Walking on water with hydrotherapy

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I was never confident in the water, but if there’s one thing I’ll take away from my journey is the benefits of being in the water.

I started hydrotherapy at the London Clinic just two days post-op. I was given water proof dressing which meant the wound was protected and I could begin practicing my walking movement.

I was wheeled down to hydrotherapy and was first asked if I’d be able to take the steps into the pool. I got quite emotional as I hadn’t practiced stairs with the physio yet. Because of this, I was sat into a chair which lifted me up and placed me into the water. With the anaesthetic still in my system, being in another country and having had major reconstructive hip surgery, I was crying going into the pool. The tears soon turned to smiles as I realised I still had the use of my legs. I was guided through a number of exercises and stretches in the water with the physiotherapist. I walked gingerly up and down the pool until the half hour was up. I did hydro there every day until I went home. I was absolutely exhausted after each session. Although just a half hour, washing myself down in the shower afterwards was a chore. Towards the end of my stay there, I was feeling brighter and even stood up for my shower afterwards, washing my hair and relishing the opportunity to have a proper shower!

I had underestimated the shortage of hydrotherapy facilities in Ireland. Where I’m from in South County Limerick I had few options. So, I was home about three weeks before I could source anything. My advice would be to make sure you book your hydrotherapy well in advance. I had enquired before my operation but when I got home to book, they told me they were all booked out – until late August. This was the beginning of July! That, on top of the fact that COVID meant some places still weren’t accepting new or existing clients made it difficult. By some stroke of good luck, I learned of a woman from - literally – ten minutes down the road from me who offers hydrotherapy.

Snamh Linn (Swim with Us as Gaeilge) is based in Martinstown Co., Limerick. Orla Leddin was my instructor and brought me on board for four sessions. The London Clinic physios provided me with some documentation on the do’s and don’t’s. Each session we tried something new and pushed me out of my comfort zone. The first session I was nervous and very guarded. Limping in the pool. Orla reminded me that this is a special pool. The warmer water and stronger currents meant my weight was being supported. I eventually eased myself into it, concentrating on not limping. When I arrived for my second session, I swung my legs over the pool and lowered myself in and Orla and I looked at each other, shocked. I had grown in confidence after just one session with her. My limbs felt more mobile and less stiff. I was walking in the pool, doing squats in the pool and even planks! After four-weeks with Orla, it was time for land-physio.

I don’t know if I would have been in a different situation if I hadn’t had the hydro, but I can tell you I definitely grew in confidence because of it. My body didn’t feel as stiff or tight as it had. I couldn’t recommend Orla at Snamh Linn enough, she made me feel safe and competent. My next step is to find a regular pool nearby where I can use it at my leisure!

November 2021

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December 2021