No twisting in the kitchen: A story of rehab and recovery

jeanettaJeanetta Vickers

Jeanetta Vickers arrived at the Baycrest hospital in a wheelchair after hip replacement surgery in October. She graduated to a walker and was able to go home 2 ½ weeks later – ready and willing to climb stairs again and well versed in the do’s and don’ts of a proper recuperation.

“The quality of care was great,” she said, singing the praises of her physiotherapist and occupational therapist in the Sydney and Florence Cooper Rehabilitation Unit.

Vickers, 84, loves to cook and her occupational therapist even took her into the kitchen to observe her movements. Instead of just going through the motions, she actually made crepes, a frittata and scones during her treatment.

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All the while, she was cautioned to use a special “reacher” to pick up items that were out of range. She went to close the oven door, and was told not to move a certain way.

“Even when you turn, you mustn’t twist,” Vickers recalled. “I was throwing something in the garbage and they said ‘you must move your whole body.’”

The experience was all the more welcome because after her surgery in another Toronto hospital, Vickers was initially going to be discharged straight home without any time in rehabilitation.

“I was upset because I have 20 steps to get to my apartment, and they also said you need someone with you for three days,” she said.

Vickers had been given a list of retirement homes where she could convalesce for two weeks, but this was going to cost upwards of $2,100, she said.

Fortunately, someone recognized her predicament and she was able to receive treatment as an inpatient at Baycrest.

As Vickers was making the transition from wheelchair to walker, an assistant was always behind her with a chair in case she had to sit down in a hurry.

Vickers was also impressed by an occupational therapist that was compassionate in dealing with a patient who was crying. The woman was gently encouraged and gradually took more steps and became mobile.

During her stay, Vickers enjoyed a visit to the Donald and Elaine Rafelman Creative Arts Studio, where she made pottery. She said the setup is “fabulous,” especially for people at a big table where they can socialize as they make their creations.

Overall, Vickers said she was “very fortunate” to be able to get back on her feet at Baycrest.