As a hard-working young widow and mother of three, 34-year-old Cenovia Vigil lived for her children. So, when reoccurring tonsillitis interfered with quality family time, Cenovia underwent a tonsillectomy to get healthy for her kids. She was discharged home the same day of surgery to recover.
The following day this independent working mom’s world was turned upside down when she was found unconscious at home with a minimal pulse. She was intubated and required life-saving CPR three times. Cenovia was airlifted to a local hospital where doctors found her to have extreme blood loss from a post tonsillectomy hemorrhage. She required three separate surgeries and a tracheotomy to save her life. Cenovia was unconscious for two weeks in the ICU and spent nearly five weeks at the acute care hospital.
Once she was stabilized, Cenovia was transferred to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M., as several friends had informed her of the great work they do. Upon arriving, Cenovia was unable to feed herself without assistance. She required 100-percent assistance with dressing, bathing and toileting. She could not walk and was weak from head to toe. Cenovia’s memory and problem-solving abilities were impaired as well.
Cenovia’s first day of therapy was frustrating, as she wanted to do so much, but her body just would not allow it. She persevered through her program and soon found that her favorite part of her day was going to the therapy gym.
“My therapy team was awesome – they pushed me beyond my limitations,” Cenovia said.
She recalls one specific moment when a HealthSouth team member told her, “I don’t know you, but I know you are going to be just fine!” That one moment filled Cenovia with hope and the motivation to work hard every day. After 28 days of inpatient rehabilitation, Cenovia discharged home from HealthSouth, able to assist herself with dressing, toileting and transfers. She could also walk 150 feet with just a hand on her for balance. And her cognition improved every day.
Cenovia continued her rehabilitation journey with HealthSouth in outpatient therapy where she met her goals of once again being independent in all her selfcare tasks. She could use her right hand to write and complete tasks. She even returned to jogging at a walk/jog pace, walking more than 1,000 feet.
Today, Cenovia has returned to work part-time, she enjoys going to sporting activities with her kids and is proud to say she has regained her independence. “HealthSouth is a great place for rehabilitation,” Cenovia exclaimed. “You can’t give up