How did you choose this career path?
My mom worked as a career guidance counselor at school. And who knows you better than your mom? She thought physical therapy sounded interesting and started bringing me information about it. That got me thinking and I decided I wanted to be a PT before I even went to college.
Your specialty is vestibular rehabilitation therapy. Does it have special meaning to you?
A lot of people come in suffering from vertigo. Vestibular therapists help people with dizziness and balance disorders. My mother had terrible bouts of vertigo. She would be in bed for days on end. I also had it so I know how disturbing it can be – you can’t drive, you can’t work. I started researching it and found the PT treatment. Let me tell you, it works like a charm. All you have to do is come in and we can help.
Can you tell us a little about what a day in the life of a physical therapist is like?
I might start out with a hand patient then see somebody with neck pain or someone who just had knee surgery. It’s interesting that we get to see and treat a lot of different types of patients and conditions. Though it sounds like pieces and parts, you really have to know a lot about the human body and treat the patient as a whole to help them achieve a better quality of life.
Is there anything about your day that would surprise us?
(laughs) When Josh brings out the ping pong table and starts playing on his break!
What do you look forward to when you wake up?
I love seeing people make great progress and going from point A to B. So I think about the patients I’m going to see today and I get excited for them. I really like getting to know the people who come in.
Is that your favorite part of the job?
It’s so rewarding to see people become independent again: Seeing someone who was in pain or their function was limited and watching them get better and better, until they’re finally back to work and where they need to be. We spend a lot of time with our patients – more then their doctor does – so we develop personal relationships with them as they go through the PT process.
What’s the most challenging part of your work?
The most challenging part is getting people to realize there isn’t really a quick fix. I know; we all like instant gratification. But we want long-term success instead of just short-term relief. With physical therapy, patients have to take an active part in their own health and recovery. So we have to do a better job educating people about how to help themselves. Physical therapy will take time to address the underlying cause of injury. There will be some return visits and exercises to do at home. It does work! The ultimate result is freedom from pain and injury.
Do you have any tips for staying healthy?
You’ve got to take care of the body you have. Wear and tear is going to happen, but the worse shape you’re in, the more rapid that will be. It’s important to keep your muscles strong. When you’re in poor condition and you get an injury, it’s harder to come back. We’re seeing more people who have pain from poor posture or sitting at a desk, so stretching is a must. Pay attention to your posture!
So how do you stay active?
I walk on a treadmill but mostly I stay super active at home by working in the yard and spending time with my kids. One of my daughters does flowers with Jane Rogers. I become her floral assistant when needed. It’s good to change things up!
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long week?
I like to relax and watch movies on Netflix.
I know you’re a big football fan. Who’s your favorite team?
I’m a big Bulldog fan. My husband went to UGA. However, my children went to LSU. My son played football there so we traveled to all of their games. But now that he’s graduated, we’re back to UGA and love all college football.
What was your last splurge?
I bought a Roomba. I love it! He’s working away while I’m at work. Also, another treat is coming up: I’m going to Guatemala next week. My daughter and son-in-law are missionaries there.
You’re a LaGrange native… what’s the best thing about LaGrange?
The people are the best part of LaGrange. My second grade teacher was just in here yesterday. I like getting to see and help people in the community that I grew up with, but it’s funny how our roles have changed. They helped me growing up and now I get a chance to help them.