All posts by Mary Walsh

Bob Taylor

“While a building is a building, the staff makes it happen. They are outstanding, caring, and positive.”

From day one, Bob Taylor was impressed with the care he received at RHNI.

Dartboards and the first Olympic swimming pool may not have made it to South Bend without the help of Robert “Bob” Taylor. Bob enjoyed his many years of coaching high school sports and teaching Public Affairs to the students at Indiana University. As a former City Councilman of South Bend, IN, Bob likes connecting with people and staying active.

Bob uses a cane to help him get around. On Thanksgiving Day, he was helping his wife carry items from the garage and decided to use both of his hands. This decision resulted in a ground-level fall in which he sustained a right humeral fracture while impacting his head.

Over the next month, Bob became weak and experienced confusion. Then, one January day, Bob and his wife went to the Elkhart General emergency room. They admitted him to their ICU unit with a bilateral subdural hematoma. He later underwent a burr hole drainage procedure.

Ten days post-op, Bob arrived at Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana to begin intense therapy. His family chose RHNI as they have heard good things in the community. After only a day or two, Bob was already impressed with the team. He said, “While a building is a building, the staff makes it happen. They are outstanding, caring, and positive.” Everyone he met he liked and trusted them with his care.

During his 17 days at RHNI, Bob utilized the hospital’s therapy board in his room. It kept him updated and on track to meet his goals. He explained, “Inpatient rehabilitation is like no other! This is definitely the way to go.”

Bob looks forward to returning home with his wife, Nancy, and is very thankful for her unconditional support. Bob now truly understands what great care looks like!

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Brady August

“My 13-day stay at RHNI was nothing but awesome. From the food to the care, everything and everyone was spot on.”

In January, Brady August went for a routine checkup. During his visit, they found a small cancerous mass on his lung. He had it surgically removed at IU Health University Hospital. Shortly after his successful surgery, he went into advanced cardiac arrest. His heart stopped beating, and they had to use a defibrillator eight times.

In critical condition, Brady was bedridden for two weeks. His case manager at IU Health University Hospital spoke to Brady and his sisters and presented some continued care options. They chose Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana to complete intensive therapy to regain his strength.

Not familiar with rehabilitation, Brady didn’t know what to expect. He stated, “My 13-day stay at RHNI was nothing but awesome. From the food to the care, everything and everyone was spot on.”

Brady was extremely impressed with the team and the facility as well. “The new building is attractive, and this team really backs up the stunning appearance.” He attributes his success to the team at RHNI and said that his goals were their goals. He connected with his therapist Jane and said she was realistic, pushed him to achieve his goals, and kept him informed.

“Rehab was a positive, positive experience. Friend to friend, not professional to a client, is the feeling I received at RHNI.”

Brady’s strength has really improved, but he knows his endurance will take some time to build back up. He is looking forward to getting back to Reins of Life and being an advocate for the youth of South Bend.

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Joseph Steenbeke

“I felt so blessed with the unbelievable care I received.”

Joseph Steenbeke of Mishawaka, IN is an avid Belgium bowler. He spends his time on the St. Joseph River, where he enjoys the water and fishing. He also spends his days painting, woodworking, and reading the Bible.

In November, on his birthday, Joe had an appointment at the VA Hospital in Fort Wayne, IN. During this visit, he met with a pulmonologist who diagnosed Joe with a pulmonary embolism. After a few nights in the VA Hospital, they determined Joe needed intense therapy to return home safely. Case management placed a call to Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana, knowing it would be a perfect fit for Joe.

After ten days at RHNI, Joe returned home to his wife and family. Joe was initially scheduled to stay a few more days, but he quickly reached his goals allowing him to discharge ahead of schedule. Joe gives a lot of credit to his RHNI therapy team of Louie, Chris, Tara, and Becky. They gave him the motivation he needed to recover. He also received support from his nursing team, as Joe needed help showering and utilizing the bathroom. When describing the staff, Joe said, “They are all a part of my family.”

Joe stated, “I didn’t have one bad meal. I would place a smiley face on my empty plate so the kitchen would know I appreciate them. I loved every moment I was there and felt so blessed with the unbelievable care I received. On the day I left, they threw a party for me that will stay with me and my family all my life. My family was so impressed and appreciative.”

Joe has a planned Achilles surgery in late January 2022 and hopes to return to RHNI for his therapy.

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Ezequiel Flores

“I’m going to walk out of here when it comes time for me to leave.”

Ezequiel Flores of Bremen, IN is a hard-working and dedicated family man with strong roots in his community. He worked in the foundry at Bremen Castings and performed heavy lifting and general maintenance.

In September, Ezequiel progressively felt weaker and weaker. This weakness led to a severe fall at work and a trip to the emergency department at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center. They admitted him with an acute axonal variant of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

After spending several weeks in the hospital, Ezequiel’s condition continued to deteriorate. While in the hospital, he suffered acute respiratory failure due to pneumonia and ascending paralysis of all four of his extremities. Once he stabilized, Ezequiel came to Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana for intensive therapy and rehabilitation.

Upon admission, Ezequiel couldn’t move his extremities without maximum effort. During his therapy evaluations, he stated his goal, “I’m going to walk out of here when it comes time for me to leave.”

Close to 28 days later, and just two days before Thanksgiving, Ezequiel did just that. Not only was his rehabilitation successful, but he walked out on discharge day only needing a single-point cane. Congratulations on a job well done, Ezequiel! Everyone at RHNI is so proud of you and your motivation to get better!

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Carolyn White

Carolyn White was inspired by her therapists to take her recovery one day at a time.

Carolyn White has been a caretaker to her husband since he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in his 50s. They love spending time with family, especially their grandchild and great-grandchild. In her spare time, Carolyn enjoys crocheting and knitting items for babies like sweaters and hats. She worked for Genesis as an assembler on and off for ten years until she had a stroke and aneurysm.

Quickly going from caretaker to patient, Carolyn found herself at a hospital in Chicago. Seeing her progress there, Carolyn’s family knew she needed extended care. Her daughter and husband toured a few different facilities. They ended up liking Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana the most and trusted the employees they met.

After 12 days at RHNI, Carolyn wanted to go home even though she had more to accomplish. Her care team talked her into staying a few more days. Carolyn explained, “I’m so glad I did! The last few days didn’t feel like therapy. Ashley and Mariah are very sweet girls. They came to my room and helped me with some of the things I still needed help with, like walking.” At times, recovery was frustrating for Carolyn when she didn’t see progress as fast as she wanted. Her family supported her through the difficult times. They gave her the motivation to keep pushing.

Carolyn’s care team helped her realize that recovery doesn’t happen overnight. They told her with time, patience, and hard work, she could accomplish her goals. Her speech therapist taught her to speak slow and easy. She said, “I learned that patients need to listen and pay attention, and they will make it out stronger. I don’t consider myself a success. I see myself as being grounded in hard work.”

Now in the comfort of her home, Carolyn looks forward to continuing her recovery. Her goal is to independently maneuver around her house. She’s been able to get up the stairs with help from her daughter and husband. She started outpatient therapy with RHNI with hopes to get even stronger. She also plans to join the stroke support group to hear other people’s stories and the struggles they faced.

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Stanley Mason

Stanley Mason is usually up by 6:00 a.m. and out the door by 7:00 a.m. on his way to his job working for Michigan City Schools. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending quality time with his wife, Andrea. They both enjoy watching movies and going to dinner. Their favorite spot is Kelsey’s Steakhouse where they are known by name.

After undergoing back surgery, Stanley knew he needed intense therapy to return to normal life. He wanted the best recovery and required dialysis. The hospital gave him several facilities to choose from and suggested that he visit with the SBO doctor who told him about Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana. They said, “RHNI is the best!”

Andrea looked into RHNI and found rave reviews and success stories. This research made them both confident in choosing RHNI for Stanley’s extended recovery. With the help of his wife, Stanley developed his recovery goals. His main goal was to be able to walk again. When he arrived at RHNI, Stanley’s therapists and nurses pushed him to work hard and supported his recovery through close care and attention.

“My nurse, Kelly, noticed sores on my feet. She noticed right away and paid personal attention to every detail of my care. Louis in therapy was a major player and all the staff has been a blessing,” Stanley shared.

Throughout his recovery, Stanley’s wife was consistently a source of strength. “She was my rock.” With all his support, Stanley worked hard at his recovery. He is now returning home excited to relax in his own space. He looks forward to spending time with Andrea without having her travel to visit him.

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Robert Swank

Robert Swank has dealt with back issues since childhood. He avoided the problem, and when life got busy with his family, he learned to live with it. As a former football player, he enjoyed playing catch with his six kids. He also worked full-time as a forklift driver. Robert would find workarounds to mask his condition allowing him to function day-to-day.

As the pain started getting worse, it became harder to hide. Robert finally gave in and saw his doctor. The visit resulted in immediate surgery. Post-op, Robert knew that he would need continued care. His physicians recommended Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana. After learning more about RHNI’s intense therapy program, he decided it would be the best choice.

From the start, Robert’s family has been there for him. His mom offers emotional support, his fiancé, Erica, stays on top of details in his life, and his son hangs out at the hospital to lift his spirits. Another layer of support comes from the RHNI staff. He stated, “Mariah (OT), Ashley (PT), and Chris (PT) push me. They try new things and push me to my limit. With my football background, ‘I can’t’ and ‘no’ aren’t an option. I’m used to pushing.”

While in recovery, Robert stopped smoking and wants to continue avoiding it when he gets home. Aside from that, his main goal is to walk again. He feels that the more independent he can be, the less stress there is on his family. Being independent for him means going back to work and providing for his family. The thought of playing catch with his kids again brings a big smile to his face.

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Cindy Roettgen

Cindy put her trust in RHNI and is looking forward to a healthy life after experiencing a bad fall.

While Cindy Roettgen loved her job working as a full-time phlebotomist, she also made time for her hobbies. Outside of work, she enjoyed traveling, especially to Las Vegas, and also likes to make jewelry. After suffering a bad fall, she had to put her life on pause and focus on her recovery.

Working in the medical field, Cindy knew that a rehabilitation hospital would be her best option. After driving past Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana almost every day for work, she became familiar with their inpatient program. As the only facility of its kind in the area, Cindy chose RHNI to give herself the best chance to get back to better. She explained, “At my age, it’s harder to heal. I needed a place focused on getting me back to normal.”

With a team of supportive therapists, Cindy started her rehabilitation program. “The therapy team is positive and motivating. All of them. Your personal progress is their priority.” Some of her obstacles included a foot injury, her weight, and upper body weakness making any mobility difficult. Despite these challenges, she put her trust in RHNI.

“Louie pushed me to use my arms and I worked hard. It has made all the difference. He pushed me to strengthen the core parts of my body, so now I want to lose weight and be a healthier person. My journey does not stop here.”

Cindy stays motivated by focusing on the reward of physical health and living her best life. As she continues her recovery, Cindy is most excited about being able to walk and drive again. “I’m ready to get back to work, travel, and just enjoy life.” Her long-term goal is to develop a physical activity routine so she can make her body stronger and her life better.

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James Sumption

As a previous patient at RHNI, James returned for continued care after he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder.

Before his illness, James Sumption spent his time outdoors, camping and marine boat watching. He enjoyed doing activities with his wife, Sue, and their large family. They have three grown children, two sons and one daughter, and eight grandchildren. But his entire lifestyle changed when James received his neurological diagnosis.

After spending time at Memorial Hospital, James’s physician knew that he would need to continue his recovery at another facility. As a previous patient of Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana, he knew he would receive a great level of care. He was transferred to RHNI where he started inpatient therapy.

Upon arrival, James had a lot of anxiety about falling, but the staff helped him overcome this fear. “Louie and Chris were the most helpful. They made me walk when I was afraid to and told me no slumping,” he explained. This helped him gain the confidence he needed to start walking again.

James worked on different exercises that would prepare him for independent living once he was discharged. Using the simulated vehicle in the therapy gym, he practiced getting in and out of the car. Thinking of being able to walk outside kept him motivated to complete these exercises. He continues to work hard so he won’t have to use assisted devices like his lift chair.

While staying at RHNI, James loved the food and was impressed with his meals every day. The street steak burrito was his favorite. “I want to thank everyone at RHNI for treating me well and helping me recover,” he stated. Another great thing about the facility is the ability to have visitors. It was so important to see his wife every day and to have her encourage him to do therapy. “RHNI is the #1 rehab in this part of the state,” he added.

Ready for warm weather, James looks forward to sitting on his front porch with Sue. His goal is to stay in shape and keep his bad days to a minimum. He wants to avoid any future trips to the hospital so he can spend time with his family and enjoy life.

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Barbara Allen

Barbara Allen regained her strength at RHNI after suffering a stroke.

Barbara Allen lived a full and comfortable life with her family. Her daily routine consisted of working and raising her children with her loving husband. The life that she built was interrupted after she suffered a stroke.

Barbara was taken to Saint Joseph Hospital where she received her initial care. As she progressed, Barbara’s physician knew that she would need extended care before returning home. The staff explained to Barbara that she could get the therapy she needed at Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana.

Upon arrival at RHNI, Barbara’s therapy started right away with different exercises. She worked hard with her team of physical, occupational, and speech therapists on things like regaining strength in her arm. Her family provided a constant source of motivation, and getting back to her old life kept her going. Barbara also credits her progress to the RHNI staff.

“They helped me most by listening, having a good attitude, providing comfort, motivation, and most of all, making me feel welcomed.”

As Barbara continues to recover, she looks forward to returning home to her family and normal life. “I’m most excited about getting back to working, feeding myself, and learning to appreciate the little things in life like texting on the phone.”

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