Read the stories of some of our occupational therapy patients. If you have a story to share, please fill out our online form.
Lois Rodman, 66, was helping her granddaughter, Lily, with her math homework when suddenly she couldn’t make out what was written in the textbook. She looked at Lily and realized she wasn’t able to see the details of her face.
“My eyesight had been deteriorating since I was 43 years old,” remembered Lois. “My father had macular degeneration so there was a chance I’d develop it as well. When I could no longer see my granddaughter’s face, that was it. I knew I had to do something before I went blind.”
Lois’ daughter did some research and learned that her mother’s eyesight could be improved by having an intraocular microscopic telescope (IMT) implanted in the eye. This device improves vision in people with atrophic or “dry,” age-related macular degeneration.
When Diane was preparing for her New Year’s activities, the last thing she was thinking about was occupational therapy. But when walking up the stairs to her house, she slipped and fell, landing awkwardly on her left arm.
After a visit to the emergency department at UPMC Presbyterian, it was determined that the injury was much worse than it looked and she would need to have surgery to repair her broken left wrist. To make matters worse, Diane is left-handed and was about to return to work after the holiday vacation.
After a bad fall resulted in two broken wrists that required surgery, Adeline, 75, found herself at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services (CRS) in Oakland. She was referred there by her surgeon who recommended she have extensive hand, arm, and shoulder therapy. Adeline was confident in CRS because both her husband and granddaughter had positive experiences there.
When she started occupational therapy, Adeline’s casts had just been removed. Due to lack of movement, her arms felt weak and she was having difficulty with daily tasks, such as bathing and feeding herself, and cleaning her home.
“When I started therapy, they questioned how much movement I would be able to get back,” recalled Adeline. “My therapists were so patient with me. I’m no spring chicken, but they stuck with me and did such a wonderful job.”
When Kathy fell last October and fractured her humerus bone, the long bone between the shoulder and the elbow, she tried to keep her positive outlook.
“Being an optimist can sometimes be a drawback,” said Kathy. “We tend to get disappointed a lot.”
Kathy figured she would be back to normal within six to eight weeks but was shocked when her hand swelled to twice its normal size and remained that way. With swelling and arthritis setting in, Kathy was immobilized in her left quadrant for over two months.
Dan is a man on the move. With his work regularly taking him as far away as Hawaii, occupational therapy isn’t something that fits easily into his busy schedule. But when he severed tendons in his left index finger while trying to open a package with a knife, he found himself under the care of the UPMC Centers for Rehab Services team at the CRS Hand Clinic in Oakland.
“After my surgery to repair the damage, I was referred to Kim and the O.T. team at the CRS Hand Clinic in Oakland. They are literally walking distance from my office so it was very easy for me to fit in therapy sessions during the day,” said Dan.
Knowing how demanding his schedule was, the CRS team did everything they could to accommodate him and make sure he stayed on track.
On July 2, 2013, Nick had a terrible accident while on the job. Working as a machinist at a local company, his left hand got caught in a press and was amputated.
Nick was flown by Stat MedEvac to UPMC Presbyterian where surgeons from UPMC were able to reattach Nick's hand. But that was really just the beginning of the recovery process for Nick as he would need ongoing therapy to regain the use of his hand and heal.
Nick chose the UPMC Centers for Rehab Services Hand Therapy clinic in Oakland for his occupational therapy.