Occupational therapy gets Alton woman back on routine

Occupational therapist helps woman with exerciseWhat seemed like a routine morning for Mary Wendle – watering her flowers before she was off to work – did not go as planned when she tripped over her hose in the garden.

Mary reached her hand out to catch herself and landed on her left wrist. She instantly knew something wasn’t right.

She visited the Emergency Department at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony’s Health Center, where she was referred to surgeon Bruce T. Vest, Jr., MD.

Dr. Vest informed her that she had broken her radius and ulna. These breaks resulted in two things – a cast and occupational therapy (OT).

“I wasn’t sure what to expect because I have never experienced any broken bones before,” Mary said.

The occupational therapists worked with Mary on various exercises such as strength building, dexterity and sensation testing.

“The OTs were absolutely wonderful,” Mary said. “They worked with my schedule to ensure that I could make it to all my meetings.”

Mary is the manager of the Pharmacy Department at OSF Saint Anthony’s, so missing meetings was not an option for her.

Celebrating small successes

Thanks to the OT, Mary started seeing progress and regained strength back in her wrist. She celebrated small successes such as being able to put in earrings and playing the piano again.

“The key to success in occupational therapy is doing the exercises you are taught at home and not just at therapy,” she said. “That’s what really works.”

Although Mary was seeing improvements in her wrist, she started to develop shoulder pain from being in a brace.

Mary had developed “frozen shoulder” which is stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. This condition requires physical therapy in order to heal properly.

“You can imagine the frustration of hearing I would have to go through another round of therapy,” Mary said. “But OSF Rehabilitation made OT and PT a positive experience – I can’t sing their praises enough.”

Mary’s advice to patients going through outpatient rehabilitation: show up to your appointments, work hard and do your exercises at home and the staff will take care of the rest.