Having knee surgery at 12 years old was a little scary for Brooks Ludwig, who tore his patellar tendon in his right knee while playing football last fall. He worried he wouldn’t be able to participate in any of his favorite sports again.
Soon after surgery, Brooks started physical therapy at Loring Hospital’s Rehab Services Department. He was nervous, but also excited to resume some activity.
“I was really pumped to go to physical therapy because it was really the only thing I could do,” he says.
He also didn’t have to go through the experience alone. His 15-year-old brother, Karter, found himself in physical therapy at Loring Hospital just a couple months after Brooks – also due to a football-related injury.
“It was a little weird, but fun” Brooks says of going through rehab with his older brother.
Both brothers have positive memories of their Rehab Services appointments, and both credit that to the staff members they interacted with.
Karter, who tore his meniscus and ACL, knew he had a long road to recovery. He especially appreciated the encouragement – both mental and physical – he received from Erin Forch, physical therapy assistant at Loring Hospital.
“She pushed me hard and made me believe I’d be back to myself again,” he says. “That’s the best way to get back to doing what you were doing as fast as possible.”
When Brooks was cleared for his injury in January after four months of therapy, he was grateful for his knee to be healed but also a little sad.
“It felt good, but I knew I’d miss my physical therapy,” he says. “They all made it fun because I’d just show up there and they’d make me smile.”
Brooks is back to playing sports and says his knee feels “just fine, it’s kicking and everything.”
Karter was cleared on April 26 – just in time to start baseball practice.
While it was frustrating – not to mention painful – to have experienced their injuries and missed out on sports and other activities, Brooks and Karter credited their optimism and healthy recoveries to Loring’s Rehab Services.
“They treat you like family,” Karter says.
Therapy on a personal level
Suzi Namanny came to understand that “like family” feeling after falling onto concrete and breaking the radial tip off her elbow last summer in the middle of a global pandemic.
It could have been a lonely time, which is how she found herself looking forward to her visits to Loring’s Rehab Services.
“I couldn’t work because of injury and surgeries, and couldn’t have many visitors (due to COVID-19), so the staff became my friends, close to family, because I saw them three times a week for rehab,” Namanny says.
In fact, she felt her mindset shift at her first appointment – when she realized the small things, like picking up a pin, “were the big things.”
“I left there day one knowing there was going to be a change and I just had to be more positive than I wanted to be,” she says. “Just getting out of the house after eight weeks of seeing nobody helped, too.”
The Rehab Services staff also helped her realize, six months after the injury, that something wasn’t quite right. The range of motion in her arm appeared off – even for someone who had broken their elbow.
It turned out she also had a torn rotator cuff, which required another surgery and more therapy. Namanny says there were many times she felt frustrated and about to give up – not being able to use her dominant right hand, unable to work and already overwhelmed with the COVID-19 pandemic that upended everyday routines. She says she found solace and strength in her Rehab Services team.
“They were very uplifting, positive and patient,” she says. “They are there to help you do what you don’t think you can.”
Due to the type of Namanny’s injuries, she had the experience of working with each of the Rehab Services staff at least once.
“It’s safe to say the rehab staff and I got well-acquainted,” she says. “I got to know each of the girls on a personal level which was a really fun experience.”
After eight months of receiving both occupational and physical therapy, Namanny was cleared on March 26.
Even being new to the area at the time she began receiving rehab, looking back, Namanny says she knows seeking care at Loring was the best choice – and doesn’t see why anyone would choose to travel for rehab or other services offered at Loring Hospital.
“Just the care and compassion you receive, and the interest in you as a person.” Namanny says. “I guess I would ask, ‘Why would you go anywhere else?’ What you need is right here.”