In August of 2015, seventeen-year old, Emma Thompson, had pain in her calves.–Not uncommon for an active teenager. People have calf pain for many reasons; a strained muscle, you backed into the coffee table at home trying to avoid stepping on your child’s toy, or soreness from overdoing it in a workout the day before. Emma’s doctor wasn’t too worried since it is so common. He told her to rest two weeks, and it should be better. Unfortunately for Emma, it wasn’t.
After two-weeks of living with the pain, Emma returned to her doctor, and to be better safe than sorry, he sent her over to have a Doppler ultrasound test performed. A Doppler ultrasound test uses reflected sound waves to see how blood flows through a blood vessel. The test also can find blood clots in leg veins (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) that can break loose and block blood flow to the lungs. Not knowing that this was an urgent matter, Emma went to a friend’s house to spend the night. Later that evening, she called her parents complaining of shortness of breath. The next day her parents brought her to the hospital. They were shocked to find out that Emma had D.V.T. (deep vein thrombosis) in her ankle and behind her knee. It was shocking because D.V.T. is incredibly rare in someone seventeen years old.
While in the hospital, Emma suffered a seizure, and doctors found that she had two major blood clots blocking the main arteries in her lungs and multiple pulmonary embolisms (P.E.s). Her heart was working so hard to get past the P.E.s, the doctors had to give her stroke medication. The decision to give her this medication was not made lightly. If they gave it to her, she could bleed out. If they didn’t give it to her, she could develop other clots that could stop her heart. As they were deliberating, Emma’s lungs began to build up with fluid. The doctor’s had to make the quick decision to give her the medicine. Thankfully it worked. She spent four days in the intensive care unit and a total of ten days in the hospital.
Emma Thompson pictured top middle with our clinical team that helped Emma on her road to full recovery. Top left to right: Jill Ivy, PTA; Patty Rumbold, PTA; Corey Hough, and Arthur Adkins.
Emma is doing fine now. But before she made a full recovery, Emma’s pulmonologist recommended she attend physical therapy to strengthen her heart and lungs. Emma would become exhausted just moving from class to class, and climbing stairs were nearly impossible. Prior to her bout with D.V.T., Emma was at a band camp, practicing nearly ten hours a day. Emma knew if she ever wanted to play again, she needed to build her endurance.
To get started, her physical therapist, Bret Peters, P.T., D.P.T., began having Emma perform simple tasks, such as walking from one end of the building to the other. “They give me little challenges to help with my balance and endurance. I couldn’t walk upstairs, and I struggled to get to class. Now I’m playing dodge ball, and I’m getting back to normal. It is a lot of fun, and I, actually, look forward to coming here. I would absolutely recommend Advanced Physical Therapy Center. It has given me so much that I want to do the same for other people. I’m looking to going into physical or occupational therapy as a career,” said Emma.
“When Emma first came in, she could only tolerate five-minutes on the treadmill and only perform a few exercises. She has come a very long way. We are so proud of her. We see a lot of kids in our practice, but her dedication was impressive. She took it seriously, and it shows in her improvement. I took her jogging, and we made it to the end of the road–no problems, no breaks,” said Jill Ivy, P.T.A.
Emma has been back to her pulmonologist, and all her tests came back with flying colors. Her doctor credits physical therapy as instrumental in her recovery. “The staff has made a world of difference through their encouragement and support,” said Mark Thompson, Emma’s father. “You’ve come a long way, baby! I’m impressed,” said her mother, Cathy.