This article originally appeared in Be Well, a health
information newsletter published for members of the Greater Marlborough
As a motorcycle police officer there is no light duty. So getting back to
work was the challenge facing Officer Joe Pacific after the 30-year veteran of
the Marlborough Police Department was broadsided by a truck while on motorcycle
patrol, shattering both bones in his lower right leg. "It was really bad," he
said, explaining how the surgeon used bone grafts, screws and plates to rebuild
his leg during a six-and-a-half hour operation. "I didn't think I'd make it back
to work, or even walk again," he admitted.
Not a happy scenario for an avid runner and skater who was passionate about
riding motorcycles - something he had done since he was 12.
"But I healed well," Officer Pacific continued. "And I was motivated to get
back to work because I really love my job." After recuperating from surgery, he
began physical therapy at a local facility. "But I wasn't improving like I
thought I should," he said. "I felt I needed a more aggressive treatment plan."
So Officer Pacific turned to Marlborough Hospital's Rehabilitation Services
Department. "They'd helped me through some previous injuries, and I felt their
approach was more what I needed," he said. "They'll do whatever it takes to help
you achieve your personal goals.
"I took whatever they could give me - weight training, stretching, drills,
balance exercises," he said. "I even walked with crutches from my house to
therapy, over a mile. Any kind of exercise, I'd do it."
"He was determined," affirmed Sonya May, PTA. "His goal was to get back out
on patrol on his bike, and that became our goal. Not many people can come back
from an injury like this, but he worked hard and did what we asked of him. Now
the only thing that keeps him off his bike is the weather."
Officer Pacific returned to motorcycle patrol about a year after his
accident. His first day back on the job, he stopped by Marlborough Hospital's
Rehabilitation Services Department to say thank you. "They worked me hard,"
Officer Pacific said, laughing. "But it was what I needed. I would not have made
it back to 100 percent otherwise. The therapists are fantastic. I feel very
fortunate to have had them by my side."