Working for years as a home care physical therapist can get monotonous at times. The energy required to be positive, empathetic, energetic and an agent of positive change in people’s lives can be difficult to summon and can be draining. I felt this way prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the course of a few days, my schedule went from hectically busy, seeing patients all day, to not having one patient on my schedule. Physical therapy is important, but in most cases it is not essential. You just can’t justify going into the homes of the frail elderly and potentially passing on a deadly virus to the most as risk population.
After several weeks of staying at home without seeing any patients, my sense of purpose started to wane. Being a therapist helping seniors in need gave me a sense of purpose. It was an integral part of me that was taken away. I began to realize again how blessed I was and what a privilege it was to be a therapist. I was frustrated because my purpose and my occupation had been taken away and I had no idea when the environment would be safe enough for me to return.
A few days later Dr. Zeleznik called and told me she had one patient for me. She said if I were to take this patient it must be my only patient. The risk of exposure of this patient to coronavirus must be as small as possible. Dr. Zeleznik asserted that I must wear a fresh mask and wash my hands for 20 seconds thoroughly each time I saw the patient. She said that this patient was in bad need of physical therapy because she was dangerously close to losing her ability to stand and walk. In this case in her professional opinion a minimal risk of exposure was acceptable. I was excited to take on this case and agreed to take it.
I arrived at the patient’s apartment building a few days later and was very careful to minimize any potential exposure. I had hand sanitizer in my pocket and I applied it to my hands before entering the building. I had a fresh clean mask on and washed my hands for 20 seconds thoroughly upon arrival. When I examined the patient she was very weak. She required a great deal of assistance to stand and was only able to walk a few feet even with my hands holding her up providing support. The patient was very nervous that she was losing her ability to stand and to walk and scared that she might not regain it.
I am happy to report that after a month of therapy the patient no longer requires me to hold her up to stand and to walk. She is able to stand and walk on her own! Her progress is very significant and continues to this day. It is a great feeling to be a positive agent of change. To do this is who I am!
pos·i·tive /ˈpäzədiv/ adjective
1. consisting in or characterized by the presence or possession of features or qualities rather than their absence.
2. constructive, optimistic, or confident.
1. a good, affirmative, or constructive quality or attribute.
Similar: constructive, practical, useful, pragmatic, productive, helpful, worthwhile, beneficial, effective, efficacious, optimistic, hopeful, confident, forward-looking, cheerful, sanguine, buoyant, assured, upbeat,
em·pa·thy /ˈempəTHē/ noun
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
en·er·get·ic /ˌenərˈjedik/ adjective
showing or involving great activity or vitality.
Similar: active, lively, dynamic, zestful, spirited, animated, vital, vibrant, sparkling, bouncy, bubbly, perky, bright and breezy, frisky, sprightly, tireless, indefatigable, enthusiastic, zealous, fiery, passionate, peppy, zippy, sparky, full of get-up-and-go, full of vim and vigor, full of beans, full of the joys of spring, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, go-go, peart