Sunday, February 14, 2010

Back in the Swim

Whilst my mother's shoulder, which she broke at the beginning of November, has been mending, she has had a physiotherapist visiting very frequently.

Usually it's been a young man who has taken time with her, chatted to her, admired the fact that she can lie down on the floor and leap to her feet like someone half her age (which is 85), demonstrated all the exercises and generally given her confidence.

He never made her any false promises - - he didn't suggested she'd be in the Olympic backstroke team any time soon, though, as I have mentioned before, she might have been once in the 1930s if Adolf Hitler hadn't dropped a bomb on the swimming pool where she lived.

But without giving any false reassurance, he gave her confidence, and she worked very hard on all the exercises, and her shoulder improved rapidly. In other words, he gave an excellent demonstration of all the good communication skills that healthcare professionals need.

Then, one day last week, a different physiotherapist came.

I was in our office and could see from the window that she was Mrs-Brisk-and-Efficient by the way she got out of the car. But I was busy and I just left her to visit Mum and went over later to see what had happened.

My mother was really upset. This new lady had greeted Mum with "Well, you know that shoulder's never going to recover, don't you?" She didn't demonstrate the exercises, just wrote them down. She didn't engage in any conversation and left as soon as she could.

Perhaps she was just having a bad day. But my mother certainly was, after she'd gone. Mum felt her whole attitude was "Why do you need the shoulder to GET any better, at your age?"

My mother was upset for the rest of the day and ended up feeling very demoralised and as though it wouldn't be worth doing all the exercises.

"I'm going to ring and complain," I said. I just won't let anything like that pass.

My mother brightened. "No," she said, "I'll do it."

And she did! She rang the next day and said she'd felt completely put down by this physiotherapist, and she said she didn't want to see her again.

So whether they'll send the previous one back again, or a different one, or whether they'll just put her in the "difficult old lady" bracket and not send her any physiotherapist at all, I don't know.

But meanwhile, she came swimming with me this morning. She was a bit nervous beforehand and mislaid her purse on the way there - - twice! Even though I said she didn't need it - she gets in free anyway.

But once she was in the water she was instantly at home. "I can do everything!" she said in delight. Breast stroke, front crawl and even the dreaded backstroke where I have to watch her like a hawk so she doesn't crash into the ends of the pool. She was swimming slowly, granted - - but she stayed in for nearly the whole hour, even though we'd arranged that if she wanted to get out early I'd either come with her or meet her in the cafe.

She got cold in the middle of it, went and stood in a hot shower for a while and came back in again. Every time she stopped swimming, I saw her chatting to someone, and she loved that too.

She's coming with me again tomorrow. That physiotherapist has a lot to learn.

7 Comments:

Anonymous ruth said...

Fantastic! Swimming has to be one of the best therapies around, such a mood enhancer as well as excellent physical exercise. I am really hoping my friend who I go swimming with will soon be up to going again otherwise I might just have to come all the way to Leeds to have a swim with you and your mum.

5:47 pm  
Blogger Jennyta said...

That's wonderful, Daphne. I'm so pleased your mum didn't let that awful woman put her off completely.

7:52 pm  
Blogger Diz said...

Hurrah for Joan on both counts!

8:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant news... but I hope your mother is slow enough to stay in the slow lane. I wouldn't like to hear she had strayed into shark infested waters and come off worst.
Verification: admatin - the admiration we have for people who go early morning swimming.
Lucy

10:49 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Even very grown up people need positive strokes and encouragement. Sounds like the first physio could teach others a thing or two. Surely getting better will only happen where a patient believes in their prospects for recovery.

1:09 am  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

Glad to learn that your mother made the second physiotherapist into somewhat of a liar.

I think you meant the 1940s, not the 1930s...the Second World War began on September 1, 1939. The blitz (Adolf Hitler's nasty bombing of Britain) occurred in 1940 and 1941. The 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled.

2:17 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Thank you, everyone - and Bob, I meant that she was training through the late thirties (she was born in 1924) and then when the war started, Barrow-in-Furness was heavily bombed because of the shipyards there. The swimming pool was not, I think, Hitler's main target!

4:32 pm  

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