Mount Prospect resident Skip Lawson was born with cerebral palsy. To say he’s had his fair share of surgeries and physical therapy throughout his lifetime would be an understatement.
After back surgery earlier this year, Skip recovered at NCH. During Acute Physical Therapy he worked with Rahul Sharma, M.D. and Christopher Papa, D.O., who recognized he was an ideal candidate for additional therapy in our Day Rehabilitation Program in Rolling Meadows, starting with a three-day program and eventually moving to a five-day program, two and half hours per session. This included 30 minutes of stretching, 60 minutes of occupational therapy and 60 minutes of physical therapy.
Skip shares, “The continuity between the hospital and the Day Rehabilitation Program was incredible.”
Seven months later, Skip is walking 120 feet in his own home.
He continues going twice a week for outpatient rehabilitative therapy at our Outpatient and Day Rehab Center at 3300 Kirchoff Road in Rolling Meadows.
He describes his experience there as “spectacularly efficient and effective therapy.”
When describing his interactions with the trained professionals, Skip says, “Each therapist is an expert. When they look at you they don’t see skin, they see muscles and bones. The therapists seem to each bring another set of tools to help your body recover. They build on each other’s strengths to help you. It’s not like starting over every visit. You feel the progress.”
Skip feels there are two reasons why someone should choose NCH rehabilitative services instead of the many other options seemingly popping up on every block. “This program produces successful outcomes – through the professional level of therapists and the variety of physical work – as a complete program,” he says. “Speaking of complete – I initially did not believe I needed occupational therapy until Kristen, my occupational therapist, showed me how the whole picture fit together and I realized that daily life skills will ultimately get me to my goal of independence.”
Skip also recommends our Day Rehabilitation Program because of the “all the top-notch machines that are available.”
Another equally important reason Skip recommends our program is because of the attitude and culture of the rehab staff. “I’ve never been to facility that is so patient-oriented. They really focus on me, and I never feel rushed, ignored or unappreciated.” Attitude is half the battle in healing.
Seven months into recovery, Skip is 80 percent more independent, and he is tracking ahead of his goal. He credits two NCH therapists, Beata and Lydia, who are intelligent and great communicators. “Lydia always starts an exercise with the phrase ‘organize yourself.’ It’s such a simple line but it has impacted me so significantly now I always take a minute to ‘organize’ myself before taking a step.”
He adds, “It’s important that I am included in developing the plan for my healing. They listen to me and my priorities – which will ultimately keep me motivated and promote faster healing.”
Although he is very goal-orientated, Skip describes NCH physical therapists as providing “kind discipline.” He believes every person over 55 would benefit from physical therapy. “If you don’t believe me, sit and watch people in an airport for a while. The posture and the gait deteriorate with age and environment. Personally, the work I’m doing now will set me up until I leave this earth. The road is narrower and results are much better.” He reminds us that you don’t need to be in acute pain to benefit from physical therapy. The strengthening and conditioning will provide benefits into your senior years.
Another NCH team member Skip credits for his success is his tech, Chris Hambach. “Chris spends the first 30 minutes of my session stretching me and warming me up for the harder stuff.”
Chris has wonderful things to say about working with Skip: “Skip contributes to his own therapy and wellness by giving feedback to the team as what works best for him.”
Nurse case manager Heather Dyer adds, “Skip is so encouraging to other patients in the program. He motivates everyone who is around him with how hard he works.”
Skip is confident in the safety accommodations NCH has made since the pandemic hit to keep him and others safe. All patients and staff are screened and temperature tested upon entry, everyone must wear masks and distance themselves as appropriate and frequent hand washing is encouraged. “I have never felt unsafe,” he says.
It is important for readers to know that they do not need a physician’s referral to register for physical therapy at NCH. If you are considering a major surgery, therapy is often recommended as a first step before a major procedure. The increase in circulation, blood flow and muscle movement benefits everyone before an upcoming procedure – from senior citizens to teenagers.
For more information about our Day Rehabilitation Program, please call 847-618-3880.