Melissa Norman, 54, was born and raised in Plano and currently lives in Argyle, TX with her husband, Jeff, and son, Jacob. After 30 years, Melissa retired as a high school special education teacher but she continues to work as a private tutor to help children reach their highest potential. In her free time, she also enjoys arts and crafts and journaling.
Melissa underwent an elective right knee replacement surgery to alleviate pain that had been impacting her ability to participate in daily activities. Following the surgery, her surgeon recommended Melissa continue with home health therapy to increase her leg strength and improve functional mobility. Melissa was progressing with her therapy until one day while cleaning her house, she lost her balance and fell.
Immediately, she had pain in her left leg. Melissa was taken to the ER where it was confirmed she had broken the bottom part of her left thigh bone. She was then transferred to Texas Health Presbyterian for a corrective procedure. Following the surgery, her clinical team recommended inpatient rehabilitation at Select Rehabilitation Hospital of Denton, where she would receive care from a physician-led team of clinicians who created an individualized plan to improve her strength, self-care skills and functional mobility, as well as to help with pain management.
During her stay, Melissa’s physical therapists focused on increasing her stability, balance and ability to transfer independently. Due to the limitations on her left leg range of motion and weight-bearing ability, Melissa’s physical therapists initially focused on improving her leg strength and transfer ability with the use of a slide to minimize pain while allowing her to be as independent as possible. The team also had Melissa work on leg-strengthening exercises and standing in the parallel bars for balance and standing tolerance. After a week of intense rehabilitative therapy, Melissa demonstrated significant improvement in her strength. From the sliding board transfer, Melissa improved to independently transferring with a rolling walker.
Meanwhile, Melissa’s occupational therapists focused on increasing independence in basic daily tasks such as toilet transfers and self-care skills including dressing and showering. Additionally, the team incorporated upper body strengthening exercises to increase her overall stamina. The team also educated Melissa on the use of different types of adaptive equipment and safety strategies to complete self-care tasks independently and safely. When she was discharged after 14 days, Melissa was independent with all self-care tasks and transfers at wheelchair level.
Reflecting on her experience at Select Rehabilitation Hospital of Denton, Melissa expressed appreciation to all of her clinical team members stating, “They have an excellent and compassionate team here, and they treat patients with dignity.” One piece of advice that Melissa would share with others on a recovery journey: “Don’t miss the opportunity to get better.”