• Rick Sheninger

Covid, Recovery, and Therapy

For the past few years, BenCura has been expanding its services to include more proactive care. The goal of this effort is to prevent patients from experiencing major medical issues later on in life. One way we accomplish this goal is by providing resources and education around recovery while also helping patients live longer, healthier lives through preventive care such as nutrition and physical activity.

As healthcare providers, we are tasked with the responsibility of helping our patients get back to their lives in a healthy and active way. Sometimes this is a quick process but other times it can take months or even years. Due to the nature of our jobs, we see some of the best results when they are lasting changes that have been made because it’s not only about guiding someone through an injury or illness, it’s about teaching them how to live healthily for many years down the road.

The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the world so drastically. Who would have envisioned, just a year ago, that everyone would be wearing masks as a regular part of our daily attire. Coronavirus, also known as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), is a virus that attacks the respiratory system, and has also been shown to impact the vascular system.

With that being the case, it has ranged from little to no symptoms - especially in younger children - to much more severe cases requiring hospitalization. For those without symptoms, recovery doesn't require much more than a little extra rest, and seclusion from others for 10 to 14 days.

For those with more severe symptoms, The road to recovery can be long and difficult, but it's important that you take your time. After all, things will only get better if you stay diligent and work hard. In some cases, patients are bed-ridden for weeks or even months at a time, causing their muscles to atrophy, and requiring physical therapy to fully recover.

We have been following the story of the Coronavirus. As it has spread, it is important for us to understand how our patients can recover from a major illness of this magnitude, and what kind of support they will need throughout their recovery process. Our main concern is how can we best provide help to our patients, while maintaining a safe environment for all involved.

One story that caught our attention was that of a man by the name of Theirrien “Tee” Clark, a senior law firm manager in Washington, D.C. Tee came down with such a severe case of COVID-19 in March of 2020, he had to be placed on a ventilator. He ended up spending 46 days in the hospital, four weeks of which was spent in the ICU.

What was particularly interesting about this story is how the virus acted differently with him and his wife Marcy. You see, they both tested positive for COVID19 at the time. They both quarantined together, and were there to support each other through the symptoms as they tried to recover.

Marcy’s symptoms remained mild, however Tee’s symptoms kept getting worse unti, finally, his doctor said he had to go to the Emergency Room. Since the hospital was taking precautions, Marcy waited in the parking lot for them to release her husband. She ended up getting a phone call that they had put him on a breathing tube because an X-Ray revealed lung damage, and they were concerned about his lungs failing.

The following weeks were gruelling for Tee, yet, at the same time, it becomes interesting when we look at his treatment. Of course, he was getting treated for the virus, but the unusual part was that he began receiving physical, occupational, and speech therapy while still in Intensive Care! They began treating him early, to help minimize the effects, and also counter what was already happening within his body.

He wasn’t out of the woods yet, and he had a scary period where his fever spiked to 108 and his healthy tissues attacked themselves, also causing his oxygen level to plummet and his heart to beat irregularly. The doctors and nurses couldn’t give Marcy much more than, “We’re trying our best”, and “Hopefully he’ll pull through”. Not very encouraging words from the medical staff.

Until Easter Sunday in 2020. They were able to remove his breathing tube, after 4 weeks in ICU. He could breathe on his own, but he couldn’t stand, because his muscles were so atrophied after 4 weeks of little mobility. In his case, doctors, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation psychologists and physical therapists all had to work together to get Tee on the road to recovery.

According to Tee, the physical therapist and occupational therapist that aided his recovery “were awesome”, and the big reason he was able to transition from ICU to inpatient rehabilitation. It was a tough road, but Tee was strong, in mind and spirit, and he never gave up. He pushed through the hours of therapy, knowing that his mobility, and his stability, were at the other end of 3 hours per day of therapy.

Tee was able to make it back home on May 6, 2020, just one day after his wedding anniversary, and he knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it would not have been possible without the help of his therapists.

We don’t yet have the same exact story to tell, however, we have countless stories of patients we have helped overcome great obstacles of their own to regain their independence, regain their speech, and regain their mobility. These victories may not make it into the headlines, but the impact on our clients is far greater than any news story, and we are proud every single day that our patients choose us to be there for them, and we celebrate right along with them.

If you or a loved one is suffering in silence, now is your chance to break free from that pain or discomfort. Give us a call, we would be more than happy to speak with you, and discuss your situation, and see how we can help, or what resources we can provide that would help. Call us at 1-855-423-6287, and let’s schedule a time to see how we can best serve you.

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