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First Day of PT

Last Friday was my first day of formal PT (physical therapy). Since I lived too far from the nearest VA facility that offered this service, the VA gave me the option of finding a provider closer to my home.

After extensive research, I kept hearing one name: Sue. She worked at a hospital that was only a few miles from my home and, by coincidence, one where I re-jabbed after having both shoulder and knee replacements over the past several years.

I submitted my request to have Sue oversee my therapy and the VA approved it almost immediately.

My first appointment

I went into my first appointment wondering what would happen and was pleasantly surprised that Sue spent the first hour getting to know me and understanding where I was in the Parkinson’s spectrum. We did some exercises and measurements and determined that my most pressing problems were upper body strength and balance.

The balance tests were interesting. Basically, I stumbled around like an inebriated sailor, especially when I had to move my eyes left and right as I walked. Balancing on one leg with my eyes closed was also a complete disaster; I swayed from side to side like a suspension bridge in a hurricane.

By the end of the session, I was pretty humbled by my poor performance, but Sue reassured me that my performance wasn’t unusually dismal.

Creating a plan

We went over a physical therapy plan that we will start next week to begin addressing my problem areas and she reassured me that I wasn’t a lost cause.

All in all, I found the experience, while somewhat humbling, to be positive and pleasant. I’m looking forward to the coming sessions with such a positive outlook that I’ve decided to hold off selling my beloved motorcycle in hopes that my balance might improve enough that I can ride it again.

Sue was great, positive in her approach but candid about my goals and expectations. She also surprised me when she let on that she had checked the notes from my previous re-habs and was aware of my propensity for over-doing things. She made it clear that my “no pain; no gain” approach wasn’t going to work and she’d be watching me closely.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to Monday’s session with Sue and her team.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Donna1947
    2 years ago

    David Stone: I’m not sure if you read my comments a while back crediting you for enlightening us with your story about PD and Vietnam service/herbicide connection. As I mentioned my 72 year old husband was diagnosed with early stage PD by a Neurologist and he has his first appointment at the VA for an exam in a couple of weeks. We look forward to this exam and going forward with the steps for finalizing his claim. Thank you and this forum!

  • Chris H. moderator
    2 years ago

    That’s great, @donna1947! Keep us updated. – Chris, Team

  • Chris H. moderator
    2 years ago

    This is great, @davidstone! Sue seems like she’s fantastic. I’m so glad you found physical therapy to be positive. I hope it continues going well for you. Please keep us updated on your progress! – Chris, Team Member

  • DavidStone author
    2 years ago

    Had second session on Monday and felt like I’d done better, especially with the balance exercises. I’m actually beginning to think seriously about hanging on to my classic V-4 Honda Magnum in hopes of one day riding it again.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s session and have been repeating the exercises at home.

    My wife forwarded an article she found on the Internet about a PD specific app available through a well-known fruit company that interfaces with their smart watch to track PD specific performance metrics (ex: balance issues and tremors).

    Has anyone tried this and, if so, was it helpful?

    Ordered a special collar to use while walking Winston the Wonder Dog (brindle in color and part pit bull, part chow). Winston is not the ideal walking partner as he is extremly protective and presents aggressively whenever approached by someone he perceives to be a threat (another dog or an unknown person).

    The collar isn’t a choker, but does provide positive control without pain or choking.

    Figure if I’m going to walk, he should too. Besides, he is good company. He agrees with everything I say and never argues back. I’ve already begun saving plastic bags.

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