Two Life-Changing Events Only Days Apart

August 2, 2021
Working with a patient

During the night in July 2020, Robert Jones woke up feeling restless. Not being able to pinpoint the problem, he was able to calm himself down and fall back asleep. The next morning, however, Robert still wasn’t feeling well. Although Robert wasn’t having the typical signs of a heart attack, like chest pains or trouble breathing, his wife knew something was wrong and called 911. Robert was rushed to Granby Medical Center, where they determined he was having a heart attack. After he was stabilized, Robert was airlifted to St. Anthony Hospital where they discovered a 90% blockage in his heart. Robert underwent triple bypass surgery. The surgery was a success, but soon Robert would be faced with another life-threatening event.

Recognizing warning signs

The day after surgery, Robert suffered from a stroke which paralyzed the entire right side of his body. A stroke team was immediately assembled to remove the clot. The possibility that he would never walk, talk or use the right side of his body was all too real.

Looking back, Robert recognized minor warning signs that occurred before his heart attack. He had fallen down on the golf course two weeks prior but got right back up again. Some of the chores and daily activities he did around the house became exhausting for him.

Experienced care givers make the difference

Robert’s wife, Sandi says, “From the minute we arrived at St. Anthony Hospital, I knew we were in excellent hands. I felt we were both very well taken care of, things were explained to us so we would know what was going on with him, and what changes in life we would both face. I loved the fact that, from the beginning, I was told that I needed to make sure to take care of myself as well, and how important that was and would continue to be.”

Special moments

Following surgery, Robert chose to remain with St. Anthony Hospital’s rehabilitation facility given the outstanding reviews that they have received.

“One huge thing for me as a spouse and a family member is that, even during the pandemic, one person a day was allowed into the hospital. I am so very thankful that St. Anthony Hospital allowed this because I don’t know what I would have done not seeing my husband for two months,” says Sandi. The hospital required masks and social distancing, but Sandi could be with Robert 24-hours-a-day hours if she desired. This allowed Sandi to be a part of Robert’s rehabilitation, get to know his nurses, caregivers and therapists. “It gave him great comfort to know I could be with him, and I know this was a HUGE part of his improvement and success,” Sandi explained.

“Robert’s therapists (PT, OT and speech) were amazing, several whom have remained friends to this day,” Sandi says. Robert entered the rehab unit unable to move anything on his right side. “The wonderful therapists began to work with him, and I was allowed to be a part of his therapy, watching what they did so I could continue once we got home. I could go in the ‘gym’ with him and observe each part of his rehab,” explained Sandi.

Maggie Knight, OTD, OTR/L and Therapy Supervisor of the Inpatient Rehab Facility remembers, “As Sonny’s (Robert) primary occupational therapist, I got to walk with him through the entirety of his rehab stay. This included all the moments – the hard moments, the exciting moments, the life-changing moments, and everything in between. But the moment I’ll never forget was near the end of his stay. Sonny and I had been working so hard to rehabilitate his right arm and hand – often times the last limb get functional return after his type of stroke – and I finally determined we were ready to reach the goal Sonny and I set out for. On this day, we asked Sandi to stand right in front of Sonny while he sat at the edge of the bed. I assisted Sonny to stand up (but just barely! He did most of the work on his own!) and then I gave him the cue “Sonny, hug your wife.” Sonny smiled his trademark smile and then – slowly but surely – put both arms around his wife and gave her a hug. It was a small, intimate gesture that marked a momentous pivot point in his journey. I will carry that moment with me for the rest of my time as a therapist. We were so fortunate to work with Sonny and he is so blessed to have a supportive, loving, and driven wife and family. It was truly our pleasure to meet him and to care for him.”

“From the nurses to the house cleaners, to the therapists - we were loved and cared for. I have told everyone about our incredibly positive experience and would recommend St. Anthony Hospital to anyone. They have gone above and beyond,” Sandi shared.

Stories like Robert and Sandi’s are not only inspiring, but reinforce the mission of Centura Health – extending the healing ministry of Christ by caring for those who are ill and by nurturing the health of the people in our communities.

Learn more about St. Anthony Hospital’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility.