Thursday, August 14, 2008
It was January 29, 2007 and I was tearing down the backside of Mt. Samoens in France, determined not to let the pack of skiers I was with get ahead of me. This was the first trip I had taken since purchasing my new snowboard, and man was it a fast ride. The only downer on the whole trip so far was the conditions on the mountain. Very spotty coverage and a bit icy…but not bad enough to keep us inside. I was inching ahead of the skiers in our group and already thinking about how good it would be later that evening to remind all of them that they had been righteously challenged that day by the lowest of ski-resort life forms…the dreaded snowboarder. About that time a patch of ice appeared in front of me and, caught off guard, I went down hard. Hard enough, as was later determined, to break and separate my right shoulder. The trip back to the good old USA was a tough one as the French doctors I saw after the accident placed me in what can only be described as an modern-day Iron Maiden torture device. Difficult to manage even the least complex tasks during the day, the thing was a bloody nightmare to try and sleep in. Nonetheless, I went straight to an orthopedic clinic upon my return and was scheduled for surgery soon after. The surgeon did an absolutely fantastic job of putting the shoulder back together again. Before the procedure, all of my torn-away upper arm muscles were bunched together and resting in a large lump near my elbow. Post surgery everything was sewn, hammered, and otherwise tweaked and twisted back to their original locations within the shoulder, but I had a huge problem…the shoulder and arm were pretty much frozen in place. To my untrained eye, it looked like rigor mortis had already set in and I was going to be stuck with a mostly useless appendage for the rest of my life! Although some initial physical therapy at the clinic showed a bit of progress, I was still very concerned about ever getting full use of the shoulder again. That's about the time I moved to James Island, and a friend back in VA had recommended a local Physical Therapist at the Archdale Medical Center, Marci White, as someone I might want to go see. During my first few sessions with her, I won't forget her reactions, which included a number of "Good Lords" and other such utterances, as she realized just how much work there was ahead of us. To her credit, and to my everlasting gratefulness, Marci never once gave up, or indicated that I was as good as I was ever going to get, or other such nonsense. There was too much else I wanted to do and to experience…and I truly believe Marci was sensitive to that and did not ever even think of giving up or stopping short of a full recovery. There were many times when she bent herself into unnatural angles and worked up a pronounced sweat to give me the right treatments that would help the most. She also did a fantastic job of staying in touch with my doctor at the sports medicine clinic to ensure timely progress reports were consistently delivered. Under her care, in just a few short months the shoulder was virtually pain free and ready for more vigorous activities. Today I am back at what I love to do, whether it's biking, surfing, kayaking, running, or other such outdoor activity, and I give a large portion of the credit to Marci and the staff there at Archdale. There is no doubt her professionalism and can-do attitude, her friendly and outgoing personality and her knowledge of and dedication to the art of Physical Therapy all combined for my 100% recovery from a serious and potentially debilitating injury. Thank you again, Marci… Kim
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