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Bobbi K.

  • Author: Bobbi K.
  • Date Submitted: Feb 15, 2021
  • Category: Lymphedema

Bobbi K is a health screener at Heinz Rehab Hospital in Wilkes-Barre. She is the friendly face that staff sees when they walk in to work and go through the health screening process required of everyone entering the facility. She shares a “good morning” and “how are we doing today” as she checks their temperature and takes staff members through the questionnaire and temperature procedure. Seated at the desk, you can’t tell that anything has changed for Bobbi in the last 12 months. In reality, 2020 brought a lot of challenges for this Luzerne County resident.

In 2020, Bobbi was hospitalized with COVID-19 and pneumonia. Alongside this, she was experiencing pain in her leg and foot, and was having trouble walking. Bobbi is a diabetic and the changes in color and temperature of her feet were especially worrying. Doctors discovered a blood clot in one of her legs. When the aptly named “clot-busting” treatments failed, surgeons were forced to amputate part of Bobbi’s leg.

“I give them (surgeons) credit. They did everything they could before and during surgery to try and keep my leg, but in the end, it had to go.”

After some time recovering in the hospital, Bobbi was transferred to Allied Services Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital to begin her rehab journey.

The Amputee Program at Allied Services provides specialized evaluations and therapy for patients in the early postoperative period to assess the need for balance, transfer training, and wound and skincare. Improving strength, endurance, and mobility are all part of the program.

“I was there for about 2 weeks. I had to learn how to manage myself now that I didn’t have my leg and I had to get stronger. After having pneumonia, COVID, the blood clot, and the amputation - I was pretty worn down.”

The goals of the amputation program are to assist the patient to achieve functional independence, to improve quality of life, and to provide effective patient and family education.

“They worked with me and got me strong enough to go home, and then I had home health. Nurses AND therapists. They were all wonderful.”

In August, Bobbi was fitted for a prosthesis. She returned to the rehab hospital for a 10-day stay to learn how to adapt to her new limb.

“You have to learn how to take it on and off and learn how to walk. It’s an incredible process!”

After her inpatient stay, Bobbi started outpatient therapy to continue to improve on the use of her new prosthesis.

“This is just a temporary one, but with their (the therapists) help, I’ve gotten used to it. I’m pretty confident walking around. I really don’t have to use my cane at home, but if I’m out I do because you never know how far I’ll have to go. It’s just a little extra safety.”

“I’m thrilled with the care I have gotten. From the hospital to my home and in the gym (outpatient), they have been wonderful.”