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Seeing Positive Change for Clients Brings Change for Everyone

By Ansam Taleb Abu Sabha, Senior Physiotherapist
Published February 16, 2021
A woman wearing a hijab sits at an angle with her back to the camera.

One of my goals in life is to make a difference among people who need my help, because the way other people remember you is from the way you touch their days. Also, making a difference will give you the motivation to continue to bring a smile to people’s faces, and that is what I achieve by working with CVT as a physiotherapist.

For me, life from the moment of birth to the moment of death is a journey of travel. So we should be kind to people because life is hard enough for them. I believe this is actually what CVT does: we try to be a part of the healing journey of our clients and give them as much support as possible, because only giving can help replace what they lost.

Our life is full of choices, and you are the only one who can decide which choice to make. I had a client who chose a very hard path, the path of determination. She did this because her goal was to be able to make a difference in her life.

This Sudanese client came to CVT seeking help after she heard about us from her neighbors and saw their progress after care. When she came to the center, she was using a walker because of a knee injury caused by the war and the traveling she made between regions of conflict. When I first spoke to her, she said, “I am always in pain, my knee hurts. I can’t take care of the simple requests for my children. I am their mom and they should count on me.”

She had been complaining about a knee injury for seven years due to direct trauma from falling while she was escaping with her family from military forces. This injury affected her ability to do daily activities and to give proper support to her children. She had difficulties standing and walking; she was using the walker to help but at the same time she was reluctant to do outside activities because of her pain. She told me she was afraid of what people around her would say. This made her avoid interacting with people, and she became isolated.

During the assessment I asked about her main goals, and she said, “I want to be independent and offer my children what they need. I want to walk without using the walker. I want to be free and move easily.”

Based on my assessment, I found that the muscles around her knee were tight and weak and that there was some ligament damage. Her experience during the war meant that her knee was exposed to a lot of stress and strain following the injury, which made it worse and then affected her daily activities, especially standing and walking. Also, the effect that the trauma experience had on her psychologically had heightened the pain that she felt, making it even harder for her to cope.

My client had visited a doctor in the past, but it didn’t help. She said, “He did certain tests for me, but at the end of the assessment he said I needed surgery and a new joint. For me this was out of the question because I don’t have money, so he gave me a pain killer medication. But deep inside I knew there is another solution.”

Her CVT services included group counseling, group and individual physiotherapy sessions. I developed a treatment plan based on her needs and goals and included many types of exercises. First we focused on managing her pain with education, stretches, self-massage and range of movement exercises for her knee. I taught her how to walk independently with minimal assistance and progress to walking without using the walker or assistance. We practiced moving from sitting to standing and distributing the weight evenly, and how to ascend and descend stairs with little help.

When she and her family started to notice these changes happening, she was so happy about the progress that she told me that her little girls said to her, “Mom I am noticing huge changes and I am so proud of you – now you prefer to sit with us instead of being alone, and you call me less for helping you.”

Session after session, the client’s progress was obvious and I was able to see how her self-confidence improved. She was challenging herself to reach her goals and she started to walk inside and around the house without using the walker while doing the exercises.

In front of her eyes there was one thing to achieve, which was walking freely. She was highly motivated and determined. I was so inspired from her motivation. She said to me once, “To lose hope for tomorrow is more dangerous and painful than death itself, so instead of losing hope I will continue – hope is the only way to live a true life.” And that is actually what she did.

After nine sessions, when I called her for a new appointment, she said that she had a surprise for me. The next day she came to CVT with a big smile on her face and tears full of joy. She came alone, and she came without the walker. She came to CVT with a lot of words full of thanks and gratitude, and she told every client waiting at the reception area, “This place changed my life! They teach you how to trust yourself, how to be independent, and the most important thing is to not lose hope.”

For me working at CVT is like the dressing on your wound. We stay with the clients in the healing journey until we feel that the wound is healed. I believe you should enjoy the little things you have, enjoy the simplest things you will get, such as a smile full of joy from a client. And I always remind myself to let the name of CVT draw a sincere smile, for everyone.

Ansam Taleb Abu Sabha
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Ansam Taleb Abu Sabha
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