Saturday, May 24, 2014

Why Do My Knees Hurt?

One of the ladies that I work with at this nursing home regularly asks the physical therapist, "Why do my knees hurt?" Every time she tries to stand her knees hurt. She does not walk functional distances. Bed to bathroom? Beyond her. She can barely make it from her bed to her wheelchair. Her physical therapists dread her standing in therapy because her  own body weight could snap her bones. Still, she tries to stand and it makes her knees hurt.

She is over 350 pounds and has been that large for years. Think of three people trying to sit together in a single chair. That would be her, all by herself. She overflows the largest wheelchairs that we have and the first chair failed under the load. She's complaining about the second one being harder to push. It's more durable and the chair is heavy and difficult to push when empty. But it won't dump her on the floor.

If she is not able to walk, she will never go home again. Probably not even to visit for an afternoon. The government standard for a grab bar placed on a bathroom wall is that it withstand 250 pounds of downwards force. She can rip a grab bar out of a wall by trying to use it to keep herself standing. Grab bars cannot be installed in a mobile home. The walls are too flimsy. Even exterior walls.

It is a matter of weeks before her managed care insurance decides that she has not made sufficient progress to remain in rehab. At that point, she is looking at spending the rest of her life in a nursing home. I believe she's in her 60's. 

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