Patient Testimonials: Tim V.You guys give us the tools to use, and it's up to us to use those tools.
UBC Client Interview
Tim, how did you get here?
"A year and a half ago I was the Warehouse Manager for the finish carpentry company, Falcon Construction, Inc. Basically, the company makes and then installs window trim, cabinets, handrails, vanities, mantels, anything in the house that has wood. As I lifted a 400 pound marble kitchen counter into our truck, I felt a pop in my lower back. I can see now that that injury was the culmination of years of not using proper body mechanics, although I had been shown the proper techniques. After the injury, of course I began to shape up, but the damage had been done. My boss was very sympathetic; however, I was in denial. I didn’t restrict my load after the accident because, after all, I was young and athletic and thought the pain would just subside. Wrong. I began seeing clinicians, but I still continued to work. My chronic pain lead me to a couple of PTs, the last of which didn’t agree with the fact that I was still working at my job-of-injury. In addition, for a period of 5-6 months I was seeing a doctor to help me taper my pain medications. Originally, Dr. Rogge advised me to seek re-training through Labor and Industries, but then my primary physician, Dr. Cole, suggested that I try UBC."
Describe yourself before and after your injury.
"I was raised in Redmond, not too far from UBC, actually. I’ve always been a really active person, always fixing things, moving, doing, et cetera. But now, for example, I can’t play tennis at all. I used to play golf at least twenty times per year and play on a softball team. Now, with this injured back, it’s no softball for me and only a few games of golf per year. In addition, I’m a drummer for a band called The Chelsea Kills. Ever since the accident, my stamina for playing has lessened. It’s hard to cope with being physically limited; never the less, I am thankful that I can still walk and do some of the things I used to do. I can’t live my life frustrated or down, there are a lot of people worse off than I am. I’m happy… I can still play music, that’s all that matters."
Describe your UBC experience.
"I’ve learned a lot about myself, my body in general. I have more flexibility and increased leg strength. I enjoyed all the classes: conflict management, stress class, nutrition, et cetera. You guys give us the tools to use, and it’s up to us to use those tools. Many people think that this program’s supposed to be a cure-all, but no one can get healed in seven weeks. The whole staff here is awesome and really nice. PT is my favorite class because I like being active (aerobics, pool, weight-lifting, all of it). Although I found it beneficial, OT was the hardest class because it caused flare-ups. But, while working on increasing our standing tolerance, we got to play cards and do puzzles together."
How do you think these last few weeks will affect your work life?
"I can’t meet the physical demands of my current job: I’m at 55 pounds, so I won’t be able to return to a job that I loved. It’s bittersweet, though. I see that this is definitely an opportunity for me to advance my career. Now, in lieu of full-time work I want to pursue an Associate of Arts degree in Construction Management. I eventually want to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting. This is truly an opportunity for growth."
How do you think these last few weeks have affected you personally?
"Relaxation class has helped me to realize even the smallest amounts of stress I carry around each day. Complete relaxation– the mental focus needed to achieve that calm state – is very tough to do."
What is UBC doing well?
"I heard some complaints from other clients about being pushed too hard by the clinicians. I understand it’s necessary, though. Thankfully, the clinicians listen to us. They try to do their best to be accommodating, without treating us like six-year-olds. I felt that their pushing was positive, and that, ultimately, they had our best interest in mind."
Do you have any suggestions for UBC?
"I can’t think of a thing. Well, maybe a tarp over the smoker’s area. That’s a joke… hey, don’t write that!"
Any final words?
"I’m glad that I was placed in this program. I don’t think there’s another program out there that can give us what UBC gives us under one roof. Having all the different clinicians in the same facility facilitates the communication among everyone, so things seem to run smoothly. All the open communication has been a positive thing in my treatment. It’s apparent to me that maintaining a positive attitude in life is the most important thing."
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