Woman with COPD walks 2K another year

Physical therapy makes difference for Timmie Bell

After leaving the hospital Timmie Bell, 80, began physical therapy twice a week. She worked out on a seated bicycle and an arm pedal for three minutes at a time for weeks until she was able to pedal for 15 minutes. Gentle weightlifting was also incorporated in her therapy. Courtesy photo

After leaving the hospital Timmie Bell, 80, began physical therapy twice a week. She worked out on a seated bicycle and an arm pedal for three minutes at a time for weeks until she was able to pedal for 15 minutes. Gentle weightlifting was also incorporated in her therapy. Courtesy photo

In June 2016, Timmie Bell was hospitalized for an infection in her lungs. Her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, started as a small cough that left Bell struggling to breathe.

After leaving the hospital Bell, 80, began physical therapy twice a week. She worked out on a seated bicycle and an arm pedal for three minutes at a time for weeks until she was able to pedal for 15 minutes. Gentle weightlifting was also incorporated into her therapy.

Bell’s continued training led her to be able to utilize a rowing machine – and finally a treadmill.

A year later, Bell, donning a turquoise jacket on a cloudy day, walked The Loven Family Run and Walk 2K with her physical therapy assistant, Carrie Perkins, without the assistance of oxygen. Bell was “grateful” for the companionship during the walk, having a “lovely chat” along the way.

The event is hosted by Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation to support Valley View Care and EntireCare Rehab, where Bell receives her physical therapy.

Bell plans to walk the 2K again this year on March 24, despite an illness in February. She feared she would be unable to participate but has since improved.

“I think it speaks for itself that since June of ’17 I have had no congestive problems until February,” Bell said. “It’s not just the physical therapy – it’s the medication and the support of my physical therapy and my doctor.”

Bell is grateful to EntireCare Rehab & Sports Medicine for her progress and the support she’s received in preparation for the Loven Run.

“They’ve made a world of a difference and I’m grateful to them,” Bell said.

Bell also noted her husband, Tom Bell, was a supportive figure in her success.

“I have a very patient husband, he’s supported me. I’ll try to sleep in and he’ll say ‘Aren’t you going?’ He wants to make sure I go every opportunity I have,” Bell said. “[The therapy] has made such a difference in my life. I’m so grateful to the staff, they’re really great people.”

-- Follow Halie Chavez on Twitter @haliephoto

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