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Elizabeth Jones – MS, Occupational Therapist, Registered/Licensed, Patients’ Champion

After Spinal  Neck Surgery and recovery Why I Admire the Mayo Clinic, I was moved to Occupational and Physical Therapy. I knew what Physical Therapy is, but I had no idea what kind therapy could be provided for my occupation of Internet Consulting, Artificial Intelligence, and Writing. I soon found out that had to do with using my hands and personal hygiene.

I met my young therapist, Elizabeth Jones. She is from Apple Valley, MN (where my family and I lived for one year) and resides in Austin,  MN. She received her degree and Masters of Science at The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (where I grew up and received my Bachelor of Science Degree) but we never met until she gave me therapy at Mayo.

Elizabeth struck me as shy and serious and seemed a bit nervous but that was probably because I was sliced up and frazzled looking. I think I was still coming out of anesthesia to some degree, or maybe even a large degree. Anyway, I had no idea what occupational therapy is or would be but Elizabeth eased me into what it is about.

One of the first things Elizabeth did was to take me to the gym on our floor and show me what some of the equipment was for such as the large touch display that could be used to follow sprites with my finger. She also introduced me to some of the colored putty that I would play with. My initial conclusion was “this is going to be child’s play!”

Really, I knew it wouldn’t be child’s play because the reason I had surgery was my nervous system was being pressured and I was losing physical capabilities. I really needed to take therapy for the abilities that I was losing. It is not easy to admit to yourself that your body is no longer functioning as it always had.

The next thing we did was to go back to my hospital room to the toilet and bathing area. Elizabeth told me I would need to buy a

picker like the one she showed me. I think I told her that it was a silly idea and I would probably never use it. What I didn’t take in consideration was, I wouldn’t be able to bend down for quite a long time to pick things up off the floor. The neck surgery had hobbled me.

To be very frank, the picker is a very useful gadget and I wouldn’t be without it.

Occupational Therapy  is a college course in getting over inhibitions and learning humility. What do I mean by this?

Tradition says that one does not undress in front of a young woman you just met. In the hospital traditional rules do not apply. Therefore, you learn to get over inhibitions and you get a quick course in humility.

Elizabeth Jones, who I thought was shy and nervous made it easy for me to take directions and do tasks which prior to that time I would have said would not happen. She did that with a positive attitude and got me into position where I could heal on a faster basis with less pain and discomfort.

Elizabeth showed me how to use computer graphics to give my fingers more dexterity and to use putty to give my hands more strength. She also worked with me in a hygienic area and to stay clean. There was a lot of time invested in me and when I left the hospital about two weeks later I was in a much better position to live everyday life.

For that I am truly grateful. Considering the number of people she helps get back to normal, she is truly a champion.