"I just tripped and fell on the floor, and for the life of me I couldn't get back up," says former St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute patient, Michael Andersen.
Active in his retirement, Michael's fall was not the cause of the back pain he had been experiencing. But, while unsure of the cause, he was transported to the hospital, where he initially underwent surgery and a series of misdiagnoses.
The neurologist who finally identified the issue as Michael's spinal cord unraveling, told him to "go to St. Luke's. Don't fight it; they'll make you ok." He says the neurologist knew therapies like physical, speech, occupational and recreational would give him a workout each day, and would be worth it in the end.
[To watch the short video featuring Michael, click
"With the excellent staff and professional nurses-the entire staff is really first class," he says about the rehabilitative care at St. Luke's. "There's no looking down on you for things you can't do."
After weeks of therapy, Michael began to see progress.
"Finally one day, I could stand up," Michael says. "A week later I could take one step. Pretty soon I could take two steps. Soon I could pivot and turn around. It was just one step after another."
Before his injury, Michael says he lived an active lifestyle. "The flip of a coin, it all changed," he says.
"I'm learning to walk again," Michael adds. "I'm learning to use my hands-before I couldn't even feed myself. All of that was completely foreign to me and now it's coming back, and I've made some really good friends."
The day of Michael's discharge, he walked down the hall of St. Luke's in celebration of his hard work and determination.
"One of my goals is to come back and visit [patients] having a hard time to cheer them up or take them out for coffee," Michael says. "But [St. Luke's] is equipped for any of that…and they were right --- I'm ok."
The Inland Northwest's only Level I Trauma Rehabilitation Hospital, St. Luke's has been providing care and therapy for people of all ages suffering from spinal cord and brain injuries, stroke, orthopedic issues and other injuries and illnesses.
To see the short video featuring Michael, click
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