Patients Age: 71
Admission Date: 6/18/2018
Admitted From: Hospital for Special Surgery
Discharge Date: 7/31/18
Discharged To: Home
Length of Stay: 43 days
Reason for Stay: Short Term Rehabilitation
How did this patient hear about the Riverside? Friends referred him.
Details of Experience:
Mr. Tony was admitted to The Riverside from the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) on June 18th, 2018, where he had undergone a procedure involving the removal of his posterior cervical-thoracic spine C2-T3, osteotomy pedicle subtraction spine C7, and a laminectomy C1-C2. Additionally, back in March 2012, Tony underwent cervical spine surgery. These surgeries caused him to hunch over and pitch forward, causing severe pain in the posterior neck. His basic motor functions were affected resulting in difficulty extending his head, right forearm, and fingers which had been numb for approximately three years. He also suffered from limited ability to use his hands for dexterity purposes, as well as difficulty with balance. The skilled physicians at Hospital for Special Surgery informed Tony of the risks this particular surgery can cause, and they were confident in repairing the damaged spine. The area they would be performing the surgery on is known as the cervical spine also known as the back of the neck. Nerves congregate in this narrow location, which affects the upper bodies movement. Completion of the surgery would involve Tony wearing a neck brace for several weeks and maintain no movement of the neck.
The meticulous and tedious work conducted by the surgeon was completed after several hours. Now the healing and monitoring of Tony’s reconstructed spine was about to begin. He had spent a few days recovering until the surgeon gave the therapist at the hospital the go-ahead to begin their work. After just several days of therapy, it was evident that the surgery had been successful. His motor functions were slowly returning to his upper body, yet he still needed assistance with his balance and his basic activities of daily life. His lower body was weak and required a tremendous amount of improvement. His upper body was getting stronger with his dexterity improving slowly. Tony was fortunate to have his dedicated brother at his side. His brother provided spiritual, emotional support and love as he looked out for his brother through these years of pain.
The discharge date from the hospital was approaching, the surgeons and therapist from the Hospital of Special Surgery recommended Tony consider going to a skilled nursing facility to help complete his therapy. Tony discussed the options with his brother. Tony had a friend that has seen other skilled nursing facilities in the area and always spoke highly of The Riverside. When the hospital social worker arrived with a list of skilled nursing facilities Tony might consider going to, he smiled and said, “I would like to try The Riverside.” On June 18th, 2018, Tony arrived at The Riverside with his brother closely at his side. The journey to recovery begins.
Upon arrival The Riverside Rehabilitation Center, Tony was greeted with open arms as each department had representatives greet Tony and his brother, answering their questions and concerns. A member of The Riverside Concierge arranged a transportation schedule for Tony’s brother, so he can conveniently visit without having to worry about paying for a taxi or public transportation.
The following morning, a thorough evaluation was conducted by a team of experienced therapists. At this time, Tony was barely even able to take even one single step, requiring maximum assistance. He also required minimal assistance with standing, maximum assistance for his ADL’s (activities of daily living) and maximum assistance for lower body functioning. Wearing his neck brace with severe neck pain created an obstacle. Even with being on medication, Tony was in a tremendous amount of pain. One of The Riversides Urban Zen therapists stopped by for a relaxing session of Reiki and yoga therapy. Tony found these sessions helped relieve his pain and distracted him from all that he has been going through.
As days turned into weeks, Tony and his incredible therapist, Jason, made tremendous progress with balance and lower body strength. It turned out that Tony had been in the ballet for many years. Using Tony’s experience and Jason’s creativity, Jason altered his treatment so that Tony can use his previous skills to his advantage. It all started on the balancing bars. Tony rapidly began to progress from sitting in the wheelchair, to putting weight on his legs while holding onto the bars. Although his lower body was not accustomed to his own weight, he slowly began to shuffle his feet. Jason provided him with a walker, and with practice Tony was no longer shuffling his feet, he began to take his first steps.
Tony and his brother went back to see the doctors at Hospital for Special Surgery. The doctors were very proud of Tony’s progress, and eventually gave Tony permission to remove the neck brace. With a big smile, Tony looked at himself in the mirror without the neck brace. He had become accustomed to seeing himself with a bulky neck brace. As he looked in the mirror he said the followingm, “I hardly recognize myself without the neck brace.” He looked at his brother and asked, “Do you think people will actually recognize me when we return to The Riverside?” His brother replied, “You may need to put the brace on every so often so they can recognize you.” Upon returning to 14th floor which Tony called home, staff members did not recognize him. It was only when they saw Tony’s brother did they realize the gentlemen sitting in the wheelchair was actually Tony without the neck brace!
From here on, Tony’s therapy sessions were rapidly becoming small victories. He was using a walker, taking 50 steps only requiring minimal assistance with ADL’s and balance was becoming a much easier task. Weeks later, Tony’s progress continued. He was walking 175 feet with modified assistance and was able to transfer independently. On July 24th, 2018 Tony heard good news. With the clearance of the rehab department, the team had set a discharge date for the 31st of July!
When the big day arrived, Tony, along with his brother, said their goodbyes to each staff member that cared for Tony. Hugging and shaking hands with every person they interacted with. The staff all received blessings for all the work they had done for Tony. It was truly an emotional scene filled with tears of joy and laughter of the memories made. No matter where Tony and his brother may go, they will always know where to find their extended family at 150 Riverside Drive.