Nancy Hilliard is a speech language pathologist who lives in Scotrun, PA. She has cerebral palsy, which was caused when she was dropped at birth. Her mother discovered it only after she began to crawl on her right shoulder when she was nine months old. As a child, Nancy was treated at Shriner’s Hospital, where she had the first of many operations designed to give her more function on her right side. She usually traveled to Allentown, thinking that she couldn’t find the care she needed in NEPA.
Many years later, Nancy developed bunions on her cerebral palsy foot. Because she had such a good podiatrist that she trusted, she asked him for advice on her hand as well. He advised her to work on the muscle tone in her arm before working on her hand. She began to go for physical therapy at Allied Services in Scotrun. She made great progress there. Diana Pope-Albright, a physical therapist who is Assistant Vice President in the Scranton outpatient clinic, substituted for a therapist in Scotrun who was out. She suggested that Nancy begin treatment in Scranton, where Allied has much more high-tech equipment.
Knowing that Nancy’s insurance only covered physical therapy and not occupational therapy, Diana learned to use the machines most often used by occupational therapists and treated Nancy with them. When she went as far as she could in PT, Nancy became a private pay OT patient. She now comes to Scranton once a week to work with Iris Lovallo, and uses machines such as the BTE, the EMPI, and the Bioness, which she learned about watching a stroke victim on Good Morning America.
In the two years since coming to Scranton, Nancy has made great progress. What may seem like little things to a well person are amazing feats for her. She can now pick up, open, and hold a can. She can turn the spigots on a faucet. She can turn doorknobs, which means a lot to her since she once broke her wrist trying to get out of a locked bathroom. She can turn on the ignition in both of her cars. She can hold and control her pruner to prune her garden. She can use both of her hands at once!
“I recently took a birdwatching trip to the rainforest in South America,” says Nancy. “I was able to grasp the ropes on the hanging bridge and walk across!”