Ruth M.

Ruth M.

We sat down to talk with Ruth M. from Mountain Top nearly a year after her COVID experience and she shared just how vital therapy was to helping her gain her independence.

“I thought I had a cold. I had a little cough, then I got a slight fever, but then all of a sudden I had gotten extremely weak.”

“I live by myself, but my daughter was stopping by to check on me and bring me my meals. The night before she had asked me if I wanted to go up to bed, and I said no - I was comfortable in my chair downstairs. By the next morning when she stopped by I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t walk. I was just too weak. She decided to call the doctor and he said to call the ambulance right away.”

84 year old Ruth was taken to an area hospital where she tested positive for COVID-19. She was admitted for a few days but doesn’t remember much of her stay because she was incredibly weak and her fever was so high. “I do remember that I wasn’t on a ventilator,” notes Ruth.

As soon as Ruth was stable, she was moved to Allied Services Wilkes-Barre Rehab Hospital where she spent the next 30 days.

“It (COVID-19) just took everything out of me - not just my taste and smell. I lost some of my hair, my finger nails turned black and I had sores in my mouth. Most of all I was just so exhausted. I couldn’t walk. I could barely sit up or even lift my arms.”

“At Heinz (Allied Services Wilkes-Barre Rehab Hospital) they did so much therapy with me to build my strength back up and Neil, my physical therapist made sure I did it right too. He wouldn’t let me get away with just going through the motions.”

Neil Hunsinger, physical therapist at the rehabilitation hospital in Wilkes-Barre notes each patient is unique.

“From 83 to 23, the virus does not affect everyone the same way and we have to evaluate and prepare a unique treatment plan that will not only improve their physical health and function, but also keep them engaged. Active engagement is crucial for achieving goals and having patients be completely aware and have an understanding of the processes that are improving their health.”

“The process is exhausting for them and it doesn’t happen overnight, but what you put in - you get out. Ruth was determined.”

When it came time for Ruth to be discharged from the rehab facility she wasn’t quite strong enough to return to her independent lifestyle, so she went to live with her daughter for awhile. Allied Services Home Health allowed her to continue recovering at home.

“The nurses came by and made sure I stayed healthy and the therapists made sure I was still doing my exercises and getting stronger. My house has two levels and to be able to live by myself again they wanted to be sure I could do all the steps without getting weak or out of breath - and that took some time.”

After 4 months living with her daughter and her family, Ruth was strong enough to her own home

“I enjoyed being with everyone, but I was ready to be on my own and I’m sure they were ready for some peace and quiet too,” laughed Ruth.

Once she returned to her home, Ruth continued her therapy sessions on an outpatient basis at the Allied Services Mountain Top Clinic.

”Ruth had been a patient of mine before. She is a vibrant, strong, independent woman and I knew we could get her back to doing all the things she loved to do because she is very determined,” noted physical therapist, Patricia Sharkey.

“We continued to build her stamina through some cardio exercises and build her strength. Ruth is always on the move, so we focused on her balance and transitioning over different types of surfaces - carpet, hard floors, grass, pavement, etc. It’s important that we kept working on stairs too. With the two floors in Ruth’s house we want to make sure she continues have the strength and stability to keep going up and down.”

“I don’t think I would be where I am today without their (therapists) help. They helped build me back up. Not only my strength, but my confidence,” said Ruth.

“I have been through a lot and THIS - this is the weakest I’ve ever been. I’ve had pneumonia and all kinds of other viruses. I’ve had a lot of surgeries, had cancer, both knees replaced, been in a car accident, had head trauma - and believe me this was the worst. I could barely stand up. But in the end — when you survive — there’s only one way you can get better and that’s to build yourself back up with the help of these great people!”

Learn more about COVID rehab.