kayak, unassisted.

In order to achieve this goal, we had to break down the motions. Lowering yourself into a kayak, pushing off, rowing, and getting out of a kayak are all motions that need a good amount of strength and coordination.

These actives, in conjunction with an abundance of other physical therapy techniques, assisted in Virginia’s ability to move freely. However, her goal was not to do exercises in a PT gym, her goal was to Kayak. So once Virginia’s strength was where it needed to be, it was time for the next phase of her PT journey and that is what brought us to Cross Creek Lake on Tuesday, 8/9.

Virginia arrived a few minutes after we got there and was as happy as can be. She was cracking jokes and enjoying her time during the set-up process. Before I could even get my camera out to snap some photos, Virginia had already lowered into the Kayak and was off onto the lake. This was the first time in a long while that Virginia had been on the water and her face said it all, she was smiling ear to ear. It was amazing to watch her float freely among the water, knowing that her goal had been achieved, Virginia was in her Kayak.

Today (about 2 weeks after our lake outing), I was chatting with Virginia and she told me that she has to get her other knee replaced. But this time she said she feels no anxiety. She is confident she’ll have a fast and successful recovery.

Virginia has a biking and Kayaking trip next spring and she is super excited for it.

“That is whats next. Thanks to you guys I got into my kayak and I’ll be back on my bike and getting back in shape”

Virginia’s story is an inspiration to us all at WPT and we are so proud of the journey she has been on and the accomplishments that she has achieved.