In 2020, I Relearned to Walk
Physical Therapists Made It Possible
Personal injury attorneys get hurt, too. As World Physical Therapy Day approaches on Sept. 8, I’ve been reflecting on the journey I inadvertently began in 2019. Ironically, my injury occurred while packing a suitcase for a deposition of an expert witness in Cleveland. I hit my head against a cabinet, requiring staples at the emergency room.
Thankfully, I made my flight, and the deposition went well. But my healing journey didn’t. In the weeks after my return from Cleveland, I gradually lost feeling in one leg until I could no longer walk. Upon further investigation, doctors discovered I’d broken one of my vertebrae in a bicycle accident as a child. What I thought was a slight bump on the head 25 years later shattered the cracked vertebra and collapsed it into my spinal cord.
A local surgeon performed emergency surgery to replace the vertebra with an artificial vertebra, install five artificial discs, and fuse my entire neck. But the most challenging work began soon after. I worked three days weekly with the incredibly talented physical therapy team at Tidelands Health in Pawleys Island for four months.
My prognosis wasn’t ideal. I’d been warned that the damage to my spinal cord was likely permanent. Doctors said I might never walk unaided again. But my physical therapists never let me believe that would be the case. Their dedication, experience, and training literally got me back up on my feet. While I attended my first visit using a walker, I soon graduated to using a cane. Eventually, I left my last physical therapy appointment solely on the strength of my own two legs.
I’ve worked with personal injury clients for many years, but this experience gave me new insight and appreciation into their journeys. I now know firsthand how challenging the recovery process can be. I also have a new gratitude and deep respect for the work physical therapists do across South Carolina.
If you’ve avoided physical therapy, I strongly urge you to try it. Not all stories will end as happily as mine, but you can probably accomplish more than you realize. And if you’ve been similarly blessed to work with a physical therapist throughout your recovery, I hope you’ll take a moment to thank them on Sept. 8. We owe them that and much more.