Iva Roberson, 69, grew up in Ropesville, Texas on a cotton farm. She attended the local high school, and it was there she met her future husband, John. They have been married 50 years and raised two sons together. Once her children moved to the Denton area and started having kids of their own, Iva and her husband made the decision to move to the area to be closer to family. Iva enjoyed taking care of her grandchildren at every opportunity and happily played the role of “Graham Cracker,” as her grandkids dubbed her. She enjoyed wrestling with them, taking them to the zoo and throwing the football around with them. Iva says, “I really was in utopia being so involved with my family prior to my injury.”
The injury she refers to happened at her son’s house while watching her grandkids. She was walking down a set of stairs in the dark when she missed the last step and fell. She was unable to get up from the floor. They called 911 and Iva was admitted to a local hospital, where they diagnosed her with a fractured right femur and told her she would need a total hip replacement.
Immediately after the operation, Iva was unable to move her leg. “I could hardly twitch my toes without pain,” said Iva. The doctors had a difficult time with pain management pharmaceutically due to some other medications she was on, but eventually they were able to find a pain medication that worked. When she was well enough to be discharged from the acute care hospital, the medical team suggested an inpatient rehabilitation hospital. After the recommendations from a neighbor, friends and her own family, Iva decided to continue her recovery journey at Select Rehabilitation Hospital of Denton.
Her main goals for rehabilitation included being able to go home with a walker, as well as become more independent with grooming and daily living activities. While in rehabilitation, Iva received physical and occupational therapy. “As soon as I got there they put me to work,” said Iva.
Iva said that occupational therapy helped her re-learn how to dress using a sock aide and leg lift assist because she was limited in how much she could bend at the waist due to her hip precautions. She also participated in activities of daily living including dressing and showering as well as arm strengthening in both arms to prepare her for discharge.
In physical therapy, she learned how to transfer safely from the wheelchair to her bed and back. She said her primary therapist played a major role in teaching her how to get into her car as well as providing training to John. She worked on walking with a rolling walker and was able to walk 150 feet by discharge without assistance. Along with transfers and walking, she participated in leg exercises to improve her strength, balance and independence. Iva is also very appreciative of the physical therapy assistant for her positivity and for providing encouragement during Iva’s stay. On the last day of her stay, Iva was asked to go up and down stairs by her physical therapist, and she was shocked at her progress. “I didn’t think that I could do it; I surprised myself.”
Iva’s journey took place during the COVID-19 pandemic and included restricted visitation, which was challenging as her family support system was extremely important to her. At times, she felt isolated in the hospital but she was very appreciative of the staff who went out of their way to help her stay motivated. The staff also went the extra mile and helped arrange a front lobby face-to-face visit while maintaining all safety measures including masking and social distancing. Iva was very appreciative for that moment of connection with her family and it helped boost her morale. In addition to her family support, Iva identifies the nursing staff as being very helpful for her social wellbeing, stating that some nights when she couldn’t sleep someone would pop in and sit awhile to keep her company.
Shortly after returning home, Iva began outpatient physical therapy at Select Rehabilitation Hospital of Denton. Iva was nervous about outpatient therapy because she knew that every step she took was painful and she wasn’t sure what to expect. However, in just a few visits, her perspective shifted and she began to look forward to her sessions. One of her initial goals was to get in and out of the car without needing a step stool. After simulating the set up in the clinic and practicing a couple of times, Iva was able to go out to her car and successfully get in and out without assistance. At that point, Iva said, “I just knew I could do it and that showed me that I was making progress.” Through weeks of therapy, Iva transitioned from using a walker to a cane and then eventually did not require any assistance with walking. With outpatient therapy, Iva said she appreciated the variation in activities and available equipment.
Iva has returned to a lot of her past activities including gardening, attending grandchildren’s sporting events, morning walks with her husband and taking care of her grandchildren. They even have a trip to Florida planned for her grandson’s baseball tournament and they are greatly looking forward to it.
Reflecting on her recovery journey, Iva says, “An injury like this can be so disruptive but it is important to keep working to get back to your normal life as much as possible.” She said the team at Select was vital to her recovery. “It feels like a family there with everyone being knowledgeable, caring, encouraging and collaborative.”