Right after her last surgery in summer of 09, Glidden went straight to St. Luke’s inpatient program. As part of her discharge plan, Glidden transferred to St. Luke’s valley outpatient clinic where she had a combination of pool and land therapy.
“These guys are wonderful, they have such cohesiveness,” she says of the handoff between inpatient and outpatient care at St. Luke’s.
In the therapy pool, the water is warm and the floor has a series of steps in 3 inch increments, so Cindy can find one at just the right height for a variety of exercises that gently improve flexibility, range of motion and muscle tone while promoting healing. The water’s buoyancy lets her exercise without fear of falling.
“With RA, I always have pain, so it is nice to get in the pool and not hurt like when you’re on land,” she says.
From squats and flutter kicks to legs lifts and knee bends she follows her therapist’s instructions while another patient performs exercises nearby. The two women chat about their lives, having become friends through their mutual treatments.
“This is fun and small and close,” Cindy says, explaining the valley location is convenient to her home and the therapists and other patients develop a bond as they work together. “There is camaraderie with others who are going through the same thing. You exchange stories.”
Meanwhile her therapist monitors her movements like an encouraging coach, making sure she progresses without going to the point of pain or fatigue. Their conversation is peppered with questions about how Cindy feels, what challenges she’s having, or where she hurts.
“She listens. She is careful not to push too far but push far enough,” says Cindy. “They are great here. They work so well together.” The valley office staff, she continues, is especially friendly and helpful. “If you run into scheduling issues they’ll juggle. The customer service is fabulous.” Since the water holds most of a patient’s body weight, it is gentle on the joints. “I can do more in the water, without pain,” she says. “I’m doing well and have progressed quickly.”