Monica Sanford and Ronald Gellinger were hard-working, high-achievers, whose lives suddenly changed when they were stricken by afflictions that virtually left them unable to function.
Today, they are back on their feet and on the road to resuming normal lives, following treatment by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Franciscan St. Margaret Health – Dyer, under the care of its medical director, Revathy Ameeruddin, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, who calls the patients’ stories special.
“I am privileged to have been involved in the treatment of these two, wonderful patients, as was the entire RIC staff. Ronald’s and Monica’s willingness and effort to recover from such debilitating afflictions are an inspiration to all of us,” Ameeruddin said.
Sanford, 47, of Dyer, an Internal Revenue Service employee who also was attending graduate school, had gone to the dentist for tooth pain treatment and was found to have too-high blood pressure. A few days later, while awaiting a physician appointment, she awakened with symptoms of slurred speech and extremity weakness.
Sanford went to the Franciscan St. Margaret Health Emergency Department, where she was diagnosed with a stroke that subsequently left her unable to speak or understand language, eat properly, or move her extremities.
She was transferred to a Chicago hospital and after being stabilized, was returned, at her mother’s request, to the RIC-Franciscan St. Margaret Health. The hospital and institute have been been in partnership since 2008.
Following more than three months’ treatment, she was able to speak, return to a regular diet and able to use a walker, with assistance.
After being discharged, Sanford continued outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy at an RIC facility in Homewood, Ill.
She credits the RIC-Franciscan St. Margaret Health for being instrumental in her recovery efforts.
“I owe the doctor and all the staff and employees, my gratitude. I also feel I have made tremendous progress, due to my determination. I want to go back to work and to living a normal life,” Sanford said.
Gellinger, 71, of Dyer, was an electrician used to climbing ladders and working in tight spaces when he began to experience leg weakness and numbness that worsened, resulting in poor balance and multiple falls.
After becoming bedridden and then unable to get out of his car at a doctor appointment, he was treated at the Franciscan St. Margaret Health Emergency Department and later admitted to the RIC unit, where he was diagnosed and treated for a spinal condition (he also has a history of arthritis) and underwent rehabilitation for leg strengthening and balance improvement.
After spending two weeks there, during which his pain eased and he subsequently was able to get up on his own and use a walker, Gellinger was discharged and continued outpatient rehabilitation at Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness-Schererville.
“I couldn’t move (when I arrived at the hospital). It felt like a razor was cutting my joints. I couldn’t wiggle my toes,” he said. “The staff and doctor did a great job, considering the shape I was in. I am very happy with them. I’m doing really good.”