Getting Back To Her Life

HYANNIS – Three activities Peggie Griffin-Bretz of Yarmouth loves to do are travel with friends, walk her dog, Maggie, and indulge in her creative side by designing and hand-sewing beautiful quilts.

She retired from psychiatric nursing a few years ago, after working for the Veterans Administration for 30 years, and was looking forward to more time doing her favorite things. But the increasing pain in her left hip was holding her back.

“My hip had been bothering me for years,” said Griffin-Bretz.

An MRI showed no structural damage, so she kept thinking it was bursitis and that she would have to manage it by treating the pain with Tylenol and exercise.

Continuing to do her physical activities became increasingly difficult and walking Maggie was more challenging. The final straw was a trip to France a couple of years ago with some relatives.

“I couldn’t keep up with the group and one day I had to remain behind because the pain was too much,” said Griffin-Bretz. “That really got my attention.”

She talked with a couple of friends and they both recommended that she seePaul Dimond, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Falmouth Hospital. She had total hip replacement last January, spent three days in the hospital and about 1 ½ weeks at JML Care Center in Falmouth.

She credits her successful recovery to twoVisiting Nurse Association of Cape Codstaff, Mary Mahan, RN and Esther Hottentot, PT, who provided home services upon her discharge from JML.

“I could not have been happier with the care I received from these two professional women,” Griffin-Bretz wrote in a letter to the VNA of Cape Cod. “Mary, a very kind and upbeat person, solved an ongoing health issue I had when all the healthcare professionals I’d seen were unable to address it successfully. Esther was kind and gentle as she motivated me to exercise. She never made me feel bad if I couldn’t do everything I was supposed to do and so I found I did more.”

The ongoing health issue was severe gastrointestinal symptoms that weren’t able to be diagnosed or treated successfully. During Mahan’s last visit with Griffin-Bretz, they talked about the magnesium she had been taking for a long time to ease leg cramps, at the recommendation of an exercise instructor. Mary suggested that Griffin-Bretz stop taking the supplement to see if that was a contributing factor. The symptoms finally stopped.

“She was the only one who knew and she was right, which was amazing,” said Griffin-Bretz.

What she liked about Hottentot was the realistic goals she set for her and the support she gave her for her physical therapy.

“She never made me feel guilty if I couldn’t accomplish my goals, and I looked forward to her visits because she made it fun,” said Griffin-Bretz.

Hottentot also incorporated exercises into her daily activities. “For example, she showed me how to do exercises while I was brushing my teeth,” she said.

Griffin-Bretz is now back to quilting, taking Maggie for long walks, driving, shopping, and planning trips to Myrtle Beach, Italy and Savannah, Georgia. And the discomfort she used to have while flying is now gone.

“I would highly recommend the VNA of Cape Cod’s services, Mary and Esther were marvelous,” said Griffin-Bretz. “I can’t say enough about them, they were wonderful.”

By ROBERTA CANNON, Cape Cod Health News

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