Massage Therapist, Motorcyclist and Rehabilitation Patient
“I am truly grateful for the good team and all the support that I received. My therapists and therapy assistants were awesome, the whole kit and caboodle. Would I recommend them? You betcha!”
Hand Rehabilitation Puts Masseuse Back in Business
Jennifer Williams was riding her motorcycle, enjoying a beautiful autumn day in the western part of the state, when a gust of wind nudged her front tire onto grass at the side of the road. “I barely touched the grass,” she said, “but the bike jerked and away I went.”
She broke five ribs, her pelvis and her tailbone, and her right hand suffered what is called a “boxer’s break,” the fracture of several bones in the little finger.
“The bones in my pinkie were shattered,” said Jennifer. A retired teacher who has been a massage therapist for 12 years, she is also an avid quilter, loves to garden … and is right handed. “I knew that in time the pelvic break and my ribs would mend, but I wondered if I was going to have 100 percent use of my hand. It was a big concern for me.”
After her injuries were stabilized at a trauma center, Jennifer went back home to Harrison. A week after the accident, she began occupational therapy and physical therapy, first at home with therapists from MidMichigan Home Care, then at Rehabilitation Services at MidMichigan Medical Offices–Clare.
Her Team Was Ready to Help
First, Jennifer learned to dress, eat, bathe, transfer between her bed and her wheelchair, and eventually use a walker. Physical therapy at home also laid the foundation for rebuilding her strength and flexibility.
“I just can’t say enough good stuff about my home care therapists,” she said. “They helped me learn to do things independently until I was able to get myself to and from my medical and therapy appointments.”
Orthopaedic Surgeon James Ware, D.O., provided follow-up care for Jennifer’s broken ribs, tailbone and pelvis. To repair her finger, he recommended General Surgeon Curtis Young, M.D., whose board certification includes added qualifications in surgery of the hand. Dr. Young performed the surgery at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland about two weeks after the accident.
Finally able to travel by herself, Jennifer began going to Clare for physical therapy and aquatic therapy in the facility’s heated pool to restore strength and mobility in her back, and also participated in occupational therapy for her hand.
“Everyone worked together as a really good team,” she said. Her therapists were creative problem-solvers, eager to help her do her best. “For the routine I did at home, they were ready to change or substitute exercises I didn’t like,” she said. “It was up to me to do the exercises and get healthy, but they made it more appealing.”
Flexible scheduling was also important. Jennifer wanted to give all her strength to therapy, but she had a 30-minute drive to Clare. “My goal was to return to 100 percent of my physical strength and flexibility, so my therapists pushed me and I pushed myself,” she said. “The staff worked things out so that I never had to make a second trip the same day or stay from 10 in the morning until two in the afternoon.”
Returning to Normal
To strengthen and flex to her hand, Jennifer’s therapist had her exercise with a ball and rubber bands, and work at touching her pinky and index finger to her thumb. She also worked with putty using movements similar to those she would need to use in massage.
After six months of rehabilitation, Jennifer said flexibility in her hand was nearly normal. She still worked at stretching her baby finger and ring finger out straight, continuing to use all the techniques her occupational therapist taught her. She said her strength was back to about 95 percent, and expected to be at full strength within about a year.
“I am truly grateful for the good team and all the support that I received from MidMichigan Home Care and MidMichigan Rehabilitation Services in Clare,” Jennifer said. “My therapists and therapy assistants were awesome – the whole kit and caboodle. Would I recommend them? You betcha!”
MidMichigan offers comprehensive rehabilitation services designed for all patients. For more information, visit our Rehabilitation Services page or call Rehabilitation Services at MidMichigan Medical Center-Clare at (989) 802-5250.