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About the Book

About the Book

Run, Don't Walk: The Curious and Chaotic Life of a Physical Therapist Inside Walter Reed Army Medical Center

From 1909 to 2011, Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., provided care for injured American soldiers. During the hospital’s last ten years, intensified military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan combined with better body armor and trauma care made Walter Reed the world leader in amputee rehabilitation.

Adele Levine, P.T., worked as a physical therapist in the hospital’s rehabilitation department from 2005 to 2011.She hadn’t always wanted to be a physical therapist --- she had enrolled in physical therapy school mostly out of hopes it would lead to a reliable job, and had applied to Walter Reed because it was across the street from her apartment. Suddenly, Adele found herself on the front lines of the mostly unseen struggle to rehabilitate some of the most devastating battle injuries from the War on Terror.

From outside the glass walls of the hospital’s physical therapy clinic, nicknamed the Fishbowl by Adele, politicians and celebrities peered in daily at the therapists and patients, often visibly taken aback by the sight of their missing limbs and painful recoveries (4,158).

Inside the Fishbowl, however, the physical therapists cracked jokes and helped sneak in cookies and cheerleaders, while the patients compared stumps and wore “I Had a Blast in Afghanistan” t-shirts (21). It is here that Adele, Jim, Darcy, and all the other physical therapists used exuberant cheers, playful teasing, $5 plastic cones, and exercises pulled from Men’s Health magazine to battle apathy and desolation and get patients back on their feet.

Hundreds of patients came to the Fishbowl every week, including soft-spoken, recent immigrant Kai who soothes his wounds with chocolate (23), brain-injured but good-natured Juan who was intent on perfecting his walk (167), and the combative Pigeon, who insisted on working out to the brink of exhaustion to help him feel like a soldier again (213).

However, it is Cosmo that makes the biggest impact on Adele. A young and foul-mouthed soldier, Cosmo comes to Adele missing one leg. His journey to rebuild his life leaves him a double amputee, but ultimately allows him to live on his own terms, and in peace. “Life was his again,” writes Adele (156), and it’s Cosmo’s new life that makes her realize how far she’s come in building her own.

Outlandish, honest, and ultimately uplifting, RUN, DON'T WALK chronicles Adele’s work rehabilitating soldiers for their lives outside the historic walls of Walter Reed, and how her work helped Adele find her place within them.

Run, Don't Walk: The Curious and Chaotic Life of a Physical Therapist Inside Walter Reed Army Medical Center
by Adele Levine

  • Publication Date: April 10, 2014
  • Genres: Medicine, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Avery
  • ISBN-10: 1583335390
  • ISBN-13: 9781583335390