Friday, June 02, 2017

Experiencing Physical Therapy in Banja Luka

Somewhere along the line, I managed to injure my shoulder. It all started with the fact that my neck was very tight and tense, from too much working on my computer and not enough exercise, but I just got used to it... and then I decided that I needed to get fit and so started swimming: but maybe a little too much, too fast and who knew, but the neck and shoulders are all connected by the same muscles and so the tight neck muscles managed to pull the ligaments and tendons out of alignment in my AC joint in my shoulder (that is at least what they think happened...).

Anywoo, the shoulder thing got so bad in South Africa in January that I had it checked out there, and then I had physiotherapy there with a great therapist. We had sessions once a week and she did a good job of at least fixing my neck a bit, but then it was time for me to go back to Bosnia and it all went downhill from there again. I went to the doctor here in March, and she told me I had to have therapy every day for 10 days as that is the way it works here. However, with all the travelling I was doing, the first time I would be available for that was the beginning of May... I managed to use ice, creams and lots of paracetamol to keep the worst at bay, but it was a pretty retched month and a bit...

I went back to the doctor at the end of April and she signed me up for various treatments and exercises. Every day I went in and started with "electricity" and then went down the hall had treatment with "paraffin" heating pads, and then went to the exercise hall. There I was with the group exercises for the first 15 minutes as my therapist was doing the group and me at the same time. She would then either give me massage on my shoulder joint (read: owwwww, but it helps!) or more exercises to do for the next 15 minutes. For 10 days I then had a 15 minute massage (I know, hard life!).

After those first 10 days, I went to the doctor for a check-up and although my neck was better, it still wasn't completely better and the shoulder still had a way to go... so she gave me another 10 days of this. She just switched out my manual massage for an ultrasound "massage" (which was also very good!).

In the beginning, I really didn't know what to expect, but after a couple of days you figure out the system and see that it works really well. I also made friends with some of the people with whom I was doing the treatments at the same time which was really fun.

The only bad part was that I needed to get a copy of my treatment records for my insurance.  You would think I had asked for the holy grail! It was very frustrating as no one ever asks for this, because most people are in the health care system, so you pay around 10% of the costs (or free if you are over 65) and don't need to get records for their insurance as it is all in the same system. However, as I am not in the system, I paid it in full and will get it back from my insurance and I needed proof that the doctor had prescribed these exact treatments... not just the fact that I had paid. They gave me the run around for a couple of days until I asked the right person the right question and eventually got sent to the archivist where I was given an official request form which had to be approved by the hospital director - and then I got a copy no problem! But in the meantime you can imagine how fun it was - NOT!

I am soooooo much better now than when I started it and I now know the exercises and will continue those, as that is definitely the key! So I am VERY grateful to the physiotherapists and the amazing people who work at the orthopedic hospital... But to end off this blog post, I just have to share something that I thought was funny. They give us a card where they have my diagnosis, and the various treatments, and then I carry that from place to place as. of course, the people in the different places change and this way I get the treatment I need. On the back of the card there are these "remarks to patients":
They include things like "turn your phone off" and "if you don't come three times, then you will be excluded and have to start again". The one I found funny is the last one: "Please don't come in an alcoholised state". Only in Bosnia!


Victor said...

Ha ha! Funny comments. :-) I think we would say "don't come drunk."

You said physiotherapy a lot as they say in South Africa/UK/etc., but you titled it Physical Therapy as they say in the US. Any reason?

Belinda Chaplin said...

Yeah, I was translating the "alcoholised state" literally, because it is pretty cute... but also the Physical Therapy (which is fizikalna terapija in the local language), so that is why there were both British and a American English in there :)

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