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Tele-Rehab Stories: Gwen

Hello again readers! This is Perri-Lynn, excited to start this week with a little update about myself and a story for you! What have I been up to you ask?

I have been busy working with the Tele-Rehab 2.0 project and keeping up with my other courses. On top of that I have been enjoying the last of fall riding outside before the real snow comes! Busy, busy I know, the semester is flying by way too fast for me!

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a few of the patients that we’ve been able to treat with Tele-Rehab 2.0, and I’d like to use this blog to share a few stories with you in a short series.

Today, I am going to talk about Gwen.

Gwen is from Beaver Lodge, Alberta and still lives there today! She used to live on a farm but moved into town in the last few years. Gwen’s favourite things to do are working in her garden, reading, and sewing. She also loves boating and has spent a year and a half on a boat! Gwen and her husband spent this time in 2015 and part of 2016, doing The Great Loop.

The Great Loop is a continuous waterway open to travel and includes part of the Atlantic, Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America’s heartland.

Completion of this journey makes Gwen an official ‘Looper’ according to the National Ocean Service!

Unfortunately, Gwen has had vertigo for about 6 years. Vertigo is a sensation of movement, usually swaying or spinning, when a person isn’t moving. It can cause extreme nausea, dizziness, and difficulty moving. Although this is a common medical complaint, it is not the same as “lightheadedness”.

For Gwen, this meant that when she had an episode, she was unable to even stand up without difficulty. She could barely walk, let alone drive a car. It impacted her Great Loop trip, as any time she had an episode, they had to remain moored at port.

In an attempt to treat her symptoms, Gwen sought help from multiple physiotherapists, and even tried an acupuncturist, to try and get some relief from the ongoing attacks. But nothing seemed to work, and she felt as though she were out of options.

Enter Tele-Rehab 2.0! Gwen heard about the study through a friend, and as soon as she learned we were focusing on vertigo as one of our 4 areas, she knew she had to get involved.

Through Tele-Rehab 2.0, Gwen was able to receive some treatment for her vertigo at Lifemark in Grande Prairie. Our specialist, Sheelah Woodhouse, instructed the physiotherapist at Lifemark to provide the necessary manipulation to Gwen to treat her vertigo. Sheelah then sent Gwen home with some exercises to do daily, which have made a major difference to her symptoms.

The ability to connect with a professional virtually has given Gwen plenty of relief. She said the trip into Grande Prairie didn’t bother her much because it is only about half an hour and she is very accustomed to this commute. This minimal travel only became a real problem when she would get a severe vertigo attack. Then, even though her husband would drive, it was a painful and long trip.

After her Tele-Rehab 2.0 appointment, Gwen told me she hasn’t felt so good in a long time! The manipulation straightened out her symptoms and she hasn’t had her vertigo act up since. She’s excited to get back to sailing next summer!

Gwen thought the technology used with Tele-Rehab 2.0, including the infrared goggles, was easy to use and interesting! She shared with me that she felt like Sheelah was able to complete the assessment just as well as if they were together in person.

Through her appointment, Gwen was able to get a diagnosis of vertigo and vestibular migraines, which have symptoms similar to vertigo but explain the repetitive nature of her symptoms, especially in the spring. She said it felt good to get some answers as to what her symptoms were, and she was excited that she was able to connect with someone so knowledgeable about vertigo. Gwen was particularly grateful to get some answers, as she’s been dealing with a hip problem that has complicated matters.

Overall, Gwen’s experience with Tele-Rehab 2.0 was top notch. She felt good about using the equipment and being able to connect with a professional in the area. Gwen is exactly the kind of patient we aim to help with Tele-Rehab 2.0.

Gwen says she can’t speak highly enough of this project, and we hope that we’ll be able to bring this support to other patients across Alberta soon.

Check back next week for another Tele-Rehab 2.0 patient story!!

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