Choice PT: Gracias (en Cubano)

Move to Live Your Resource to Moving Well and Living Life

Genoveva was having a hard time following her surgeries due to a reaction to the anesthesia. After her nausea and dizziness had subsided we were able to get her seated on the side of the bed, eventually standing and walking with a walker. Despite the fact that she wasn’t feeling great she was such a sweet lady, smiling, laughing and grateful for all our help. As was common on the rehab floor, when someone got up and walking for the first time after surgery the team of hospital doctors, nurses, physical therapists and anyone else in the hallway at the time would clap and cheer them on with words of encouragement. As we round her hospital room door entering the hallway, another patient a couple doors down is getting up for their first time as well. Just by chance more of the medical team is further down the hallway and sees the other patient walking out of their room and start cheering. Not three steps later Genoveva plops back into the wheelchair behind us, clearly frustrated. My spanish is no bueno, but I’m trying. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get her to crack a smile or get her motivated to rest a bit then continue walking. Shaking her head back and forth and motioning with her hand to go back to her room is all I’m getting. Ava is a member of Operation Walk Los Angeles, her and her husband Kyle own a Physical Therapy practice there. The LA team partnered up with our Albany team and we’d met about 72 hours earlier and gotten to know each other a bit during the course of our trip to this point. Ava happens to be walking down the hall right as we’re about to wheel Genoveva back into her room. She asks me how’s it going and I explain the situation how Genoveva was doing so good but seemed to get discouraged and I could’nt seem to get help her get motivated again. Ava’s spanish IS bueno. She kneels down and starts talking to Genoveva and her family members for about 45-60 seconds. Not, 10 seconds after their done talking, Genoveva pushes herself up from her wheelchair and we start charging down the hall while she’s pumping her fist in the air and yelling “Si! Si! Si!” GRACIAS (EN CUBANO) (continued from outside)

I’m not sure what Ava said but I look back with a big smile and Genoveva’s son is standing there crying and hugging Ava. We kept charging down the hallway for another 3-4 minutes before she sat down to rest again. Certain events tend to really put things in perspective. Here was a sweet woman who hadn’t been able to walk more than 2 minutes a week ago charging down the hallway less than 24 hours after having both hips replaced, cheering and pumping her fist. Ava, myself and most of the Operation Walk team were strangers four days ago and it was quite possible that none of us would see each other again. Despite all of that, everyone was working together to help one another to make sure each patient was able to get their best outcome. Whether in Troy, New York or Havana, Cuba I am proud to be a Physical Therapist and truly believe we have the best “job” in the world. Special thank you to everyone who was so supportive of Erin and I, before, during and after our trip. Attending fundraising events, stopping in the clinic to make a donation to Operation Walk Albany, donating crutches/ walkers/canes, and just generally being interested in our trip.

Thank you so much for your generosity and support! Joe

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