While on vacation in December 2012, Lia, 27, injured her back while doing laundry. A few days later, she sat down and felt a “snap” in her back. It was the worst pain she had ever experienced; she couldn’t feel her feet. She went to the hospital, but was sent home because she was told that she was experiencing “muscle spasms.”
Three days later, she boarded a plane back home to Albuquerque, N.M.. The pain was excruciating. Lia went back to the hospital where they discovered she had a herniated disk, and part of the disc had broken off and floated down to the nerve bundle in her tailbone. Lia went into surgery immediately.
Lia was in a lot of pain and had no movement or feeling below her knees. She was unable to walk, go to the bathroom, shower, stand or move without the assistance of others. Four days after her surgery, Lia came to HealthSouth. It was then that the staff discovered she had an infection in her back and needed additional surgery. Lia begged to come back to HealthSouth after her second surgery, because she knew that was where she needed to be to get back to her everyday life. After one week, she returned to HealthSouth, feeling scared and depressed about not being able to walk.
“After my second surgery, I was on the parallel bars working on standing. I remember how hard it was for me to stand up for ten seconds,” she says.
“At times, I felt like I was never going to get better. But the staff at HealthSouth was amazing!” Lia continues. “They helped me stay positive and motivated throughout my rehabilitation. My occupational therapist was so supportive in my recovery. It felt like I had a good friend with me every step of the way.”
“They put a smile on my face” she says. “The staff always helped me laugh even when I didn’t want to, and they were always so nice.”
After leaving HealthSouth, Lia used an orthosis for foot drop on her left foot and walked with a walker. She could dress herself and get ready for the day. Five months after her discharge from HealthSouth, Lia went back to work and started school. She is now walking on her own and living her life. Lia accomplished her goal of walking across the stage to receive her associate degree from the Central New Mexico Community College in May 2014.
“I don’t know where I’d be without HealthSouth,” Lia says. “I’ve made so much progress because of them. My success isn’t mine alone; I attribute it to my family, friends and the staff at HealthSouth.”