Our patients become family at Fremont Therapy Group

    Judy Carpenter

    In honor of National Physical Therapy Month, we want to highlight some of our treasured patients and share their inspiring stories of triumph over injury and moving on to a healthier lifestyle of mobility.

    Today we are spotlighting our patient Judy Carpenter. After losing her right leg due to complications with Peripheral Vascular Disease and then losing her husband, she said Fremont Therapy Group became her family. We recently sat down with Judy to hear about her experience.

    Did you know what to expect when you began physical therapy?

    “I had been to Fremont Therapy Group in the past. But, when I found out I was going to lose my leg I called around to find a therapist who had worked with prosthetics before. Tom was at the top of the list. I was thankful to be able to come back to Fremont Therapy Group. I didn’t know what Tom was going to do but I knew it would help… knew it would have to help.”

    Judy was in immense pain prior to losing her right leg. When we asked her if she was surprised to hear that they were going to have to take it off, she replied, “Oh, I told them to take it off now! I couldn’t handle the pain another day. I was done.” She said once they removed the leg most of her pain went with it. She still had phantom pain, but nothing like she was experiencing before.

    How did PT help you physically?

    Judy laughs… “It’s amazing. When I first got my leg, I had to hold on to both bars. Had a hard time even standing. Couldn’t take a step or anything. My confidence has come a long way. There are still a lot of things that scare me. Things I worry about… but Tom is excellent and doesn’t let me get down emotionally. He helps push me to learn the things that I wouldn’t if I didn’t have Tom or therapy. I don’t want to sit around in a wheelchair.” Judy starts to tear up and takes a minute to collect herself.

    “He makes me feel like I can do it. Makes me feel more confident. He encourages you to do it that you wouldn’t regularly do on your own. And I need that.”

    On the day we interviewed Judy she walked on a sloped sidewalk for the first time. She said she was scared, but Tom was by her side encouraging her and that helped. “I wouldn’t have done it by myself. There is no way.”

    How did PT help you in other areas of your life?

    Judy said it gives her a better outlook on everything. She had been coming to Tom to strengthen and prepare for her prosthetic. By her side was her husband, Charlie. He never missed an appointment. Judy received her prosthetic on March 16th. Her husband passed a week later on March 23rd. He came with her to her Monday and Wednesday appointments and watched her stand and take a step for the first time with the prosthetic. Then, on Friday he passed in his sleep.

    Judy and Charlie had been married for 46 years. They met in Thermopolis and spent a wonderful life together. Judy’s goal was to walk at his memorial. She told her son, “I won’t go to the memorial sitting in a wheelchair.” And true to her word, she was walking at the memorial.

    What were your favorite aspects of your PT experience?

    She said the team at FTG helps bring her up. “I would be sitting at home alone if it wasn’t for my appointments. Everyone treats me like I’m family. I love having people to talk to. I love hearing Courtney singing. She’s a sweetheart. They all make me feel comfortable. They’re my family.”

    Judy’s son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Christie, live in Colorado. She gets to visit them, and her grandchildren, Taylor and Aiden, whenever she goes to appointments for her prosthetic. Having people to talk to in Lander is very important to her.

    Favorite exercise? Least Favorite?

    This question made Judy chuckle. “I’m just happy to walk. Sometimes it’s hard, but I push myself. And I can tell Tom when it’s hard and I can’t do it. Then we go to the bars and do balance. He helps to push me further and further. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be able to do it, I know that.” As for least favorite exercises… “Not really. I like the idea it’s helping me strengthen. Some days I come in and I hurt bad enough… but I still push through. I know he’s making me do this for a reason. It doesn’t mean I like them. But I do them all.”

    What advice would you give future patients?

    “Come to Fremont! I recommend Fremont anytime for everything. I’ve watched many people come through treatment while I ride the bike.” She said it’s amazing to see all of the different things the staff can treat.

    Judy is one of those patients who changes your perspective on how to live life. She is an advocate for her care and independence. After losing her leg and then her husband, she called one of her doctors to find out how she could drive a car. She obtained a left-footed petal and drives herself to and from her appointments most days. She attributes the staff at FTG for keeping her spirits up, but she does the same for us. And she definitely helps put into perspective how important it is to fight for things in this life. Especially our health. Thank you, Judy, from all of us at FTG.

    Physical Therapy is a unique part of the health care system. It not only changes lives (just ask those recovering from an injury, illness, addiction to pain meds, or those with chronic pain) but it gives us the chance to become very “attached” to our patients. Often times, when seeking medical care, you see the doctor one time every few months or even once per year. With physical therapy, patients are often prescribed multiple visits per week for a month or more. Because of this frequency, we build true relationships–we all absolutely love the see patients progress and learn about their struggles and successes.

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