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Victor plays tennis after his recovery.
Doctors informed the University Heights resident that he had bilateral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which caused several of his organs to fail. He also suffered collapsed lungs and a cardiac arrest while comatose, prompting doctors to hook Victor up to a respirator, start him on a dialysis machine and perform a tracheotomy in order to stabilize him. These issues, combined with the effects from his polyneuropathy and myopathy — a pair of conditions that drastically weaken one’s muscles and nerves — greatly impaired Victor’s body to the point where moving without assistance was an impossible task for the 40-year-old.
The Path to Rehabilitation
In April 2010, Victor was transferred to the Rehabilitation Center at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. For eight weeks, he worked with Sharp Grossmont’s dedicated staff of therapists and nurses, participating in a series of rehabilitative programs designed to help bring normalcy back into his life. Though Victor was ready to start working toward a full recovery, he knew it would be no easy task.
“When I arrived at Sharp Grossmont, I was so scared. This was going to be a really hard journey. But, fortunately, from day one everyone was so positive,” Victor recalls.
Victor’s road to recovery began with inpatient rehabilitation, where he spent more than 15 hours each week working toward restoring his independence and mobility. One hour of his daily schedule included speech therapy, where he practiced breathing exercises to help improve the volume of his voice, his ability to say full sentences and even to swallow his food properly.
After rehabilitating at Sharp Grossmont, Victor is back on the tennis courts.
Victor accessed occupational therapy services, where another therapist assisted him with his ability to perform basic life tasks such as brushing his teeth, getting dressed and writing. As many of these activities were dependent on the strength and flexibility of his arms and legs, Victor also took part in stretching exercises with his occupational therapist
Victor’s strength, flexibility, and stamina all improved as time went on, and by the time he was discharged in June 2010, he knew that all of the hard work he had put in was worth the effort. “My three hours of therapy five to six days week for eight weeks was paying off. I was able to reach each goal I set for myself and eventually walk out on my last day.”
Victor returned to Sharp Grossmont for a six-week outpatient rehabilitation program. Several days per week, he worked to strengthen his limbs and extend his range of motion with the help of a physical therapist. Initially, a lot of focus was placed on building up Victor’s legs and trunk, stretching his limbs to ease the task of walking and working on a recumbent stepper bicycle to help improve his lower body strength. As Victor’s body grew stronger and more accustomed to these exercises, the intensity of his workouts was bumped up accordingly. Now much more mobile than he was before starting outpatient rehabilitation, Victor was allowed to participate in several more advanced programs to help improve his balance and strength, including Sharp Grossmont’s aquatic therapy and various balance exercises from Nintendo’s Wii Fit system.
A Return to Normalcy
In December 2010, Victor was discharged from outpatient therapy. Once unable to move even a finger, Victor is now back to living a healthy and active lifestyle, capable of walking without a cane, playing tennis with friends and even driving his own car.
While the Rehabilitation Center’s staff credits Victor’s recovery to his steadfast determination, positive attitude, and loving support system, Victor attributes a large amount of his success to everyone at Sharp Grossmont.
“I owe so much to them” says Victor, looking back at his overall experience. “The way I see it, Sharp Grossmont helped me get my life back, and everyone who was involved means so much to me and my family.”
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's rehabilitation services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician who can refer you to a physical therapist, call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about rehabilitation, visit Rehabilitation in Adult Health or read the Rehabilitation News archive.