Al Brown was 65 when his life was turned upside down. He developed a non-healing wound on his left heel due to complications from diabetes and was admitted to a long-term acute care (LTAC) hospital for six weeks. Despite having multiple surgeries on his foot in attempts to save it, Al had to have a below-knee amputation on his left leg.
When Al was discharged from the LTAC hospital, the staff recommended he go to MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital to participate in the inpatient amputee rehabilitation program.
When Al arrived at MidAmerica, the staff was helpful. At first, he was very weak and unable to walk. While therapy was difficult, Al enjoyed his therapy sessions and worked hard to participate. He knew the most important thing on his road to recovery was to stay positive.
“The staff worked me very hard,” Al remarks. “But, my physical therapists gave me hope, and I was confident they would get me back to living independently.”
For Al, inpatient rehabilitation was not easy. Not only was he recovering from a recent amputation, but he also has PVD and is blind in his right eye, which affects not only his vision, but his balance as well.
Initially, Al was able to walk using a knee scooter. His limb was healing, but it was still not ready for a prosthesis. However, the scooter gave him independence. With the support of his two sons and good friend, Maggie, Al was able to get around very well using his scooter.
“The therapy was very personalized to fit my specific needs,” Al says. “They helped me overcome my condition, because they kept my entire situation in mind when they worked with me, not just my amputation.”
Al underwent cataract surgery to improve his vision and balance, and after six weeks, he returned to MidAmerica for two months of outpatient therapy.
In outpatient therapy, he was able to transition from using his knee scooter to walking with his prosthesis. In addition, he learned about use and care for his prosthesis, and what to expect in his new life.
Today, Al is very active, and continues to work 60 hours per week as a social worker. When asked about his rehabilitation experience, Al says, “The therapy provided at MidAmerica is personal and specialized. The therapists are very passionate about helping patients succeed. ‘Can’t’ is not a word allowed in therapy.”