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Physical therapist thrives on helping patients regain function

by Dawn Brazell
Public Relations

Lori Merrow, DPT, doesn't let it bother her that at 32 she's one of the oldest in her class. Life has a way of taking a circuitous route to end up right where it's supposed to. At least that's what the 2012 College of Health Professions graduate has found.

The mother of two followed her husband to Charleston, who left the military to do contract work overseas. She had her undergraduate degree in recreational therapy with a license in aquatics but found it difficult to get a job. She did bartending and waitressing to help the family make ends meet, but found it wasn't satisfying.

Merrow, originally from Bessemer City, N.C., decided to go back to school and got accepted into MUSC's doctor of physical therapy program in 2009.

"I love school. I love the knowledge. I just enjoy learning whatever I can about a subject."

Merrow familyDr. Lori Merrow admits husband Josh keeps her grounded. The Merrows, with sons, Kiser and Boston, kept in touch with Skype and email.

She admits at times it has been tough. With her husband overseas half of the time she's been in school, she's had to get creative with childcare for her sons Kiser, 10, and Boston, 4. "I've had to pay for a lot of childcare," she said.

It has taken sacrifices to push through, but she doesn't regret it. "It gave me confidence that I could raise two kids and get through school. You just find the strength from places that you didn't know you had."

Her children have been good sports. She was in a pediatrics class that focused on how to do assessments for children. "We had Boston come in and we had him doing crunches and push-ups."

She hopes to go into an area dealing with acute or outpatient care. "You see people come in on ventilators who can't even follow commands and then you see them walk out. It's fulfilling. You never know what you're going to get or what people are going to say. You're really teaching them how to regain function."

Technology has helped their family stay in touch. She has been able to email and Skype with her husband, Josh. On her last rehab rotation when she felt overwhelmed and stressed, she called to vent on her husband and he calmed her right down. "He can bring me to reality. He's very logical and analytical, whereas I'm more spontaneous."

She hopes one day to have ownership in a company, but wherever her path may lead, she wants to make sure she has patient contact. It's what she enjoys the most about physical therapy, she said.

She and her husband, who returned to the states this month, hope to stay in the area. She's glad to have Josh back into the swimming lesson, T-ball rotation. She laughs. "I told him, 'No more overseas or my hair's going to fall out."



Friday, May 18, 2012

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.