“You can’t imagine what it felt like to wake up in the ICU and not know where you are, what happened, and then realize that you can’t move.” While visiting his family, Mr. E had fallen down steps and sustained a spinal cord injury, a devastating injury he was unable to recall. After a long hospital stay, Mr. E was discharged from a long-term rehab facility and referred to Heartland Home Health Care Serving Northeast Ohio.
His physical therapist, Dale, was determined to get Mr. E out of his power chair and walking before the first hint of spring in Cleveland. Mr. E’s own goal was to be able to leave his home and eat at a restaurant under his own power. Dale made Mr. E’s goal his own goal, and together the two began an incredible journey.
The first step was to get Mr. E out of his chair and walking independently with a walker. Dale soon realized that underneath all that determination, Mr. E was terrified of falling. So Dale worked with Mr. E on controlled falls in a safe environment and the steps to take to get back up. Once Mr. E felt more in control, they worked on strength training and balance activities, and tackled obstacles such as navigating his home, climbing steps and getting in and out of bed. Each new success was another victory and, eventually, Dale was able to transition Mr. E to a walker.
Heidi, Mr. E’s occupational therapist, helps patients regain their ability to do small, but important tasks to be more independent in their daily lives. At the start, Mr. E was completely dependent on others for food preparation, dressing and basic hygiene responsibilities. But with Heidi’s help, he is now able to make his own lunch, dress himself and manage his own hygiene.
Dale and Heidi worked with Mr. E every week until April. To celebrate all of his accomplishments, the Heartland team took Mr. E to his favorite pizzeria. He was able to exit his home, safely get into a car and walk into the pizzeria on his own using his walker, accomplishing the goals he and his therapists had strived for.