Healthy Halifax Fall 2018: A growth experience

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A Growth Experience

Patient returns to beloved garden thanks to outpatient therapy

Ask Roanoke Rapids resident Barbara Kirby about her hobbies, and you’ll likely hear a reply along the lines of the following: “Oh, if you could see my yard!”

Kirby, 63, finds great joy in tending to her flower garden and sharing that joy with neighbors who stop by to compliment her on her creations.

“I’m like a child [out in my yard]; I can go out from when it’s light and stay out until it’s time to go in,” she remarks.

But her infectious enthusiasm dimmed a bit in 2006 when the 10-mile-a-day jogger started experiencing arthritic knee pain. After having the meniscus — the cartilage buffer between the thighbone and shinbone — in her right knee repaired in 2008, she eventually underwent a total of three meniscus repairs on her right knee and one on her left knee. She also received injections for pain, which kept her pain under control for several years. Finally, early in 2018 Kirby underwent total replacement of her right knee.

To help her return to her active life, she was referred to Halifax Regional Therapy Services. Kirby was relieved to find high-quality physical rehabilitation available without having to leave the area. “I can’t praise them enough,” she says. “The staff stayed right with me during the sessions and had such personality they made me want to do what I was supposed to do.”

Kirby underwent four weeks of three one-hour physical therapy sessions per week, which she completed in February. She was unable to complete the first therapy session due to pain and swelling that suggested a possible deep vein thrombosis (DVT) blood clot. After the DVT was ruled out, she returned to therapy and completed her regimen.

“One of the joys of my job is helping people like Barbara,” says Debra Houser, a physical therapy assistant who helped Kirby. “We cry, laugh, hug and rejoice in getting them back to the life they love.”

Kirby, who is satisfied with the outcome of the therapy, is thrilled to be back to work in her yard, which she mows with a push mower.

“I want people to know we have a wonderful physical therapy department at Halifax Regional, and that they don’t have to go out of town [for it],” she says.

Comprehensive Therapy Services

Halifax Regional Therapy Services (HRTS) offers a comprehensive line of therapy treatments, including physical therapy to increase strength and mobility, improve balance and decrease pain; occupational therapy to help patients manage daily activities such as bathing, dressing and feeding; and speech therapy to regain or improve the ability to speak with ease and clarity, and evaluate and treat swallowing difficulties.

HRTS’ caring staff offers individualized outpatient treatment programs with continual reassessment. It’s the department’s goal to improve daily functioning and physical conditioning while expediting the recovery process. Physical, occupational and speech therapy help patients address a variety of conditions including but not limited to the following:

  Lumbar and cervical spine pain/injuries

 Joint replacement or knee, hip or shoulder surgery

  Stroke, Parkinson’s and other neurologic disorders

  General weakness following prolonged illness or hospitalization

  Sports injuries

  Strains and sprains

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