Patient Experience

Bouncing Back From a Fall

How a retiree who sustained two compression fractures at the T8 vertebrae location regained her independence.

My name is Phyllis Hatch. I am 86 years old, retired, and living in Sarasota, Florida with my husband, Ray. We’ve been married for 66 years.

My story begins on January 10, 2014. I had gotten up during the night to go to the kitchen and take some medication. It was dark, but a nightlight was turned on. I don’t recall what happened, exactly, but before I knew it, I was lying on the ceramic tile floor of my kitchen, having hit my head on the table as I fell. I sustained two compression fractures at the T8 vertebrae location in my back from that fall. Then, later this year in April, I fell again coming out of the dentist’s office. At my age, my doctor felt surgery to repair the spinal fractures was not a good risk.

Prior to that first fall, I maintained a very active lifestyle. I should mention that my husband, Ray, had polio at the age of 16 and has a full leg brace on his left leg running from his hip down into his shoe. Because of this, I do a great many things around the house and outside in our yard that most wives don’t normally do. I’m accustomed to being an active person and before retiring, I worked for 27 years for the Department of Labor in New York. Once we moved to Sarasota, I worked for an insurance agency.

We have two sons and one of them is a truck driver. He is regularly on the road for 30-40 days and returns with large loads of laundry that I normally wash for him. I also take care of his business accounting. We live in a wonderful neighborhood and enjoy many activities with our friends. I’m not a big television or computer person, preferring to be outside in my yard or being active with our friends.

So, as you can imagine, the accident that injured my back changed the tenor of our lives completely. After the first fall in January, I had nurses come to my house to help me. After the second fall in April, I went to FYZICAL for 8 weeks of physical therapy.

There were so many things I found exceptional about FYZICAL. Part of the therapy sessions had me in a support harness that is attached to the ceiling while I walked. It kept me from falling while I was engaging in the physical therapy exercises and gave me a strong sense of security. It felt great to be able to walk without the fear of falling, so I was able to fully focus and put all my energy into the sessions. I also did work lying on my back and using a therapy ball to strengthen my core muscles, doing leg exercises and moving from side to side.

I also have two pages of printed exercises and instructions that I use at home. I do them every other day right now, splitting them into two sessions where I do one page in the morning and the second page in the late afternoon. I don’t have a bench at home like they have at the FYZICAL clinic, so I do the lying down exercises on my bed. I am finding that this is building up my strength and endurance.

My experiences with FYZICAL have been wonderful and productive. The staff is exceptional. I cannot say enough about the warmth and care they offer to every single patient. If a physical therapist is between patients and they see you doing your session, they always take time to come over and chat and ask about your progress. A woman I know who works at our local Publix grocery store in the flower department recently fell and broke her arm, and she is going through physical therapy with FYZICAL. My husband has also been to see FYZICAL after breaking his leg, and has had equally positive experiences with his therapy sessions. I think the world of the people at FYZICAL.

I have learned new ways of managing my balance from FYZICAL, and I am finally getting back to some of my pre-fall activities. For example, I was able to vacuum my house this week for the first time since that first fall in January, and it felt good to know I have regained enough strength to accomplish some small household chores. I am confident that my physical therapy is improving my overall health and sense of balance.

My parting gift to the whole crew at FYZICAL was a big bag of those Hershey’s miniature candy bars. I wanted to do something fun to show them my appreciation for the care they’ve given me. As a result of my physical therapy, I am happy to say that I am regaining a lot of my independence.

FYZICAL has become one of the leaders in fall prevention and balance therapy.

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