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Our Patients

    • Terry-Thuet-photo.jpg

      Terry Thuet


      After Terry Thuet retired in 2010, he spent time giving back to his community by volunteering at Jefferson Barracks Military Post, cooking for the homeless and providing transportation needs for those at his church. This past December, everything changed.

      Terry was looking forward to spending the holidays with his family. On Christmas Day, pain radiated through his left side, so he skipped the festivities. The next day, he went to urgent care, and staff there sent him immediately to the emergency room.

      At the hospital, scans revealed several clots, decreased blood flow to his spleen, signs of abdominal vascular injury and a possible stroke. He was weak and having trouble speaking. He was placed on blood thinners and spent a week in the hospital before he was well enough to transfer to SSM Health Rehabilitation Hospital – Richmond Heights.

      An interdisciplinary team of therapists, nurses and doctors worked with Terry to create a plan to return to the community. When Terry arrived, his greatest challenges were left-leg weakness and pain management. He required full assistance of two people to transfer from one surface to another, was unable to walk and dependent for most of his self-care tasks such as bathing and dressing. He was able to eat on his own, but he had some difficulty with cognition. His goals included regaining his health and continuing to serve the community.

      Physical therapy included knee exercises to open joint space and hip exercises to increase range of motion and ability to participate in therapy sessions.

      Therapists taught him how to use a wheelchair and built up Terry’s confidence to move around his apartment. They focused on mobility at wheelchair level, teaching him how to transfer from one surface to another using a sliding board. They also concentrated on strengthening his legs, arms and core muscles and walking short distances with a walker.

      In speech therapy, Terry solved math reasoning and word problems, deductive reasoning puzzles, listened to short voicemail messages and answered multiple choice questions. He completed tasks for word-finding and thought organization on an iPad. Each activity rebuilt his cognitive and speaking abilities.

      Terry said the occupational therapy team made him feel special as they taught him to use adaptive equipment to manage self-care tasks. They also focused on core strengthening that improved his ability to sit unsupported and stand.

      Recreation therapists provided him with a change of pace, the opportunity to meet other patients and take part in leisure activities. He enjoyed daily trivia and social dining.

      Terry’s family also played an integral role in his recovery. They participated in his therapies and received training from the care team. Terry is confident they will remain a wonderful support.

      After three weeks of hard work, Terry returned home and continued his recovery by attending the SSM Health Rehabilitation Day Institute in Kirkwood twice a week. He was able to transfer independently and walk household distances with a walker. He performed all of his self-care without help and even managed to go up and down a few stairs with a bit of help. After going through the rehabilitation process, Terry has advice for others. “When you have a health issue, don’t wait to see a doctor,” said Terry. “If necessary, go to the hospital.”