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Fred’s Story: Rehabilitation During a Pandemic

  • Category: Transitional Care
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Allied Services Integrated Health
Fred’s Story: Rehabilitation During a Pandemic

When we last checked in with Fred he was at our rehabilitation hospital in Scranton recovering from shoulder surgery. Fred had had a spacer placed in the left shoulder joint after an infection ruined the existing replacement. That surgery was just one step in a total replacement of the joint that would have Fred returning to the facility in February 2020 - just before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) would take over the country.

The Polio survivor has had his shoulders replaced several times due to either joint failure or infection. To date, he has had his right shoulder replaced twice and this would be the third replacement of his left shoulder. Because the process was started before the pandemic took over, Fred and his surgeons were left with no choice but to continue with the replacement despite the looming virus.

Fred had surgery in Philadelphia and once again returned to Transitional Care at Allied Services Rehab Hospital in Scranton. A short stay was extended to 7 weeks in fact, when Fred dislocated his new shoulder trying to move out of a chair.

Fred with Leslie Ritter

Fred with Leslie Ritter, MSPT, DPT, Allied Services

Because Polio left Fred’s right leg partially paralyzed, he relies greatly on his arm strength to get around. Having an arm, or shoulder, out of commission has a great impact on his mobility and ability to care for himself. Of course, the extended-stay meant Fred was in the hospital during world-wide lockdowns due to the spreading virus.

We had to stay in our rooms. We didn’t even leave the floor. They turned the lounge into a therapy gym and that was the only time we got to leave our rooms. Your therapist would pick you up and take you there or the conference room for therapy and then back to your room" says Fred.

“I was happy to go home, but even though you had to stay in your room (at the hospital), there were still people around. The nurses and other staff were there to check on you and of course your therapists. I lived at home alone, so I only saw my home health therapists when they would come by. When that stopped I was alone. That’s why when outpatient therapy opened - I couldn’t wait to come!”

Fred is now driving and seeing physical therapist Leslie Ritter at Allied Services Luger Scranton Rehab Center. Together, the two work to strengthen his gait and his shoulders. Fred typically walks using a walker, but in therapy, he and Leslie work with arm crutches. Fred is hoping to become strong and stable enough to use these regularly.

Fred also has a bit more company at home. His son moved in and together with his grandson there’s plenty going on in the house and plenty to eat!

“I can’t cook. I’ve always been a TV dinner kind of guy, but my son is quite the chef. No more microwave meals for me!”