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Back to Doing What he Loves

Ron, a patient from Advanced Physical Therapy Center (Part of the Phoenix PT Family) Story of Determination, Hard Work & Trust in Occupational and Physical Therapy

Woodward Dream Cruise week, 2018. On August 14th, after a day of fun in his Classic Dodge, Ron McLean’s life changed forever. On the way home, his beloved Dodge was rear-ended by a car traveling over 100 miles an hour near Flint’s Bishop International Airport. Ron thought he had been hit by a plane because the impact was so hard! His car flipped several times and landed in a ditch.

From This… To This…

When Ron became aware of what happened, he knew he was badly injured. Both bones in his lower arm were crushed, a tendon was lacerated in his hand and his eye was dislodged from the socket, which was also broken. He had a broken rib, a broken sternum and his ear was severely cut. After several surgeries, Ron’s doctor sent him to Advanced Physical Therapy Center. At Advanced PT – Flint, Ron would meet Anita Greene, OTRL and Mike Brew, PT, DPT, AT. Little did he know, they would soon become like family.

Ron’s Left Arm X-Ray After Surgery

Ron’s journey at Advanced PT began September 18th, over a month after his accident. His recovery process, which would be a long one, needed to be done in stages, and Anita and Mike were tasked with seeing the big picture. They needed to creatively craft an occupational and physical therapy plan that would get Ron back to doing what he needed to do; what he wanted to do. He was ready. The Vietnam Veteran had the perseverance and determination to get better and get back to life.

In the beginning, the OT/PT sessions were dedicated to treating the acute problems. There was swelling and wound care for his hand and forearm, and Ron needed help with his balance and walking. Mike would work with Ron and then Anita would take over. The two teamed-up with Ron’s family to make sure he had a support system that could help in the recovery process at home. There was feedback from every angle as they all worked together to get the best results.

During the first year, the goal was to get Ron functioning day-to-day. He learned, once again, to perform the simple tasks of dressing, bathing, and grooming without assistance. Then, as time went on, Ron was eager to become even more independent. He wanted to be able to perform fine motor tasks like making a simple meal, zipping up his pants, and turning a door handle independently. A retired engineer by trade, Ron came up with an assistive device using a hook attached to a brace to help him along. He also worked on his vision following his eye injury, wanting to feel confident again getting behind the wheel of a car. Anita incorporated visual scanning skills into hand therapy activities to strengthen his eye muscles.

Ron working with Antia Greene, OTRL

After regaining his independence, the focus shifted to Ron’s passion, which is working on his collection of cars. But the strength in his arm was minimal. Lifting, gripping, and rotating was tough. Anita began to tailor Ron’s occupational therapy tasks to his specific goal of getting back in the garage. “I played with what looked like children’s games”, said Ron. He would spend his sessions at Advanced PT, putting pegs into holes and molding Theraputty. Little did Ron know these tasks were increasing his strength and improving his fine motor skills even more. “He would always want to go faster,” recalls Anita, “he was always determined to get better.”

Anita Greene, OTRL,
Ron McLean, & Mike Brew, PT, DPT, AT

On September 17, 2020, one day before his two-year anniversary at Advanced PT, Ron was cleared by the specialist to be discharged. He can lift about 40 pounds with his left arm now. That is not quite 100 percent, but it is enough to get him back to doing what he loves: working on cars. “I came to trust Anita like a sister,” Ron says. Trust, that after two years of hard work, has given him his life back. From day-to-day functionality, to enjoying the days ahead, Ron has this to say to those who may have doubts about PT: “If you want to get better, you’ve got to do it to get back to the things you enjoy doing.”