Great-grandmother and Rehabilitation Patient
"If a doctor recommends that somebody go to MidMichigan Gladwin Pines and get their feet back under them, they should do it. It’s more than a person can do at home. It really helps."
Rehabilitation Helped Her Overcome Illness and Make the Most of New Knees
When Marilyn Wright needed rehabilitation to overcome a complicated set of problems, she was glad to find MidMichigan Gladwin Pines right in her own home town.
While in Florida for the winter with her husband, Edmund, the 78-year-old Gladwin woman had both knees replaced, but developed a life-threatening MRSA infection in her left knee.
“I was sick for months” Marilyn said. “They thought I was not going make it.” Edmund was so concerned that he called the family down to Florida to be with Marilyn.
Fortunately, she began to recover and was eventually able to travel home, where she consulted a Midland Orthopaedic Surgeon, John Murphy, D.O. To help beat the infection, he removed the artificial knee in her left leg and replaced it with a spacer containing antibiotics.
Marilyn had two stays at Gladwin Pines. The first was designed to help her get strong enough to go home and heal fully in preparation to receive a permanent left knee replacement, and to start regaining the ability to do activities of daily living.
“I was in a wheelchair and not able to walk,” Marilyn said. “They worked with me to learn how to get from the bed to the wheelchair, from there to a walker, to a chair and so forth,” she said.
In addition to learning these types of transfers, Marilyn began doing strengthening exercises. She also had occupational therapy to learn new ways to do day-to-day activities and some speech therapy to overcome the effects of being so ill.
The Gladwin Pines staff worked closely with Marilyn’s surgeon to meet her needs. While physical and occupational therapists guided her rehabilitation, the nurses kept a close watch on her surgical site, made sure she received prescribed medications, and arranged for laboratory work, X-rays and other tests.
With Gladwin Pines literally connected to MidMichigan Medical Center–Gladwin, Marilyn could go for tests without leaving the building. It was much less stressful than being transferred to another facility by ambulance.
When Marilyn arrived at Gladwin Pines, she was very weak, didn’t know what to expect and had a lot of questions. Before long, though, the personable great-grandmother developed a rapport with her therapists.
“The therapists and nurses were very careful and attentive with me. I had poor balance and a tendency to fall. If I took a misstep, boy, they were right there,” she said. She did all they asked of her, worked hard and went home in about four weeks, ready for her new left knee.
Marilyn came back to MidMichigan Gladwin Pines for about four weeks after knee-replacement surgery to work on her strength and balance, self care and joint safety.
“We worked in the therapy room two hours a day,” Marilyn said. “We would joke and have a lot of fun, along with doing our work. They put weights on my ankles and I’d raise my legs. I had to learn to bend my knees again.”
With her outgoing personality, Marilyn also made friends with other patients. Edmund was able to come and have meals with her, choosing a selection from the daily menu card, and even bring their little dog for visits.
Back home now, Marilyn is doing well and can walk without even a cane. “My speech and other abilities have all come back,” she said. “My new knees feel different, but I don’t have the pain I did before. Put me in back of a shopping cart and I can go forever.”
Marilyn’s philosophy is that you can make the best or the worst of a situation, and she chose to make the best. “That’s why I’m getting along good,” she said.
Her positive outlook is also reflected in her favorite hobbies: making beautiful greeting cards and recording favorite memories in artistic scrapbooks. She’s back to enjoying both those activities and many more.
“The people at Gladwin Pines were just so marvelous, I can’t say enough,” she said. “And it’s such a nice facility. I ended up having an enjoyable time and making friends I will never forget.”
“If a doctor recommends that somebody go to MidMichigan Gladwin Pines and get their feet back under them, they should do it. It’s more than a person can do at home. It really helps.”
MidMichigan Gladwin Pines offers short-term rehabilitation with a specially trained staff devoted exclusively to helping short-term rehabilitation patients reach their maximum potential and return home. For more details about MidMichigan Gladwin Pines, or to schedule a tour, call (989) 426-3430.