The Little Things

Marsha Wykes, PT brings Bill through his favorite step-up exercise at the Grantham, NH clinic

2021 was a difficult year for Bill Thurlow. As a football coach, he enjoyed an active life, but a ruptured achilles early in the year rendered him mostly inactive. His recovery was further set back by another medical problem and two surgeries later, coming into 2022, Bill found himself struggling and significantly limited in his ability to walk and balance. In January, he started working with Marsha Wykes, PT at Cioffredi & Associates Physical Therapy. We had the chance to touch base with Bill in late February during one of his treatments to ask him about his progress and how far he’s come. As he ran through a series of exercises with Marsha, he reflected on the whole experience:

“There are tiny, little lifetime skills that you take for granted and then you have an injury like this and it makes you realize that they’re not as given as you thought they were. I just wanted to get back into a routine and help my wife around the house. I was hesitant at first to commit myself to physical therapy again, thinking I could probably do it all on my own, but I finally took the step of calling. From the first visit, I was very impressed with the personal approach. And then I started to see little bits of improvement each week and it really helped build my confidence.”

“As a teacher, I tried to plan ahead and stick to my schedule and really respect people who do that. Marsha’s organization and precision is commendable. And the atmosphere here is so efficient and friendly. My experience has been, I wouldn’t say it’s been a pleasure being here given everything, but it’s been nice. At home, I even try to mimic the exercises at the same time every day. And Marsha’s voice is happening in my head! Marsha’s been with me every step of the way, not only encouraging me but giving me helpful hints on how to proceed.” Marsha pipes up “And don’t forget harassing you a little bit too. That’s part of the process!” Bill laughs and adds, “You should see what she makes me do!” We didn’t have to wait long to see, as Marsha proceeded to put Bill through his favorite step up exercise. “Now I can do some of those household things, like going to the store and bring groceries up a flight of stairs. It was something I could not do before. I do it cautiously, but I feel confident doing it.”

“My biggest goal now is to be able to play golf again. For my wife and I, it’s been part of our daily routine and we didn’t play last year primarily because of me. We taught together for 45 years, so playing golf together is something we can share as another extension of our relationship. I’m looking forward to getting on that first tee, stepping up, and making a drive that goes… reasonably straight.” Marsha takes the opportunity to jump in “Hey, let’s not get picky Bill!” to which Bill retorts “What? You guaranteed me!”

As we closed in on the end of the session, Bill showed few signs of losing steam. The payoff from all of his hard work was apparent. “I’m very thankful that I was able to find this place and to be where I am. I’ve come such a long way, I know I have a ways to go yet, and considering my age, maybe I’ll never get back to where I was totally, but I’m making progress. I’m going to continue to fight and see if I can make even more!


Read more inspiring stories from around the Upper Valley in our Spring Newsletter:

Pain, Pain, Go Away! Read the Spring Newsletter

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