• Rosalie’s Incredible Journey

    Rosalie, 68, was admitted to Kindred Hospital San Diego for weaning from mechanical ventilation, rehabilitation and continued care after a total right knee replacement at a short-term acute care hospital.

    After undergoing knee replacement surgery at the traditional hospital, Rosalie initially returned home to resume her role in a cat rescue program. Ten days later, she noticed numbness and weakness in her extremities.  She returned to the traditional hospital, where she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Rosalie was immediately treated with IVIG, a plasma product used in the treatment of certain conditions related to the immune system, but the paralysis progressed to her torso.  She went into respiratory failure, was trached, and ventilated. While on the ventilator, Rosalie developed pneumonia and frequent mucus plugging. Her condition was complicated by a history of peripheral neuropathy, psoriasis, lumbar spine stenosis, hypertension, diverticulitis, depression, anxiety and gastrointestinal reflux, for which she was being medicated. Rosalie’s doctors transferred her to Kindred Hospital for continued care.

    On admission to Kindred June 30, Rosalie’s Pulmonologist initiated the weaning protocol, picking up where the short-term acute care hospital had left off. On July 3, the Passy Muir valve was applied, allowing her to speak again. Though her progress in weaning was slowed by persistent nausea, abdominal distension, and ileus, once her medications were adjusted she progressed quickly using trach collar trials. On July 24, Rosalie spent her first 24 hours off the ventilator. By July 28 her trach was changed to a 6 Shiley cuffless and capping was begun on room air the next day. On August 3, Rosalie was decannulated and four days later her trach completely closed.

    When Rosalie was initially admitted to Kindred she was experiencing tingling, numbness and loss of function in her lower extremities and had only gross movement of upper arms. The rehabilitation team initiated a program of occupational, speech and physical therapies five times per week. By July 29, Rosalie she was able to swallow thin liquids, had regained total function of her upper arms and was standing in physical therapy. Interestingly, she also claimed her psoriasis had completely cleared up.

    Rosalie’s road to recovery faced many hurdles, both mental and physical. Her greatest mental hurdle was her anxiety and depression, which is both common and understandable for Guillain-Barre patients facing the possibility of complete paralysis. The early intervention of the Passy Muir Valve, allowing speech, gave her a sense of the control she lacked over her body. In addition to medical management, the daily visits of supportive family were key in her recovery.  She was also able to meet another Guillain-Barré patient who happened to be at Kindred, and enjoyed regular visits from a former GBS patient. 

    On August 7, having made an incredible recovery at Kindred Hospital and no longer requiring high intensity medical care, Rosalie was transferred to an acute rehab hospital for continued rehabilitation.

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