Meet Janet Kochel,
3DPT’s December Patient of the Month!
Janet Kochel is a grandmother and a former school teacher – keeping up with kids and staying active is just a part of her! But this past summer, a family vacation unexpectedly ended with Janet requiring surgery for a broken hip, elbow and arm! She had never even broken a bone in her life until then! Janet was faced with overcoming physical injuries but also a loss of independence – something she wasn’t used to.
After months of rehab, physical therapy and determination, Janet is back to playing basketball with her grandkids and cheering on her favorite sports teams! Read more about her journey below
3DPT: Tell us about your injury that brought you to physical therapy and how it affected your life.
Janet: My injury occurred on August 8th – my extended family and I were in Wildwood for our annual vacation week. I was holding my grandchild’s hand while crossing a pretty quiet street. I got distracted momentarily, checking the street for passing cars, and ended up “launching” myself off the curb. My fall resulted in a broken hip, a fractured elbow and arm, all on my left side – and I’m left handed!
The ambulance brought me to the hospital and I had surgery the next day. The good news was that I was discharged from the hospital on the same day my family’s hotel stay ended! I had never even broken a bone before this and after I needed help with everything. Needless to say I felt very helpless – I am a fairly independent person!
3DPT: Tell us a little about your recovery process. What was/has been the hardest part of your therapy?
Janet: Four days after surgery, I was transferred from the hospital to a rehab center, where I stayed for 1 week. I was pretty immobile and was in a wheelchair. When I came home, I spent a lot of time in the wheelchair and 1 crutch due to my left arm. I had so much help from my family and friends – were there for me 24/7 as I couldn’t do much on my own! I had an in-home nurse, occupational and physical therapy for several weeks, and then I was able to move on to 3DPT to begin the final part of my journey back to my “totally independent” self!
3DPT: What advice would you give to other people who suffered similar injuries?
Janet: Trust your therapist! They will push you to new limits, all while giving you a sympathetic ear! When you are saying, “Really? I don’t think I can do this,” they will tell you to keep trying! Before you know it, you will say, “this is so easy” or “I’m almost back!” They teach you both physical and emotional endurance
3DPT: What are your plans for the holidays?
Janet: I recently drove to the Lehigh Valley area to spend a few days at Bear Creek Ski Lodge and to attend a holiday concert at my grandchildren’s school. I’m not using a walker or cane anymore! Note: I am now very aware of where I am walking and how I am walking, especially with the winter weather!
I am also planning on driving anywhere to take in a good high school basketball game until the finals in March. I was also so glad that I was able to make the last Rutgers football game and to see several high school football games.
It’s been a pleasure seeing Janet’s progress over the past few months – from a walker, to a cane, to now moving around like her old self! We look forward to hearing about her future adventures.