Tag Archives: physical therapy

Franklin John McCarty

7 Feb


 Otherwise known as Frankie J, he is the youngest canine of our household. 

 He is also the “small” dog I never wanted. He’s 14lbs and don’t call him a little dog, never mind.

Frankie wanted nothing to do with those small tennis balls… even as a young pup… I’ll take the regular tennis ball.


 And what’s this puppy food business… I’ll eat what all the other canines in the house eat… Thank you very much!


He likes to think he’s fearless but he is a bit intimidated by a few things…chickens for instance. 

And goat videos…of all things!

He’s also not too sure of our new kitty Oliver as he’s not used to cats who actually bat at him with claws.  Our two old cats never struck out at the dogs when they harassed them.  Maeve and Nisha just meowed and ran away.

But he seems to be working at getting along with Oliver.

Frankie’s got a few more hobbies than playing ball and chasing cats.  He loves to go kayaking and hiking.

And bothering his sweet big brother Tanner.  One of the most frequent expressions heard around our house is “Frankenstein, leave your brother alone”!  Note the long suffering look on Tanners face!

But one of Frankie J’s favorite things to do is go to work with mama even when we worked in different places when we did travel PT on the other end of the state.  We call it Frankie Friday now and he’s a darn good physical therapy dog!  He should since he started when he was 2 months old and he’s 8 and a half now.

He’s pretty tired after working all day…after all it is quite exhausting being adored so much!

And he really is adored from one end of the state to the other…we call him the “Gateway Dog” since even people who don’t like dogs are charmed by him.  It’s kinda hard not to be!

Love, love, love this boy!


Thank You

10 May

This a post to say thank you so much for those of you who wander by to read, to like and to follow my blog. I do indeed stop by to read and check out most of my fellow bloggers.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult at this time to actually make comments on your individual blogs. You all don’t know how much I wish I could find a way to balance better right now.

The 2 hour plus of commuting certainly shortens my day as does the incredible demands of healthcare paperwork. What I don’t regret in anyway is the time I get to spend with my patients.

To know I can make such a difference in individual lives with my knowledge and experience, my tough love approach to physical therapy and my heartfelt compassion means the sacrifices I make right now are worth it.

It’s worth it because of comments like these from patients from my 3 weeks at a facility on the North Shore… ” if I was 40 years younger, I’d fight your wife to marry you”.

She’s over 90, can barely see or hear, sharp as a tack and sometimes called me he and sometimes she… mmm makes me wonder… as a husband or wife! It’s the short hair.

We in the Rehab department almost killed ourselves laughing over that one. Although we all admitted how sweet the comment was. I hope she made it home!

Another patient asked to dress herself in clothes not a johnny and walked almost twice what she had done before. She told me in the elevator back to her room it had been hard but she’d wanted to do it for me on my last day. I hope she made it home too.

And because of patients where I am now on the South Shore who ask if I can be their therapist tomorrow… even though they acknowledge I’m the weirdest and toughest therapist they’ve ever had.

That’s why it is worth less time for sleep and comments at this time. Not forever this traveling PTA gig but I can do it for the next 11 weeks for my family and the patients who depend on me for right now.

Thanks to my family, friends and readers for hanging with me on this part of my journey. I have had many blessings in my life… may it ripple outward to all!

All will be well!

25 Apr

I find myself very grateful tonight for so many good things and people in my life. Even though I am leaving an almost perfect situation for my first traveling PTA job it has given me confidence to move onto the next one.

A big thank you to the staff especially the Rehab Team for making it easy to fit in so quickly. I feel like I’ve made some real connections there and there’s already been talk of road trips down to my new placement on the South Shore and out to the Berkshire’s this summer.

Being able to spend this time with M&D my in-laws has been a real gift for both Frankie and myself. They have offered to keep Frankie here for the next week til I get situated in my new digs and job. They have been so generous with their home and time. Frankie and I are going to miss them greatly when we move.

I am thankful too for my company recruiter (A.L.) and company for reacting so quickly to the changing situation and getting me a new job and place to live so as to make the transition as smooth as possible. In fact my wife wants to send A.L. flowers for taking such good care of me!

As always I appreciate the love and support of my family and friends. They mean the world to me. And of course, my wife Elizabeth is always foremost in my love and thoughts. Thanks, Babe for holding our center, our home together while the world spins madly about us. All will be well!

Oh, and I’m really thankful we have our small third of an acre CoyoteCrow Farm that will in a few months produce with some hard work our very own home grown fruits and vegetables. Not to mention in 5 or 6 months some backyard grazing chickens laying more than enough eggs to eat and sell.

You Go Girls!!!

A country mouse near the big city!

9 Apr

Well I survived the first day of my 3 month adventure. The drive in and back was easier than expected in my trusty steed er I mean my car.

But because “The Wizard of Oz” is my all time favorite movie, I just had to say to Frankie when I got back…


“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!” Corny, I know but Frankie and I cracked up anyway.

Got a quick tour of the facility and the computerized paperwork and jumped right into it. Luckily, I’ve been working with these types of patients in this type of environment for a long time. That was the easy part.

The hard part was finding the patients. The nursing home has been going through a lot of changes recently and there’s been a bit of room and unit movement of patients. Quite comical at times.

Sometimes the CNA’s knew where they were, sometimes it was the nurses and sometimes it was other patients. And sometimes I’d wander into a dining room or other gathering place and sing out, will so and so raise your hand! I did manage to find everyone eventually.

The staff (especially the rehab) seem nice and were open to helping a lost PTA on her first day. Absolutely this will be an adventure but a good one I think. I’m looking forward to being a bigger part of the team as I find my way around.

Got an update on our chicks and they are healthy and growing. Thanks to my wife Elizabeth, the home fires are glowing brightly.


I’ll try to check in again tomorrow. Also, thanks so much for all of you who keep checking in and liking what I’m writing. I appreciate the support!

Updates: Chicken coop and Job status

3 Apr

Digging holes in the back yard.

Hard to believe but this is the beginning of the back yard Deluxe Chicken Coop.  Just a quick word here about my buddy Steve who’s building our chicken coop.  He and I have been friends since school in the mid 90’s.  He was taught the construction business from his Dad and then went back to school to be a PTA.  We’ve been friends ever since.
I got him his last PTA job and he’s done a fair bit of on the side construction work around our home over the years.  Now Steve has got his quirks like all of us but dang if he isn’t an absolute artist when it comes to building stuff.  The rock below he wrestled out while digging for the chicken coop posts.  Not something my wife and I could have done.

An enormous rock dug out from the back yard.

In fact he’s a perfectionist when it comes to his PTA and building craft.  My wife and I as well as a number of others would rather have him do our home projects than anyone else.  He’s just that good.

Aligning it just right.

Yeah, just right.

My job has been to stain and stain again the framework that Steve’s already built.

Here's how a deluxe chicken coop begins.

There was more to the framework than I imagined.

More framework.

Tomorrow I’ll help put the framework together on the cinder blocks and then the roof will get attached.  The week old chicks Elizabeth and I will pick up on Saturday in our NEW truck will have a truly deluxe home after they’ve grown a bit.

Finally, there's a truck in the family again!

We traded in the Rav 4 today because she wasn’t serving the needs of CoyoteCrow Farm (CCF) any more.  The Rav just wasn’t big enough to haul bales of straw and cubits of soil for our chicken and gardening requirements .  And as my wife knows I’ve been whining about having a truck again since she’s known me.
As for my travel PTA job that starts on Monday, the paperwork train keeps rolling merrily along.  I’m keeping up as best as I can with all the requirements.  It’s slowly getting actually real to me I’m going to be mostly away from home for 3 months.  My heart is becoming more loving to my wife, my friends and the dogs and cats I’m leaving behind.
As the Bob Marley song says, “every little thing gonna be alright”.  My Irish/Italian heart knows this is true.  After so many gypsy years in my younger days and then being in one place for the last 15 years I feel a bit disconcerted.  Like my Elizabeth I am comforted in knowing I’ll be with family during my time away.  But still… I’m gonna miss my home and loved ones.

Changes are a coming

2 Apr
Life is usually predictable… you know these are the days you’re scheduled to work, this is when vacuuming, laundry and wood stacking are gonna happen.  And then BAM all of a sudden your ordinary life changes.  Have your circumstances and events ever become unpredictable and completely out of your control?  Well yeah, that’s kind of what’s happened in the last 2 weeks for me.


First I got sicker than I’ve been since I was a kid… I’m on my second course of antibiotics at this point.  I also promised a coworker to cover him at work this week while he took time off…  still not feeling right but hey a commitment is just that.  And then after 3 months of trying to find a traveling physical therapy job I got a long awaited opportunity.

Unexpected opportunity

I’ve been saying to my recruiters, “Just get me a phone interview and I’ll take it from there.”  I got my first interview and now I have a 13 week travel PT job on the North Shore of Boston.  Thanks to my awesome In-Laws’ generous offer I’ll be staying with them during the week and coming home on the weekends.  It’s a 2 1/2 hour commute.

They love their grand dogs not just Z-dog.

Our travel dog Frankie will stay with us during the week.  (He’s small like travel shampoo or toothpaste.) My wife is afraid if I don’t have a dog with me on a daily basis we’ll end up with a 4th dog ’cause I won’t be able to be dogless for that long.  My In-Laws agree with that plus they love their grand dogs.

Frankie the ultimate gateway (drug) I mean dog!

Even though I’ve adapted to more change in my lifetime than most people it doesn’t mean I’m completely immune to it.  I’m a fairly confident adult in my talents and skills.  But there’s a bit of anxiety in leaving my daily routine and home environment for the unknown.  And being a country mouse I’m also anxious about the traffic and commute of the Boston area.

The Unknown

But this I do know, I will do well with whatever happens in the next 3 months…  It is nothing compared to where I have been and I know I can endure anything for 13 weeks.  I will miss my Wife, my dogs and cats left behind and my home terribly.  But I do this for us and what we have.  And there’s a very good chance I will enjoy it as well in my Irish lucky way.


There’s also a chance I’ll be napping quite a bit for the first few weeks of Boston area commuting and 40 hr work weeks.  I ask that those of you who are following along with my blog adventure to hang in with me.  I will continue to share my journey as often as I can but change is just that… change and I can only promise to roll with it as best as I can!

Teddy Bear

14 Mar
Wow, it’s been a longer than usual day.  I got a call late yesterday afternoon to ask if I could work today.  Trust me folks, I am very happy to get a call to work my physical therapy profession.  I love doing work that means making a difference in individual lives and Hallelujah actually getting paid for it as well.  It turned out to be more hours than any of us expected.  It was Date Night as well.  And as I’ve stated, a longer day than usual.

I’m tired and it feels like it’s close to bedtime.  So I’ll leave you all with something I wrote years ago but feels appropriate tonight.

Teddy Bear… an adult lullabuy   Weez  July 1976

Teddy Bear oh Teddy bear
bring me some comfort as only
you can.  I know the the days
of my childhood have long past.
But I’m tired and I’m hurt
So Teddy Bear do what you can.

I feel that the world is unkind
though sticks and stones
may not hurt my body
there’s no telling
what they do to my mind

I have the feeling that I am lost
drifting in the swirls of time
Lovers point out directions
but what of the cost

I am ready for deep, deep sleep
shedding my troubles
for morning light
and pray for my soul to keep

So Teddy bear oh Teddy bear
bring me some comfort as only
you can.  I know that the days
of my childhood have long past
but I’m tired and I’m hurt
so Teddy bear do what you can

When I grow up…

24 Feb

Maggie and Elizabeth

I’ve worked in hospitals and nursing homes for a lot of years.  First as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) in the late 70’s and early 80’s and then as a PTA (physical therapy assistant) since 1996.  As a PTA I love the challenge of getting my patients to do physical therapy.  As anyone who’s ever had PT can tell you it’s hard work.  And not everyone is interested in working hard.
At lunch time a few months ago, I mentioned to my co-workers that my wife thinks I’m the sneakiest and most manipulative person she knows, but luckily I use my powers for good and not evil.  “That’s what makes us good therapists,” they all said through snorts of laughter as they started to relay their own sneaky and manipulative tricks.  I learned a few new tricks that day.  I love it when I get to collaborate with other Rehab professionals!
I’ve worked with veterans from World War I  to Vietnam and from all branches of the service including the Women’s Army Corp from World War II.  I’ve treated waitresses, physical therapists, mechanics, policemen and even an honest to God rocket scientist.  I think because my profession is so hands on and the patients and therapist have to work so closely together to get the desired results it can create an intense bond.  Some of the stories I’ve heard over the years have been remarkable.
Maybe it’s because I grew up in my Grandparents’ house or maybe because I’m such a history buff but I like hanging out with the elderly.  The older and feistier the better.  I figure feisty is how they got there!  And the over 90 crowd are my absolute favorites.  To some of them, I’m just this young whippersnapper of a woman (I’m 55 for crying out loud) trying to boss them around.
Besides as one old man said, “I’m 96 you know, I don’t need any of this foolishness.”  A few minutes later I had him standing up working on his standing tolerance and balance.  Six minutes after that he said to my dog Frankie “just a few more tosses, young fella,” as he let go of his walker to take the ball and throw it again.  Like I said–sneaky and manipulative!
Recently, I got to work with a 99 year old woman who I had treated over a month before.  When I’d last seen her she could only toss the ball to Zelda a few times from her wheelchair before tiring.  She’d had hip surgery a few weeks earlier and was restricted to putting weight on one leg while standing.  Now she was walking and getting ready to go home later in the week.  The first thing she said to me was “How are your dogs”?  I let her know both of us had had our haircut the week before and pulled out my very small iPod nano and showed her the  picture of Frankie.  Both of us just kind of shook our heads at that tiny piece of technology sitting in the palm of my hand.  Me because I remembered listening to a reel to reel tape recorder as a youth.  And her because she was a teenager when the Great Depression started and who had money for anything?  Even most pocket watches weren’t that small!
Most people in the US are afraid of growing old.  Our society is obsessed with youth and so many dye their hair, use botox or have plastic surgery to “keep their looks” and equate that with staying young.  But staying young really is in the heart and mind… as so many of my “old” patients remind me.  The link I’m putting here is for a TV commercial but that’s not why I’m linking to it.  It’s a song by Michelle Shocked called “When I grow up I want to be an old woman” .  Ignore the fact that it’s an advertisement and LOOK at the beautiful faces of these old women.  ‘Cause I don’t know about any one else… but that’s what I wanna be when I grow up!

Making a difference

17 Feb

There are many paths that we each have taken to be WHERE we are today.  And many steps we’ve all taken to be WHO we are today.  We are all where we should be at this moment in time.  Each of us has many roles we play in our own and others’ lives.  We each have the the opportunity to make a difference every day.  This philosophy was installed in me from a very early age.

I have been fortune enough to be afforded the opportunities to make a difference in a number of ways.  But today I got the gift of being my healer self again… to make a difference in a very physical and personal way.  I got to be a Physical Therapy Assistant today.  Due to the economic and corporate realities of the times, I have not had the chance to be a PTA as often as I would like recently.  There is something so soul satisfying about being hands on with someone, to teach them to become stronger and more independent.  I have missed that terribly!  Thank you to the Universe for letting that be part of my life again today!