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Our Patients

    • Dannielle-Williams-photo-110x110.jpg

      Dannielle Williams

      Dannielle Williams, a 35-year old mother of six and a certified nursing assistant, suffered from asthma for years before her condition took a turn for the worse in July. An asthma attack sent her to her local hospital, where she was found to be in respiratory failure. After initial treatments failed to improve Dannielle’s condition, she was intubated and put on a ventilator.

      Dannielle spent over a week on the ventilator, during which she underwent a bronchoscopy, or a procedure where a physician passes a thin tube called a bronchoscope, through a patient’s nose or mouth, down their throat and into their lungs. Soon after Dannielle’s bronchoscopy, she was removed from the ventilator and was found to be suffering from extreme weakness as well as possible critical illness polyneuropathy, a complication of limb weakness, loss of sensation and reduced reflexes as a result of being ventilated.   

      Because of her debilitated condition, Dannielle’s physicians recommended that she pursue intensive rehabilitation as her next step of recovery.  She chose SSM Health Rehabilitation Hospital – Richmond Heights. 

      Dannielle’s goals were straightforward – to be able to walk and use her arms so that she could get home to her family – but she was overwhelmed and doubtful about her ability to get there.   

      Dannielle was dependent for all aspects of her personal care, including bathing and dressing. She was also unable to roll from side to side or stand without assistance. Her care team at SSM Health Rehabilitation Hospital created a plan for Dannielle to slowly increase her stamina, strength and balance.

      Dannielle’s occupational therapist said, “She was such a motivated woman, always excited to tell me what she accomplished the night before every time I walked in.” In occupational therapy, Dannielle worked with her therapist on a variety of exercises to improve her the function of her arms and increase independence with her activities of daily living. Being able to shower independently was a huge milestone and motivator to keep going. 

      In physical therapy, Dannielle worked with therapists using parallel bars to practice standing and a variety of exercises to help overall balance. Dannielle used the Lite Gait, a training device that simultaneously controls weight bearing, posture and balance over a treadmill or the ground, to work on her walking. Her physical therapist learned later that Dannielle despised the Lite Gait, which gave her even more motivation keep working hard so she could surpass its need.  Dannielle’s positive and fun attitude shined through in her therapy sessions, where she would play the song “Walk It Out” to lighten the mood.

      By the time Dannielle was ready for discharge, she was independent for nearly all personal care, could walk up a flight of stairs and stroll with minor assistance. Dannielle was especially excited to see her children, as she had never been apart from them for so long. Having achieved her initial goals, Dannielle said “I’m so proud of myself.” She plans to continue with therapy upon returning home so that she “can get all the way back to 100%.”