Tag Archives: rehabilitation

Northwoods – Silverdale – Physical Rehabilitation – Good-by – Hello


I’m telling my recent Northwoods story backwards, my outpatient, twice-weekly rehab ends at the Northwoods picturesque, characteristic salt-water rehab pool and into a new beginning.

Other than my first solo horse-packing trip into the Cascades and living through a host of learning experiences, I have seldom learned so much in one week as during my stay at Northwoods, a five star rehab center just north of Silverdale. 

I hope to progress as I should, working out at home and/or in a commercial pool.  The primary goal here is to rebuild the muscling around my arthritic bone on bone left hip in order to pedal a recumbent trike.

One of Northwoods rehab specialist, Jeff, actually got me RUNNING in the chest high water, coming down on my left foot without the old debilitating pain…muscle building safely in the water. 

Incidentally, the second time I ran in the water I felt so Tarzana that when Jeff asked me to sit on the water stool for a series of other exercises; I made a surprising running leap for it… and slammed into it or would have if I’d got that far. 

I began the jump too far out and the side effect was a gut wrenching, breathtaking laugh – so hard I ran out of air and had to focus hard to stop laughing.  COPD is not for sissies – nor are fancied, imagined, graceful gazelle leaps of joy that I could put weight on that left hip. 

Good Physical Therapists cause little moments of joy for the patients they guide into better fitness as we work into better health.

Northwoods has many good or great physical therapists – I am talking a little about some of the people and my latest experience as a patient in one of two Kitsap County five-star rehab centers.

For information, I didn’t qualify for insurance coverage since I had only been at Harrison overnight for observation, yet encouraged by Harrison’s sharp good-by, good luck doctor,   Dr. Mathew Coates the next day,  I decided to give it a couple days…and stayed over a week.17-IMG_2429

This is the entrance to the Red Barn dining room leading to access to the salty rehab pool.

Antiques – some early Kitsap County settler and his family plowed ground with this nifty tool and a couple good horses – or, maybe it is a thresher – a hay cutter. 

Note the wonderful old artifacts displayed everywhere in the “red barn “ – take a gander at  the two-woman saw on the wall above the staircase. 

Open for dining 13-IMG_2419



These wonderful items are displayed on the way to the ladies changing room and the pool.  10-IMG_2413

On my way out, dinner guests coming in…hubby waiting for me to go home    Gorgeous quilts on the upper, left wall

Door to the pool

Roomy shower – kept spotless



The first dressing room/ladies room leading to a pool that I have seen decorated with real hand-worked framed quilt squares on the wall. 06-IMG_2406

Kristi, left, following Jeff’s exercise plan had me run as fast as I could to the end of the pool – stop and walk backwards to the other end and repeat the run…got me laughing when I spotted her ‘running’ alongside.  She moved through the water like a prancing parade horse – head bobbing, smooth and graceful while I plowed through the water using my arms pulling forward – feeling plow horsey running through the deliciously warm water.  Kristi asked why I was laughing.  Her first time running through water, she said, when I told her.  She has a wonderful spirit and I howled…and did not tell her Jeff saved his energy and did not run alongside when he instructed me to run. 


Patients need the lightness of spirit and humor with the serious work they do helping put us together again,…we’re sort of like HumptyDumpty and they help us get back together again and teach us how to apply our own glue.Kristi and Shayla 04-IMG_2394 01-IMG_2374

Thanks Shayla, (PT) and Kristi (PTA) – What a great job you do for us!

Thanks for listening … Sharon O’Hara

Part 1 of 4


The Action is Hot Lungs – Part 2 of 3

The Action is Hot Lungs –Part 2 of 3

Harrison’s Better Breathers second speaker, Kinestiologist Aaron Norton, specialist in ‘Energy and Movement’ followed Leah Werner, Dietitian Harrison Medical Center in speaking to the crowd of pulmonary patients, COPDers and caregivers in the Rose Room at Harrison Silverdale last Wednesday.















Aaron works as an exercise coach at Sub base Bangor for the Navy and Marines to be “Mission Ready” and brought to us by Mei-Lin who is Harrison’s coordinator for the series of cardiopulmonary rehabs Harrison is establishing throughout Kitsap County.

Capri, a program I attended over a decade ago is now under the Harrison Medical Center umbrella for cardiopulmonary rehabilitation.  I hope the program includes a maintenance program and has – at least – one recumbent elliptical machine – great for lung patients with hip issues.  The program should include water workouts for exceptional flexibility, strengthening and aerobic.

Aaron was born with asthma and had childhood exercise induced asthma until he gradually, over a two-year period worked himself through it and over it.  Aaron’s asthma is long gone and he teaches exercise, Mission Ready’ Energy and Movement’ to Navy and Marine men and women.

NOW I understand how my young Norwegian cousin, Malin managed to get over her exercise-induced asthma – she exercised through it!















































“SMART Principle”–         

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely

I failed to meet the SMART Principle.  My goal of beginning a self-supported recumbent trike tour for COPD – 5 June – two weeks before the 2011 American Lung Association’s Big Ride Across American began didn’t get off the ground..no left foot to the pedal rotation..

The Big Ride Cyclists left Seattle today.

I was Specific, the intense water workouts beginning 1 February showed Measurable improvement in my left hip and leg and whole body.  Attainable – Yes! (Most people do not believe I can or will make this ride) Realistic -Yes.  (The issue is that my left hip will still not do a full forward pedal stroke.   The issue is that my bone on bone left hip joint will not let my leg fully rotate – yet.   Timely – No. The fact is I cannot pedal my regular trikes.  I can get on them now, can lift my left foot on the pedal and can do a half rotation with the pedal pendulum, but cannot carry it over.  Yet.  Now I have a trike to use – the recumbent hand cycle trike –  and will work toward leaving here on it NEXT 5 June 2012 – NEXT year..a heartfelt thanks to a great recumbent trike shop in Florida for the pedal pendulum tip ..more later.

Thank you, Aaron!  It was a shock to see my personal physical goal predicament easily explained right there on the screen.






























































































Read more: http://pugetsoundblogs.com/copd-and-other-stuff/2011/06/14/pulmonary-patients-eat-and-move-right-learn-how-tomorrow-better-breathers/#ixzz1Pg59kQFt

…Part 3 of 3 tomorrow… thanks for reading…Sharon O’Hara

Sorry for the poor photos…

Part 3 of 3 tomorrow… thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

























Meet Alec

Alec is the flip side of the dancing COPDer you see in the television commercial. For the COPD TV commercial dancer, all it takes is one inhaler, a few puffs and like magic, the lungs are okay and off to the dance floor.

Alec is a COPDer on oxygen, living right here in Kitsap County. .Alec doesn’t dance, he is barely able to walk. The other day he walked for less than two minutes before he was exhausted and had to sit down. He has a doctor appointment with his primary in the next week or two and wonders if he can get strong enough by then to make the appointment.

When he called for an appointment with a lung specialist in town, he was told that he missed five appointments during the past twelve months and she wouldn’t give him another appointment. Ouch. I can relate to missed and late appointments with my doctors. None, so far, has refused to give me another appointment.

My phone rang last week and a man asked for me by name. He gave his name and went on to say he had gotten my name and phone number from a article Chris Henry wrote one month short of five years ago. The article mentioned physical fitness and EFFORTS, my online support group.
I told him about the years I wasted not knowing what I could do to help myself. It wasn’t until I found EFFORTS (Emphysema Foundation For Our Right To Survive) online and learned to go BEYOND my shortness of breath to gain strength and muscle that life began again.
I encouraged Alec to begin rehab to get strength back and talk with the doctor he has a good relationship with to begin a team effort to regain as much muscle and fitness possible,..unless there is some medical reason he cannot exercise.

Alec didn’t know about Pursed Lip Breathing, the oximeter, none of the basic tools COPDers NEED to be the best we can be for the best quality life possible. He has not seen a doctor for his oxygen use in a year!.
We exchanged email addresses and this is where I became aware of unintentional gross neglect of a COPDer by not educating him in the most basic how to PLB breathe! He didn’t know why a COPDer has to exhale twice as long as he inhaled! Why not? How many other folks do we have in Kitsap County, feeling alone and trapped without knowledge and encouragement to work toward a better quality life?

I’m guessing Alec is the tip of the iceberg of ignored people right here who need help! COPD can be a gradually isolating disease.

I suggested he join ‘Walkers’ on EFFORTS, contact the American Lung Association of Washington and the Shortness of Breath Self-Management Study at the University of Washington.

Following are emails I exchanged with Alec and his permission to use here.
11/27/2009 8:32 AM

Hi Sharon..I contacted my doctor’s office, although he was off, and the nurse said go ahead and keep my appointment and discuss with him about being my medical partner in my quest with EFFORTS. Hope you are doing well.


On Sun, 29 Nov 2009 09:29:29 -0800

Good morning Sharon….I am having a tough day today and have become discouraged ,a little. I thought I would exercise by walking slowly as many minutes as I could..If I didn’t have my faith in God, I don’t know where I would be! I started walking and realized just how bad of shape I’m in. I couldn’t make it 2 minutes ,with my 02 !!. Then I realized I hadn’t prayed or eaten or anything….and that’s not like me. So I prayed and ate and started again. I could barely make it over 2 minutes walking slowly. I realize you probably don’t want to hear all this, but I will leave you alone after this. I have a week from tomorrow to get in some kind of physical shape to make it to the my doctor’s appointment. I do want a better quality life. You have given me the inspiration to do that. I didn’t have much luck finding an exercise regimen on EFFORTS, so I will look on ALA for some ideas. I am going to keep moving forward no matter what happens, even if they are slow, or as you put it, one foot in front of the other! I just get down sometimes, but my God always picks me up and says…keep your eyes on Me, not your circumstances.. I’m sorry to unload all this on you, but I won’t bother you anymore. I will continue today to increase my minutes. Thanks for listening…..

To: “…
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2009 11:07 AM
Subject: Re: Discouragement

…..call 911! Or your doc. No one should be in the kind of shape you mention and by yourself…no one!

Please…call for help…NOW. Sharon

On Sun, 29 Nov 2009 09:48:00 -0800

Sharon…I’m okay if I’m sitting down and not walking for a lengthy period.I don’t believe I need 911, as I breathe okay if I’m not walking or exercising.I’ll be okay.I think it sounded worse than it is! I’m alright! Please don’t worry yourself. Believe me, I know when I need 911……..Please…I’m so sorry I startled you …….

Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2009 11:26 AM
Subject: Re: Discouragement

Alec…Thank you for sharing with me. I’m astounded that no one has helped you build muscle and that you are alone through this and I wonder how many more of us are out ‘there’ that are in the same boat? We need to help each other with encouragement … will you give me permission to use this email exchange (I won’t use your name)to emphasize the NEED for education for COPDers in my blog?

11/29/2009 12:12 PM
We’ll do it together, Alec…okay? AND, one day, you’ll be riding a recumbent trike…one step at a time, one cycle wheel turn at a time and have fun too.
God has a sense of humor, I am convinced of it. Do you have a goldfish, bird, birdfeeder…any pets?
You are not alone.
11/29/2009 9:34 AM

Yes, you are right Sharon. God is in control and has a sense of humor! There’s never been a doubt in my mind about that. I didn’t know you would get so worked up about it or I wouldn’t have e-mailed you. I’ve been here for over 4 yrs. by myself! I had a dog, but he got attacked by raccoons and had to be put down. I still cry about that one! Malcom. Great dog. Half Akita, half Spaniel. Big! He was 12 and had a hole tore in his throat by the raccoons over some dog food. Malcom stood his ground, but it cost him his life. Reminds me of ….yea….Jesus! The Vet said he could patch him up, but he was 12 and bigger dogs don’t live as long as smaller ones. He said he probably wouldn’t last long if he couldn’t eat. He couldn’t get up to eat. It was all so sad. I called the Humane Society and they came and carried him away. I’ll never forget the look in his eyes. But I’ll see him again when I join him in heaven.But it still hurts.Poster Child? Never considered myself one of those. I don’t want to lose what little freedom I have. Can you understand that? I hope so! If I told people just how bad I was they would freak out.We do need education in the rehab area. People caring about other people! My family lives out of state and I hate to ask someone to call me everyday or drop by because they all have families, except Louis, and he’s very busy at the church.My goal is to get healthy enough to ride my recumbent bike, go to church, prayer warrior’s on Thursdays, and to go and tell people how much their God loves them! Not to much to ask is it? Nothing is to big for God! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! I am going off-line to read my Bible and study. So I’ll talk to you later.One step at a time…you’re right. And fun….I used to love to swim. Couldn’t get me out of the water in the summer. You are a dear, with a big heart. Talk to you later…..Blessings…….

On Sun, 29 Nov 2009 09:21:42 -0800

Sharon…alot of people have said that I am brave to be on my own and in the shape I’m in. No one has even offered to help me get in shape. Maybe that tells me something about who my real friends are! I’m sure there are other people like me who are alone. If something serious happened I would be in a jam ,especially if I couldn’t dial the phone! But then again, most people I know have families and can’t come help me, plus I feel like I’m intruding, and I am, if I ask them to help. I have a single friend at church who is very busy with the holidays this time of year, but I don’t think he realizes how out of shape I’m in. Yes, you can use the e-mail exchange. I don’t know if I want to read it or not, but yes,use it. It’s just one of those things. I just happened to be alone when this all happened. What else can I do? I don’t think I’m bad enough to be in the hospital, but I do need someone to check on me daily or come by and see how I’m doing.. My friend came over yesterday and looked at my computer. I left a message for him to call me at his convenience when he gets home from church today. I’m going to ask him his opinion about whether I need to be in the hospital or a care center, since I live alone. He’ll be honest with me. …

The following article provides a good reason why COPDers tend to have panic attacks as they get more and more short of breath….

“The portion of our brains that is responsible for registering fear and even panic has a built-in chemical sensor that is triggered by a primordial terror — suffocation. A report in the November 25th issue of the journal Cell, a Cell Press publication, shows in studies of mice that the rise in acid levels in the brain upon breathing carbon dioxide triggers acid-sensing channels that evoke fear behavior.” More at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091125134651.htm

1. Education and rehabilitation for the COPDer.
2. Find the COPDers like Alex…let them know they are not alone and what they can do to help themselves to a more active life.
3. We can help each other if for nothing else but a cheery “Hi, How are you?” voice on the phone.
4. Where are you?

More later… Sharon O’Hara