Hello, and welcome back to Gracie Meets…! I would like to share a story. My grandma had a stroke recently and ended up paralyzed on her whole left side. When she had to go to the hospital, a physical therapist was there to help rehabilitate her. I was interested in what all a physical therapist has to do for their job. I have the pleasure to interview Mr. Armando Espinosa, a physical therapist, so if you’re interested in the world of physical therapy, go ahead and take a listen!
Cover Art: Kyleigh Kinsey. Instagram: @ato._.noodle
Gracie Solomon 00:13
Hello and welcome back to Gracie Meets… Before we begin the show, I wanted to share a story. My grandma had a stroke recently and ended up paralyzed on her whole left side. When she had to go to the hospital, a physical therapist was there to help rehabilitate her. I was interested in what all a physical therapist has to do for their job. So I invited Mr. Armando Espinosa. Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us about your job?
Armando Espinosa 00:39
All right, well, my name is Armando Espinosa. I am a physical therapy assistant, but my job career is I help people work through their injuries, any diseases, pathologies that a patient that I come across at their being evaluated by a physical therapists, and I follow a plan of care that a physical therapist writes up and come up with different exercises within that plan of care. Always got to modify some stuff within the evaluation. Physical therapy has a very wide range of facet of disciplines, not only orthopedics, which just means, like joints such as sports injuries, regular injuries like a sprained ankle or a fractured elbow or anything. We work with neurological disorders, and traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, pediatrics, we work with babies and kids and teenagers with a lot of times developmental delay or some kind of cerebral palsy from a birth defects. Yeah, so that’s kind of what the whole realm We also work with someone with like pressure ulcers or a burn and debridement to help heal that wound up. So.
Gracie Solomon 02:14
Why did you pick this profession over anything you might have been offered or thinking about in college?
Armando Espinosa 02:22
I picked this profession because it really goes along with my personal lifestyle and development. I always as a young kid was always interested in health and fitness and sports. And I was a runner when I was younger, and then I turned that into cross country track sport athlete throughout middle school, high school, and I played baseball within those years and then I was always interested in helping people teaching people about just health and wellbeing. And just living a more of an upright life as far as fitness is concerned. And I picked it because it was more aligned with my lifestyle, my interest and I was actually thinking about different avenues in college at University Houston main campus. And I was thinking man, I could be, you know, more business or so I tried it out to get accounting class didn’t like it. My degree was Exercise Science at University of Houston. And then I went back for the physical therapist system program at Houston Community College.
Gracie Solomon 03:34
It’s cool that you turned your sports into a job. I was a cross country runner a couple year ago, and now I’m in track. So I think that’s really cool that you chose to do that.
Armando Espinosa 03:49
Yeah, it’s great. I mean, just the way the body works the biomechanics of how somebody runs, walks, jogs, cycles. So yeah, it’s very interesting and I’m still interested and I still love what I do.
Gracie Solomon 04:05
Who do you think is a perfect fit for this job? Like, is there a specific kind of person that would Excel?
Armando Espinosa 04:12
You know, to be honest, specific and really kind of dive deeper into that subject when you’re actually licensed. Physical Therapy, the whole realm of it is very broad. I feel that I love people, I love helping people. And I integrate that with fitness and staying healthy. And when I was kind of figuring out what I wanted to do after college or stay within my, my realm of health and fitness, I just thought to myself, you know, what do I like to do what kind of person have I been so far and leading up to a career and so someone that has a drive to helping people and helping others that can’t help them themselves such as learning how to walk again, learning how to get out of bed safely, how to get up and down from a chair or wheelchair safely, even down to the anatomy of their body on different injuries and surgeries that they may have had or they may have. And so explaining that the educational system to them that you know, an everyday person wouldn’t know all the medical jargon they’ve been thrown at their doctors or nurses, they still don’t understand. So at the level of the physical therapy, and the physical therapy assistant, my job is to help those patients get through those times of questions. You know, education is big is key in my degree. So if you like to teach, you can definitely teach a patient something about what what’s going on in their body, why they’re feeling pain or what they could be feeling after surgery they may be wanting to have or maybe they want to avoid. And so that’s why you’re there to help them through strengthening something that may be weak. So if you have drive to teach, if you’re into fitness, if you’re into any kind of sport, it doesn’t have to be running, if you’re always curious about how things work in the body, how to get back from injuries, you know, I think that broad spectrum of thought can get you to a place of physical therapy. And then once you become into the program, you learn all about the program, then you learn different facets of physical therapy routes, like working with children, or working with sports athletes, or the geriatric population that I work with currently. The older folks. Or the neurological disorders, the traumatic brain injury, then those kind of things you’ll learn in the program. But as far as that it’s just loving people, helping teaching and growing within themselves and others.
Gracie Solomon 06:58
I know that Physical Therapy is in the medical line of work. So how has COVID-19 affected your job? Because I know this is a very hands-on line.
Armando Espinosa 07:10
Well, it’s affected very heavily as, as you’d expect. I was very concerned about contracting this, you know, disease virus in the beginning, but really, it’s, it’s we, we put on masks, we put on our gloves, we gown up, we ask the questions that therapists and nurses that check the patients in to the doctors, they give them a battery of questions like, have you had a fever in the past seven days or two weeks. Or have you come in contact with anyone who had a fever could be questionable having COVID-19, or anything and we travel outside the country to the kind of countries that have started the viruses or the most populated or. So there was a huge awareness in the medical community and so and personally I was you know definitely concerned of myself because I’m coming in contact with them and so I wanted to know if I had the virus I got tested myself in March. Not that I had any symptoms or anything or came in contact with anyone who had symptoms but I just wanted to know for myself peace of mind that I was it possibly affecting others. The test came back negative, you know, I didn’t have COVID-19 or any sickness for that matter. So and we have the document you know, we’ve been asking these questions screening every visit, not just one time, we screen every visit, we take their temperatures, and normally we do all that anyways, during a visit or before the visit starts. We’ll take temperature, we’ll take the heart rate, oxygen saturation, and their blood pressure and their respiration. So we take all those parameters and if something’s off, we have to contact the agency and kind of follow up and but so far everyone’s been healthy. This is probably the healthiest I’ve seen all my patients has been since I’ve started working.
Gracie Solomon 09:20
Well that’s good. How could someone interested in your profession get more information?
Armando Espinosa 09:25
Someone interested? Well, number one, your podcast is great. Listening to the segment to learning firsthand how to, how to get started and what kind of mindset you have. But I went to the Houston Community College and the medical center Coleman campus you can be 18 years old, fresh out of high school, and people, when people graduate high school early, you can go in once you graduate high school, you have to take some prereqs, but the prereqs are listed on the website when I went through, they might have changed it now because of everything being turned over, but they would have interview nights or orientations, a couple times a month or one once a week to kind of get students or give someone awareness of what’s in the program what’s all in there. So if you go to the Houston Community College and navigate to the Coleman campus in the medical center and into the physical therapy assistant program, you don’t have to have a degree to get in bachelor’s, you just have to have I think the five or six prereqs classes, pass those you know flying colors, then you have to go to an interview, or go to their orientation, see if you like it or not. If it’s your cup of tea, they explain what everything was going on in the program, what you see what you may see not see. Then you go to the interview program, you have to get some contact hours, some volunteer hours to kind of make sure you want to be in this program and the profession. Once you get those hours done, I believe I’m gonna say it’s like 50 hours or a hundred hours, you get all that application in with your classes and you apply interview night. Ask you about your questions, physical therapy related, career related, kind of these questions you’re asking me. And so, yeah, so that that’s the biggest thing that the first step and then and then you go on to the program.
Gracie Solomon 11:23
Well thanks for letting me interview you. I had fun.
Armando Espinosa 11:27
Yeah, you’re welcome.
Gracie Solomon 11:28
And I know you have a podcast so if you would like to shout that out.
Armando Espinosa 11:32
Yeah, yes. My podcast is Houston H-town Haps. I feature all my cycling and some of my yoga and I salsa dance and However, I’m a big bike racer mountain and road biker and I pretty much talk about my where I’m at and different parts of Texas usually I’m out in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Austin or Waco and or I don’t know anywhere. There’s usually no little to no internet service. So which is great. So that’s my podcast. I also have a YouTube channel called Get Mad at a TV, kind of the same concept. So, yeah, thanks for having me.
Gracie Solomon 12:13
Physical Therapists definitely have an important role in our society. If no one was there to help people who were injured, there’d be tons of family members who wouldn’t get to spend time with their friends and family. Usain Bolt or Rob Gronkowski wouldn’t be able to do what they love anymore. Our world truly needs people who are caring enough to rehabilitate people with life changing injuries. No normal person could do something as important as that. But then again, show me a normal teenager. Thanks for listening.
Thanks for tuning in. If you like Gracie Meets… subscribe so you can listen every time a new episode is dropped. And follow Gracie Meets… on Instagram at Gracie dot Meets (@gracie.meets). Tune in next Saturday for an outgoing interview with a judge.