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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Understanding More

Published January 12, 2012 12:10 PM by Lisa Mueller

On New Year's Eve, just 12 short days ago, my husband and I awoke to a non-functioning furnace. It just wouldn't work. The house was cold but compared to some Wisconsin winters it was actually a fairly warm day - almost 40 degrees. My husband watched the furnace for a while and thought he had figured out the problem, but we didn't have any idea where to get the parts. So we called the heating people. They came over (three days later, after the holiday) and fixed the furnace within 10 minutes. Broken igniter. Easy solution.

I don't know anything about furnaces. Nothing. I don't know how they work. I have no idea if our furnace is gas or electric. I don't know the typical order-of-events for one area to fire and send heat through the rest of the home. In my mind, it is a miracle. If you told me I needed to change my furnace fluid every six months, I would probably head over to Home Depot and ask someone where to buy a bottle of furnace fluid. (I've been told that there actually isn't even a product called furnace fluid. It sounds legit. I would look like an idiot asking someone for a nonexistent product. That shows you how little I know about this subject. I've actually forgotten why I am even writing about this to begin with. Oh, yes... let me continue).

So, for someone to come over to my home and fix ours in less than 10 minutes, I was impressed. I sat in a cold house for three days because I didn't have the knowledge or equipment to fix the problem myself. The furnace man explained the basic principles of how the furnace works, explained how to perform some basic maintenance to ensure all the parts are working, gave me a lovely receipt and went on his merry way.

Let's look at this from a different perspective. The furnace man came to my home, evaluated the problem, found an area of weakness in the system, localized the source and replaced the part with a stronger one. He provided me with education and some home "exercises" to perform to prevent the issue from recurring.

I'd say it sounds like a lot of professions work in the same fashion as a physical therapist. We evaluate multiple systems, narrow down the cause of the problem, replace malfunctioning with compensatory or strengthening techniques, educate our patients and provide them with home exercises. Many of our patients know very little about the human body, just as I know almost nothing about furnaces. And that's the important part - he helped me understand how to prevent the problem from happening again. He empowered me to take control over a part of my life that I couldn't.

Whether your profession is physical therapy, heating and cooling, editing blogs or playing professional sports, working with others gives you the opportunity to extend your knowledge to someone else. Education is a powerful way to connect with other people. Teach them what you know. Help them understand ways to live their lives better.


Great association!

When I was a newly minted PT we had a colleague who wasn't great with cleaning. When he asked someone how they got their tub so clean, the response was "elbow grease". Yep, he went to the hardware store to find "elbow grease". So don't feel bad about furnace fluid.

Dean Metz January 12, 2012 3:59 PM

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