By Nancy Cowley, marketing director
Imagine going from leading a full, active life, one day coming down with a sinus infection that migrates to your knees, and then ending up in the hospital needing surgery due to the swelling and infection in both of your knees.
Add to this sudden turn of events the need to go to a skilled nursing facility for short-term rehab to regain the use of your knees – only to find your diagnosis changed to “failure to thrive” a month later with the possibility of being put on a feeding tube and living in a nursing home the remainder of your life.
This would be a sobering thought for any of us, and unfortunately, local resident Genie Wood found herself in these circumstances just a few short months ago. Thanks to a rapid and responsive hospitalization, an excellent medical and rehab team at Life Care Center of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and extraordinary effort on Wood’s part, she is back home leading a full, active life again.
Wood transferred to Life Care Center of Coeur d’Alene on Sept. 24, 2015, needing both physical and occupational therapy before she could return home safely. When she arrived, she found it too painful to stand. She needed two associates to help her get in and out of bed. She was fearful of the pain and began to spiral downward in other areas as well. She did not care about food or participating in her therapy.
In her words, “I barely remember the first 30 days I was at Life Care.”
At this point, Dr. Harry Downs, the facility’s on-site physician, told Wood that he would need to change her diagnosis to “failure to thrive” and that she would eventually need a feeding tube and have to live in a nursing home for the rest of her life. This was the wakeup call Wood needed.
“I rejected any notion of this suggestion and determined to defy this new diagnosis,” Wood said. “This was the start of a new day.”
Defy the diagnosis she did.
She forced herself to eat and began enjoying food again. She turned a corner in therapy, and by early November, she was standing, working in the parallel bars and walking with the help of a brace and walker.
Physical and occupational therapists worked with Wood seven days a week. Physical therapists worked with her physical exercises to build her strength and help her regain range of motion in her knees. The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill®, a treadmill with a zip-in chamber that reduces gravity, was one of the physical therapy interventions that helped her regain her strength and range of motion. The OT team helped Wood in areas of personal care, such as getting dressed, bathing and grooming.
Wood’s recovery was a gradual process, and she felt that the entire team was instrumental in her rehab.
In her words, “The best part was realizing the team was really working for me. I was amazed at how the staff worked together, cooperated and complemented each other.”