One day Rachel was given a prescription medication to treat an infection; three days later a life threatening reaction to that medication caused her pancreas to burst. She was rushed to the hospital and placed in an induced coma where, for two months, she hovered between life and death. But miraculously Rachel survived.
Coming out of the coma, she discovered that she was on a ventilator, her shoulders were broken, a G-tube was draining her gallbladder and a J-tube was draining her pancreas. She had a feeding tube and an open surgical wound across her abdomen. “I was literally clueless,” she explains. “I didn’t know where I was or what the future would bring.”
As a medically complex patient, Rachel was transferred to Gaylord Hospital where her condition was carefully monitored as she began rehabilitation. “When I came to Gaylord I couldn’t communicate. I didn’t know what my next step was,” she says. “But the path was already there for me, I just had to follow it.”
Within a week, Rachel was weaned from the ventilator and she began walking. Her rehabilitation included physical, occupational and speech therapy, and nutritional counseling. After two months of inpatient care and therapy Rachel returned home. She regularly came to Gaylord for outpatient therapy for another 18 months.
Rachel now works part-time at Gaylord where she offers encouragement to other seriously ill patients. She credits Gaylord with helping her to regain as much of her life as possible in the wake of unexpected and life changing medical trauma.
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