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Published on September 14, 2017

Former Nurse Avoids Surgery With Physical Therapy

Nancy Van Norman

Nancy Van Norman has some impressive credentials--RN, BSN, MBA—and she has put those to good use over more than 40 years as a nurse and health care administrator. Now in retirement, she certainly still notices things: the seemingly small things like a doctor washing his hands before shaking hers, the medium things like the thoroughness of a physical therapy assessment, and the big things like good outcomes that make surgery unnecessary. On all counts, Nancy was pleased with her care at Cone Health MedCenter Kernersville.

Last fall, sitting quietly in a car while on a 700-mile trip to a wedding at the shore of Lake Ontario, she developed pain in her low back and tailbone. Time passed but the pain didn’t, so she took a friend’s recommendation and met with Evan Corey, MD, at Cone Health Primary Care at MedCenter Kernersville. After an x-ray and some conversation together, Dr. Corey referred Nancy to Sue Shaver, physical therapist, in the same building.

Nancy Van NormanNancy met Sue for her assessment and found her to be “just excellent” and “very thorough.” Nancy has a sound basis for that judgement, because circumstances had made her the patient for some intense physical and occupational therapy in years past. She was definitely relieved when Sue, on the second visit, told her that she thought the problem could be worked out with exercise. To Nancy that meant not only relief from her pain, but relief from the worry that she might need surgery to solve this problem.

Sue gave Nancy a list of exercises to do at home too, and those helped a lot. At the retirement complex where she lives, there are a number of exercise program options, so she asked for Sue’s input about which would be best for her. Nancy tried the one Sue suggested and found it was indeed helpful. In fact, she continues to go to that three times a week, smiling broadly as she lovingly calls it “the torture class.” There’s also a swimming pool at Nancy’s residence. It’s another great place for her to exercise safely and one she is comfortable with, since she was a competitive swimmer in her younger days.

She has had no pain since her fourth physical therapy visit, and that’s even got her thinking about competing in the Presbyterian Homes Olympics this fall. She knows that’s a great outcome!