Loring Hospital

Physical Therapy Patient Is (Almost) Back to Dancing on Tables

Betty Roeder with Loring's Missy Flynn and Luisa Ching

Last year, Betty Roeder was looking forward to a cruise in the fall with her sister, Linda, but she was having trouble walking – even after months of physical and cardiac therapy following her hip surgery.

Her son, Paul, told her: “Mother, there’s no way you can get on a ship when you can’t walk well. And yes, you can take your walker, but it’s still not going to help you get around. So, I think you need to try something else.”

Roeder knew he was right. If she wanted to go on this trip, she’d have to rebuild her strength. As a sprightly, active person, the loss of mobility after hip surgery was mentally and physically tough on Roeder, who used to walk five miles every morning.

She brought up this complaint to her heart specialist, joking that “I can’t even dance on tables anymore,” she recalls with a laugh. “And he just looked at me, and I said, ‘And I’m a retired teacher.’”

Physical therapy hadn’t helped much the first time around, but Roeder was willing to give it another try. One of her friends recommended the Rehab Services program at Loring Hospital. Coincidentally, not long after, she was admitted to Loring for a urinary tract infection and met her soon-to-be physical therapist, Luisa Ching, for the first time.

When Roeder first started therapy, she had to stabilize herself against the wall and her walker to keep her balance. But after a few twice-weekly sessions doing exercises to strengthen her legs and back, Roeder was making good progress.

Roeder has recommended Loring’s program to everyone she knows – and even a few people she doesn’t know. Ching and Loring Hospital’s Rehab Services staff, including Missy Flynn, helped Roeder regain the joy and independence she’d missed when she was unable to confidently get around, and she wants everyone to have their own comeback.

Plus, the rehab services staff made her laugh, and they’d give each other a hard time. She said that got her through the mental and physical toughness of therapy.

“I absolutely enjoyed coming to therapy,” she said. “It made me feel good – not just physically, but emotionally. And everybody in this hospital has been so kind to me.”

At the end of her time in therapy, Ching and her staff gave Roeder a blaze-orange T-shirt that reads: Thanks to Physical Therapy, I can dance on tables again. Roeder wore it to a Loring Hospital board meeting and thanked the board and Loring’s Rehab Services Department for the care she received.

In the fall, Roeder and her sister had a blast attending the cruise – and to top that off – beforehand, she, Linda and Paul attended the hit show, Dancing With the Stars, where she and Linda had the chance to take a quick spin on the show’s ballroom dance floor before the show started. And though Roeder might not be hopping up on tables to dance these days, she is dancing with her husband again.