As an employee in the nursing and recreation departments of the Heinz Senior Rehab Unit for over four years, I’ve spent a lot of time on my feet. When my joints, particularly my knees and hips, showed signs of damage, I sought treatment and was diagnosed with Severe Degenerative Joint Disease. Besides being a husband and father of two young children, I am a martial arts instructor, so I worried about how much longer I could keep up with my practice, and teaching.
In 2009, a surgeon told me I would need a knee replacement, and the sooner I “get it over with,” the better. When I brought up my concerns about still practicing and teaching karate, he said it would depend on me and how my recovery goes. In May of 2009 my left knee was replaced.
Over the next few weeks, Allied Home Health nurses and therapists came to my home three days a week. It was hard but they encouraged me to keep trying and soon things would get easier.
When it was time to progress to outpatient therapy at Allied in Scranton, the first thing my therapist asked was what function I hoped to regain. While walking without a limp or walking up a flight a steps without having to do one at a time would have been great, my long term goal was to get back to my students and keep the karate school on pace. Fortunately, my first therapist was a martial artist as well, and understood just what I needed and just how to get me there. We started with flexibility and balance and progressed from there.
I went back to work in July 2009 and continued outpatient therapy at Heinz Rehab. Both in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, the therapists made it clear that my future training would come with limitations, but that I would be back to teaching my students quickly, and safely.
It’s been two years and while my techniques are limited to staying grounded and avoiding jump kicks, I’m thrilled to say I’m doing quite well. I owe it all to the reassurance and understanding I received from Allied’s very skilled therapists.