Dennis explains how the physiotherapy provided by Therapies on Thames helped during his rehabilitation and how much his life and mobility has improved since his treatment.
“I live in Spain and last December I suffered a condition called temporal arthritis. This took a form of a horrendous headache followed by an attack on my optic nerves which rendered me partially blind.
I got in touch with some friends who took me to hospital, and they administered huge doses of steroids to counteract the temporal arthritis. And this in turn, the side effects, or the bad effects of this affected me with the form of diabetes and the lack of appetite of severe tiredness and so on. So, I had all sorts of different side effects as a result.
Anyway, they discharged me from the hospital, and I went home, and then I went on my holidays to Austria, and then when I came back, the condition worsened and worsened and worsened. I went into hospital again, and I was there for about nine weeks, just on huge dosage of steroids and literally laying in a bed and wasting away.
My daughter and my son came over to see me and to look after me, and we decided as a family that I would come to the UK for treatment.
When I came to the UK, I was admitted into Saint Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey, and more or less the same thing happened there, I was laying in a bed and literally wasting away, and then my daughter found online, the Bridge House was specialising physical therapy and so we decided as a family, to get in touch and to get into Bridge House and expose myself to the Physiotherapy.”
What Did Your Illness Stop You from Doing in Your Day-to-Day Life?
“Well, by the time I got to bridge house I literally could not lift my foot off the floor. It was that bad. Couldn’t stand, couldn’t walk and obviously, and as a result of it I was bed bound, couldn’t do anything for myself, I couldn’t get out of bed, and as a result, I had to wear those terrible napkins that you have to wear, and that was so embarrassing for me and I hated it, but that soon went away with the physiotherapy.
The amazing thing was – to me anyway, was that I arrived there on a Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning, I had physiotherapists coming to see me and starting treatment, that that was really amazing.
We started off with being having a hammock type of thing put around me attached to a hoist and hoisting me out of the bed, it was that difficult and we progressed from there to where we are today.”
How Long Were You in Bridge House For?
“12 weeks, I was there for 12 weeks. I set myself a target, and it was probably 11 weeks longer than they wanted me there, but I was there for 12 weeks. I got on famously with everybody, especially the staff there and the physiotherapists, who I must say at this estate were wonderful – they have a great sense of humour, and they encouraged me no end to do things.
They sent me little challenges – although they didn’t know it at the time, but every time that they said ‘well we’re going to do this’ I took it – being the type of bloke that I am, as a challenge and I could do that, I could do that, and that’s how we progressed.”
Can You describe Some of The Physiotherapy Treatments That You Have Received Form Us at Home?
When I left a bridge house, after 12 weeks we got the physio to come and visit every day, Monday to Friday, and it was very good, very good, because although you don’t have the equipment in the house, and they do have in Bridge House, but nevertheless they made up for that with different exercises and techniques.
After they’d been – each and every one of them, after they’d been, I noticed the difference. From the exercise they did and for their enthusiasm and their expertise, I could tell the difference after each session – it was, and it still is, it’s wonderful.”
How Did We Hep to Ensure You Had A Safe Discharge From Bridge House to Home?
“I have a lot to thank my daughter, for she ensured that there’s a stairlift put into the house, there’s a bed which folds and lifts, a table that you can draw up to the bed to use, a chair that they can use and so on. She organised all that so by the time I arrived here (home), it was all in place and it was only a matter of coming in.
I arrived, if I remember rightly using two walking sticks, and now I’m in a position where I don’t use one walking stick. We have been persuaded to buy a walker – totally unnecessary, but we have it anyway – so I hope there’s a good second-hand market in walkers, but to answer your question yeah, I put it all down to my daughter.
I was told by the chap in charge down at Bridge House, that I would probably find difficulty in getting in and getting out of the car – none of it, it’s a challenge isn’t it, yes, so straight away it was sit down into the car, then get out of the car, no bother.”
How Has the Physiotherapy at Home Benefited You since Leaving Bridge House?
“Well, if I hadn’t had the physio at home I would probably have regressed, but I haven’t, I’ve got better and that’s totally due to the physiotherapy that I received from the experts who’ve come to see me, and performed me and bullied me and encouraged me ,and educated me on how my body works and what to do, to do this, and to do that, and in the end become friends, so that now, well from the beginning, not just now, from the beginning, I’ve valued, I value their expertise and I know that everything they say to me and they make me do it for me, for my benefit.”
What Can You Do Now That You Were Unable to Do before?
“Are you kidding me?! I used to have to clamber out of the chair because I had no strength in my legs at all, and now I can walk about the place without sticks or without anything.
My family, like the carers down at Bridge House, wouldn’t allow me to do anything – ‘no, no, no you mustn’t do that because, because, because’, but I can do it! Because that’s the sort of person I am. I look at certain things, like ‘I can do that’ – I’m a very positive thinking in person.
I’ll give you for example – I used to have a reclining chair in Bridge House and when they come to see me in the bed in the night – this was before I was walking on my own without sticks all the rest of it – I had to get up out of the reclining chair and go to the bed, and they would insist on getting a machine for me to stand with, from here to there – which was about two steps, so while they were out getting the machine I would get up with the chair and walk and sit on the bed and when they would come back in ‘shock horror! how did you do that’.”
Was It an Easy Transition between Inpatient Physiotherapy and Physiotherapy at Home?
“Yes, very easy and the physios who were administered to me in Bridge House, were excellent and the physios of come to see me at excellent. all excellent. We can’t speak highly enough of them would I recommend them to anybody else, yes, I would yes, I would every day of the week.
I’m getting my life back. There was a stage when I was in Spain that I was asking myself ‘is this how It ends, is this it’s got to be the end of it all’ and now I’m looking to the future, I’m thinking I’m going to live until there’s nobody left to bury me.”
How Did You Feel When Your Realised That Your Dad Was in This Situation?
“I went to Spain in January, to visit him after Christmas, and I was really shocked by the deterioration in his muscle mass. When I was there, we went up for dinner a few nights and I knew something wasn’t right – so I went on the net while I was at work and frantically looking for anything, and I came across Therapies on Thames.
I was going through all the testimonials you had, and I thought ‘this is exactly what we want, this is what we need’ – so I went back to the hospital like ‘Dad look at this, what do you think?’ and It was the best thing we ever did. I cannot, I cannot praise them enough because I have my dad back, and I can honestly say what Therapies on Thames have done, they have given us our dad back – for how ever long that’s going to be, and I can’t praise or thank them enough the whole team even the guys in Bridge Court to the physios that come to the house they are just phenomenal – can’t praise them enough.”