Renee Stinson can be described by many as enthusiastic, dedicated, and loving. Her life is filled with her many passions including concerts, health and fitness, and her love for her family and friends. A 47-year old resident of Old Forge, Renee is a devoted friend, daughter, fiancé, and mother of two.
On October 20, 2015, Renee’s life unexpectedly changed. Without any signs or symptoms, her fiancé found her hemorrhaging and vomiting on the floor. She was rushed to Geisinger Community Medical Center Scranton where she was hooked up to multiple machines because of her life-threatening condition. “The doctors pulled me to the side and said, “We don’t think she is going to make it.” That’s how bad she was,” said Renee’s mother, Angie Celmer.
Renee was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a life-threatening type of stroke, along with numerous other complications. Without much hope, the doctors at Geisinger Community Medical Center Scranton decided to have her taken via life flight to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. Renee would spend the next month in Danville receiving intense treatment which made her stable enough to come to Allied Services Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center (SNC) in Scranton.
When Renee first arrived at Allied Services SNC on December 1, 2015, she didn’t have any movement in her upper or lower extremities, was totally dependent on others for everything, and had a feeding tube and a tracheostomy (trach). She couldn’t initiate any attempts to perform tasks of daily living such as toileting, dressing, or bathing. Richelle Steele, MS, OTR/L, said, “When she first got here, we really didn’t think that she would ever be going home. I mean we always have high hopes, but when you see someone on a trach, you tend to think the worst.” Although Renee was in such a dire condition, the dedicated therapists at Allied Services were up to the challenge.
Therapy began by having Renee do a range of motions so that her muscles didn’t atrophy. It also included having Renee follow movements with her eyes because that was the only form of communication that she was capable of. Richelle Steele, MS, OTR/L, and Chuck Haikes, PT Assistant, co-treated Renee and together constructed goals that they worked to have her achieve. To help describe the severity of Renee’s condition, the therapists note the first goal established was to have Renee be able to sit up on the side of a bed without falling over.
As Renee’s goals were constantly being achieved, more challenging goals had to be set. This is an attribute to her motivated and focused personality. “Whatever you ask her to do, she’s going to do that and more”, said Renee’s father, Ron Celmer. She was progressing so quickly. Renee accomplished goals such as sitting up, toileting, dressing, eating, writing checks, walking with an assistive cane, as well as many other improvements in functional skills.
A once hopeless outlook was now hopeful again. “Every day she did something completely different. I think what made me realize that she was doing awesome, is when she baked a chocolate cake from scratch. She was able to do it all from memory,” said Richelle Steele, MS, OTR/L.
The therapists constructed her therapy in a unique way so that it complimented the many interests in Renee’s life. They made sure that the therapy that she received was not only motivational, but also enjoyable. For example, Renee loves rock music; so while she was getting therapy, they would blast rock music in the background.
Within just a few months, Renee became a true inspiration: she went from being completely dependent on others, to a thriving independent person again. With an extremely driven personality, a loving support system, and the remarkable therapy from her therapists and nurses, Renee was able to stand and walk out of Allied Services Skilled in the middle of March. She will continue to receive therapy with home-health services, as well as outpatient rehabilitation at Allied Services’ Taylor Rehab Center.