Carol Brague of Plains was a young woman of 27 when she found out she had Multiple Sclerosis. Now decades later, as she looks back, she recounts a life full of the rewards of volunteering at Heinz Rehab Hospital, where she had once been a patient.
Carol worked with the other volunteers in the dietary department. She describes her joy as the patients were brought in to the dining room, and their meals were brought out, how she and the other volunteers helped them if they had difficulty eating. It was not only rewarding to help patients, but it was the camaraderie of working with the other volunteers at Heinz Rehab that she remembers so well.
Mary Yuknavich, still the director of Heinz Rehab Hospital Volunteers and Auxiliary, led Carol and her friends when they volunteered. Carol loved the Gift Shop, which is run by the volunteers, and where she sometimes would run into a family member or friend of someone she knew, who she didn’t even realize was a patient. Carol loved that she could provide the lovely card or small handcrafted gift that would brighten that patient’s day.
Not too long ago, Carol had what is called tendon release surgery, a treatment for MS, because her legs would go out from under her. The surgery was a partial success, in that it gave her back some movement in one leg. Allied Home Health physical therapists treated Carol, to get the most benefit from the surgery. She was happy to get function back, and is able to move enough to get in and out of bed. Carol said the therapists were wonderful.
Carol has now finished with her physical therapy, but still sees Allied aides, who come to her apartment to help her bathe and dress each morning and night. She looks forward to their twice daily visits, as well as visits from her twin sister, Nancy, her brother Foster, and her sister-in-law Joanne, who is “like a sister.”
Carol’s outlook is very positive. Instead of focusing on what she lost, she is grateful that she has upper body strength and can talk, unlike some others with MS. She is thankful for all that her Home Health therapists have done for her, and so glad she is able to live independently in her own apartment, which would be impossible without Allied Services. She is also grateful for the friends she made and the memories she has from her many years as a volunteer at Heinz Rehab Hospital.
“Allied Services and Heinz Rehab are like a family. I know helping people made me feel so good,” says Carol. “All of the therapists and aides who help me at home are so good, so nice. They make me very happy.”