Back from the brink

“Rehab therapy is about more than the body. It’s about the fight and the will to live,” says Providence rehab assistant Christine Pointer.

Back from the brink

I work on the stroke and neurological rehabilitation unit at Providence Healthcare.

We deal with patients struggling not only with physical challenges, but other challenges, too: homelessness, mental illness, addictions. Rehab therapy is about more than the body. It’s about the fight, the will to live.

I want to tell you about a young woman who wasn’t supposed to live. Or walk. But today, she’s doing both.

Amy* came to us from St. Michael’s Hospital where she’d been revived after an overdose, and treated in acute care. She was in her 20s, and couldn’t turn herself in bed. She had no control over her bodily functions. The nerve damage was so extensive that she was in constant pain and couldn’t feel her feet.

Amy told me: “I should be dead. I’m alive for something.”

Then she told me what that was: She wanted custody of her son.

By the time Amy left our inpatient care, she could use her arms to transfer herself into a wheelchair. But she wasn’t done. She came back as an outpatient. For three years, Amy did physiotherapy with us, and saw Dr. Richard Brodie at his pain management clinic.

Each visit she could do a little more. The first time Amy got out of a wheelchair, she could only stand for a few seconds. The next time she took a couple of steps.

At Providence, we keep working with our patients until they’re ready to move on.

The last time I saw Amy she was walking with a cane. Her son was by her side. She fought for her own life, and for her son. And won.

I’ve seen people turn their lives around at Providence. This woman inspired me. I hope her story inspires you.

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