Health Beat - Fall 2017 - 11
couldn't move her extremities herself,
she did maintain the sensation of touch
throughout her body-a hopeful sign.
After a brief stay in the ICU and
several more days in the surgical
unit, Clare was admitted to Salina
Regional Health Center's Inpatient
Ripping the Bandage Off
"I remember the first time they sat me
up in bed the therapists said, 'We can
do this slow, or we can do this fast and
just rip the bandage off,'" Clare says.
She opted to push through the pain and
challenge herself. "It hurt like heck, but
I chose to rip the bandage off, and that
became my motto throughout therapy."
Clare, now 39, never accepted the
possibility that she might not walk
again. Slowly she began regaining movement in her arms and legs. Physical and
occupational therapists worked with her
to develop core strength, regain use of
her hands and develop skills for everyday life.
Progress came in spurts, proof that
the intensive inpatient therapy was
paying off. Therapists got her up on
her legs first with the use of a sling.
Eventually she stood up for the first
time using parallel bars, mostly using
her arm strength.
"It felt so amazing to stand up on my
own," Clare says. "I was so excited. That's
when I knew for sure walking again was
realistic. I just knew I would walk again."
After about four weeks in the
Inpatient Rehabilitation program, Clare
was able to stand with the use of a walker
and take a few steps. She then went
home to continue her therapy on an outpatient basis.
Clare was able to return home thanks
to the use of a wheelchair, a ramp to get
her in the door of her family farmhouse,
a bed in the living room and immeasurable support from family and friends.
Her daughter Haley and mother Darlene
became her rocks, taking her to therapy
appointments and helping her navigate
the obstacles of her new life.
Clare's strength continued to
increase with outpatient therapy and
work at home. She was walking further
distances with the use of a walker.
Therapists quit measuring the distance
after she reached about 500 feet.
Today, the recovery continues. Clare
still uses a wheelchair, but her left leg
and arm are about 90 percent back to
normal. Her left hand still has some
deficit, and her right arm and leg aren't
She still battles neuropathy and spasticity, which are common with spinal
cord injuries. The recovery isn't over.
A planned surgery, continued outpatient therapy and exercise, including
yoga, carry hope for more improvement. Living a life of independence is
"Her motivation has been a big part
of her success, but you have to have
the neurological recovery along with
it," says Tamra Hauserman, a registered
physical therapist at Salina Regional.
"She surpassed everyone's initial
predictions and beat the odds to
their recovery, demonstrate the ability
to make measurable gains and have the
ability to complete three hours of vigorous therapy a day.
"We're really blessed to have a topnotch rehabilitation center," Boswell
says. "They use a multidisciplinary
approach with nurses, case managers
and many different types of specialized therapists who put a lot of effort
and love into helping patients recover.
Their capabilities are key to allowing
us to have a successful neurosurgical
program in Salina and allowing many
patients from this region to stay close
to home when recovering from all types
of illnesses and injuries."
Clare says staff from within the
rehabilitation department shared a tremendous amount of knowledge about
treating her injury and worked with her
to find solutions to enable her recovery. But she credits a divine presence
"I've done a lot of praying through all
this," Clare says. "I have to give God all
the credit. He placed me in Dr. Boswell's
hands to perform a successful surgery
and in these rehabilitation therapists'
hands to help me recover." 1
A Program Focused
Salina Regional's Inpatient
Rehabilitation program accepts
patients with a wide range of diagnoses, including head and spinal
cord injury, stroke and orthopedic
surgical recovery, among others.
The program has been recognized as a leader in the 10-state
Midwestern region for overall
quality outcomes, efficiency in
patient gains and percentage of
patients who return home following dismissal.
In order to be admitted to
the program, patients must
need medical oversight during
Left: Marci Clare of Abilene, with her children Haley, Zane and Ames
(Keenan not pictured), is walking today after a severe spinal cord
injury threatened to leave her paralyzed.
Right: Marci Clare first stood with the use of a sling to steady her while
in Salina Regional's Inpatient Rehabilitation program.
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