When Frank Howie, of Ogdensburg was admitted to RiverLedge Health Care & Rehabilitation Center he was prepared to stay there for the rest of his life.
However, just over three months later Mr. Howie was free to return home after completing a short-term rehabilitation stay.
“When I got here, I couldn’t even walk. My left leg would just give out on me all the time,” he said. “My wife and I never thought I was coming back home. That’s how bad it was when I first got here.”
While his stay at RiverLedge was interrupted by a brief hospitalization, Mr. Howie said returning to RiverLedge was like going home.
“When I got back here the nurses were right here waiting for me,” he said. “It was like coming back home.”
His wife, Terri said that one of the things that upset him the most about being in the hospital was while he was not being able to receive therapy while there.
“When he was in the hospital, he was angry, because he was missing therapy,” she said.
Mr. Howie said he was initially treated for back pain, but eventually doctors would discover the problem was with his leg, as a result of complications with diabetes.
During his inpatient stay, therapy was held two or three times per day, but now that he’s home and progressed to the point of walking with a cane, Mr. Howie said his therapy has been reduced to twice per week.
“I can’t believe how well they got me,” he said. “If you need therapy, this is the place to go.”
Given that Mr. and Mrs. Howie didn’t think he would ever come back home from his stay at RiverLedge, the thought of dancing together again was something that didn’t even cross their minds up until the day it happened.
“The thing I’m most proud of is being able to dance with my wife again,” Mr. Howie said. “It was a short dance, and a slow dance, but it meant the world to me. I never thought I would be able to do it again.”
Mrs. Howie agreed.
“I’ve always enjoyed dancing, but we both thought it was never going to happen again,” she said. “But it did, and it was amazing. They made a new man out of him.”
In addition to physical therapy and occupational therapy, RiverLedge staff also assisted Mr. Howie with diabetes management.
“Mr. Howie had many changes to his diabetes regimen while he was at RiverLedge,” said Kara Pharoah, who serves as the nurse manager in the Newell Neighborhood where Mr. Howie stayed. “Diabetes management is important for people with diabetes because it helps to keep their blood sugars within normal limits. When blood sugars are consistently high it leads to extended healing times, neuropathic pain, neuropathic organ failure and other serious conditions which can be life threatening.”
Ms. Pharoah said staff worked with Mr. Howie to show him ways to check his blood sugar, administer insulin, manage pain connected to diabetic neuropathy, check his feet and legs for symptoms of other complications and monitor symptoms of hypoglycemia.
When asked if he would recommend therapy at RiverLedge to others, Mr. Howie said without a doubt that he would, adding that if he ever ends up needing skilled nursing services he knows exactly where he wants to go.
“If I ever need permanent placement, this is where I want to go,” he said.
For more information on United Helpers Therapy Services "click here" or contact RiverLedge in Ogdensburg at (315) 393-0730 or Maplewood in Canton at (315) 386-4541.