Patient to Pivotal Peep

Author: Anita Wong

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In December 2010, I had the disastrous experience of breaking my lateral malleolus (that big bone on the outside of your ankle).  I was on my way to school, slipped on ice, hit a curb and just like that I had a painful six weeks ahead of me.  Two days after my embarrassing incident, I went in for surgery and had a plate inserted to hold my ankle in place.  I never appreciated walking so much, until I couldn’t. Simple things like grabbing snacks to watch your favorite TV show suddenly became extremely difficult. However, being unable to grab snacks wasn’t the most frustrating part.  Not being able to run, snowboard or play basketball made me a pretty miserable person for six weeks.  Little did I know, this slip helped my life fall into place.

Above is my ankle prior to having my staples removed. This is also the same day I started my physiotherapy treatment

After my four-week check up with my surgeon, I was referred for some physiotherapy. I walked into my first physio appointment not knowing what to expect. Like most going into the unknown, I was a little apprehensive but the staff were so warm and welcoming that my anxiety was put to ease. My physiotherapist was Lindsay. During my assessment Lindsay had asked me what activities I enjoyed doing and he assured me that I would be back to those activities in no time.

Not exactly sure what I’m doing in this picture, but clearly going to physio put me in a better mood. =)

I’ve always known that exercising is important for ones well-being. However, this really came to light after attending physio regularly and doing the exercises prescribed to me to do at home. Two weeks into my physio treatments I was no longer required to wear my air boot and a week after that, my crutches were not an essential part of my mobility. Being freed from my air boot and crutches was a pretty liberating feeling. As exciting as it was to be able to walk again, I still had a long road ahead of me before I could return to my favorite activities.

Many people come into physio expecting a “ quick fix” to the pain their body is feeling. Unfortunately, the reality is there is no quick fix, only hard work, determination and listening to your Physiotherapist.  With that being said, after three months of blood, sweat and tears- okay maybe I’m being a little melodramatic but, the point is, after attending physio and putting in some hard work I was able to run, jump and do all sorts of crazy things again.

Ironically, during the time of my physio treatments I was in the Physical Therapy Assistant diploma program at Norquest College. Everything I was learning in class went hand in hand with what I was doing at physio, talk about good timing. Speaking of good timing, I was also looking for work experience at a physiotherapy clinic. Lindsay had mentioned that their clinic was hiring.  So when I arrived for my next appointment I handed Stacey my resume and the rest, as they say, was history.

Stacey, Cathy and I at the 2012 Corporate Hip Hop Challenge. They went from people who would check me in, and bring me hot packs to co-workers and friends.

Experiencing surgery and the physio process first hand I am able to relate to the patients on another level.  I have been working for Pivotal Physiotherapy for over a year.  As someone who is constantly getting injured, working at a physio clinic definitely has its benefits. Working at Pivotal I have learned so much and have gained a better understanding of all the aspects of physiotherapy. I’ve always been sure that I wanted to pursue a career in Athletic Therapy or Physiotherapy and working at Pivotal, my aspirations have been solidified.  I am now currently at the University of Alberta finishing my Bachelor in Physical Education & Recreation with plans to apply to Physiotherapy or Athletic Therapy (of course all the Physiotherapists at Pivotal are encouraging me to pursue Physiotherapy, a little biased? I think so.)   Who knew, walking into the clinic crutches and all, would become one of the most pivotal moments of my life.

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