An unexpected blessing: My son has a physical therapist with hemophilia
How that medical connection is helping him benefit from therapeutic exercise
Imagine a bank account. When depositing money, the ideal is to have enough to cover expenses, bills, and some fun things. But when the withdrawals amount to more than the available money, there’s a crisis. At that point, using credit cards or applying for impossible-to-pay-back loans may become necessary.
The body is like a bank account. It can function well with deposits of self-care, exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction. In contrast, it’s easy to see loved ones whose bodies are like overdrawn bank accounts. They’ve piled on stressors and taken in too much food, alcohol, or drugs.
Yet when people are diagnosed with hemophilia or another chronic illness, their account may be overdrawn regardless of how they’re treating their body. It’s frustrating. Too often, people with bleeding disorders, despite trying to keep their bodies in shape, are at the mercy of their disease. Numerous bleeding episodes can cause severe damage to joints, which then requires medical interventions.
Physical therapy is a standard intervention to help patients regain movement in a damaged joint. My youngest son, Caeleb, has hemophilia; he’s 17 years old and has been in physical therapy numerous times since age 8. With severe damage to his right knee and ankle, he lives with chronic pain and limited movement, especially in his ankle.
While Caeleb has worked with numerous physical therapists, something unique happened at his new physical therapy center: For the first time, his physical therapist also has hemophilia.
“What? Your physical therapist has hemophilia?” I was stunned when Caeleb told me the news a few months ago. His therapist even has the same type and severity of the disease.
And now, greater progress
How is it possible that a physical therapist with hemophilia is caring for my son? We live 40 miles outside a major city, but of all the places in the world, a physical therapist with hemophilia is practicing in our small town. For the first time, Caeleb is connecting with his therapist, and that’s pushing him to follow through with his exercises. The range of motion in his ankle has improved, and he continues to work hard at each appointment. The progress has excited him.
I never dreamed my son would take these sessions so seriously. Apparently, he needed this therapist to realize his need for therapeutic exercise.
Not everyone with a bleeding disorder will be as fortunate as Caeleb. Many seem to think physical therapy is a waste of time. The results are not instantaneous, so many write off the process.
I’ve always been a proponent of physical therapy, but getting my teenager to understand its importance has always been a struggle. I’m so grateful for this fantastic therapist, who understands my son’s weaknesses and strengths. Caeleb is now thriving despite the setbacks he’s encountered along the way.
His bank account is full, and so is his mama’s heart.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.