2005-11-25 / Columnists

Eye On Physical Therapy

By Dr. Tim Rohrs, DPT


While working one on one with patients, the time I spend may be filled with conversation or complete silence. Some patients like to do a lot of talking while others let me ramble on.

A recent conversation with a patient made me stop and think. She began to tell me about her quadruple bypass surgery 15 years ago. She was experiencing tightness in her chest while in therapy for her knees and was on the bicycle.

After another visit with the same symptoms she called the cardiologist. She had the standard tests and they came out fine.

She went for a further workup with a stress test and was immediately admitted and the angioplasty team went to work.

Her father had died at the age of 44 and had numerous other relatives who succumbed to cardiac incidents.

This was the third time she had told me this story. Although elderly, this patient had always been alert and oriented and didn’t repeat other stories. While listening to her my mind wandered (sorry) to other things.

My cousin, who is 2 years older than I, just had angioplasty a few months ago. My other cousin died almost 4 years ago at the age of 38. Why the repeated story from this patient? Was this idle chit chat or something more? I concluded that this topic was meant for me, whether the patient was conscious of it or not. Someone or some higher power may be trying to get a message to me. Perhaps reaching 40 years old it was time for me to stop treating my body like it was 18 and start taking care of it.

I believe there are certain people that show up in our lives that are meant to deliver a message or teach us. Today there are no more burning bushes or thunderous booming voices from above. No lightening or thunder to get our attention. We have to listen carefully and be receptive because the bearer of the message may just be a sweet 85-year-old woman who repeats herself.

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