Success Stories

Dora Sadler

Dora came to RHNI to regain her independence after a stroke

At 48 years old, Dora Sadler worked hard to control her high blood pressure. With a history of cerebrovascular accident, or CVA, in her family, Dora understood the importance of doing so.

One day, Dora began to feel off balance a few hours into her 12-hour shift at Lippert’s in Bristol. One of her coworkers called EMS, which transported Dora to Goshen Hospital.

At the hospital, Dora received news that she had suffered a mild stroke. Once stabilized, Dora returned home, only to suffer a second, more severe stroke two weeks later.

Dora returned to Goshen Hospital and met with a neurologist. Unfortunately, the neurologist didn’t think Dora would get much better. She experienced a burning sensation in her muscles on her left side, “very bad” shakes, and a stutter.

But Dora is a fiercely independent woman. “I did not want my family having the burden to care for me, and I wasn’t going to have to depend upon a wheelchair or walker,” Dora stated. “I needed intensive therapy!”

Dora decided to admit to Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana (RHNI) for her stroke recovery. She spent 16 days at the inpatient rehabilitation hospital and made significant progress.

“I am so glad for this place,” Dora stated. “I am not 100% prior to my stroke, but 110% from when it first happened. All the therapy helped me and put me on my way to making me better. They pushed me to what I could do.”

Dora wished to thank her speech therapists for making her feel better by talking slower, as the stroke significantly impacted Dora’s speech. “Speech therapy encouraged me. I am very proud to be where I am at today. It feels so good to be able to sit and talk and not be so tired due to my shakes.”

With an eye toward her next steps, the RHNI team worked with Dora to develop a plan and set her up for success. “Case management provided me a list of outside agencies that will come into my home and help me accomplish things the right and safe way,” she noted. Dora’s family also participated in family training at RHNI so they could safely help Dora at home. “Family training day was the first day my daughter came to see me as I didn’t want her to worry about me, and I wanted to walk to her.”

And that’s exactly what Dora did.

Dora would like to advise others, “don’t look to the bad. You will not see the good, and you must keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward.” Dora is looking forward to taking care of herself, walking around her house, playing with her granddaughter, fishing, and skating again.

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Dr. Michael Thomas

Dr. Thomas and his wife, Carole, had a wonderful experience at RHNI as he recovered from surgery on his spine.

Retired after 33 years as a urologist, Dr. Michael Thomas lives a very active life in Elkhart with his wife, Carole. Dr. Thomas particularly enjoys playing golf as a part of his social and physical life. But back problems left his future on the links in doubt.

Having previously had back surgery, Dr. Thomas again faced a decision whether to undergo elective surgery on his spine. “I knew I needed this procedure, as I didn’t want to be a couch potato,” he said. So Dr. Thomas decided to have an elective lumbar spondylosis surgery. Following the surgery, he required intensive inpatient rehabilitation.

While at Elkhart General Hospital, a clinical liaison spoke with the Thomases about rehabilitation and what it entails. Carole then toured the two inpatient rehabilitation hospitals in the area and decided upon Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana for the next phase of her husband’s recovery. “I liked how the parking lot is right out front of the hospital, how the hospital was very clean, and that it is a free-standing rehabilitation hospital,” she noted. Dr. Thomas also found comfort in knowing an employee at RHNI from their days working together at Elkhart General.

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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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Margaret Adams

Margaret Adams chose RHNI to help her regain her independence after back surgery

Margaret Adams and her husband, Robert, have built a life of which they are proud. They have four children and enjoy spending time with all their grandkids. Margaret attends church and loves taking care of her garden. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with lumbar myelopathy. This is an injury that occurs due to severe compression to the middle area of the spinal cord. Because of her condition, she couldn’t keep up with all the activities in her life.

After her lumbar surgery, Margaret’s family knew she needed to continue her recovery at a rehabilitation hospital. One of her daughters, Stacey Clay, is the unit secretary at Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana. Stacey knew that RHNI would keep her mother comfortable and provide her with a positive experience. She was hesitant at first, but her loving daughter was adamant about the great services they provide.

With God and family by her side, Margaret chose to be admitted to RHNI. Each day, she thought about her family to keep herself motivated. She worked hard with the staff to achieve her recovery goals. “The therapy staff really motivated my cognitive thinking, especially Beth and Allana.”

Margaret looks forward to getting back to the activities she enjoyed most, like gardening. “The grandkids are taking care of my flowers now, and they’re still green!” She also remains motivated to take care of her health. “God has been good to me, and I want to live a long and healthy life, to see my grandkids grow up and graduate.”

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Jerry Zaplinty

Losing your independence due to injury is never easy. That has been particularly true for 92-year-old Jerry Zaplinty. Jerry is a true family man, married 60 years with two children and two grandchildren. Jerry definitely enjoyed keeping busy! Though Jerry noticed that his mobility and balance seemed off, he ignored the signals his body was sending him. After enough time disregarding his symptoms and not utilizing adaptive equipment like a walker, Jerry found himself in the hospital.

After extensive testing, Jerry was diagnosed with subdural hematoma, a type of bleeding that occurs within the skull but outside the brain tissue. Working through a therapy program at another facility, he realized that it was not a good fit and was looking for more. He was referred to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana by a family member. Jerry connected with Dr. Blendonohy, the medical director at RHNI, who explained how the rehabilitation process worked.

Jerry’s motivation comes from being able to gain back his independence, like talking and walking freely, and getting back to handling things around the house like finances, cleaning, and opening mail. He is very appreciative of RHNI’s generosity and the support from staff members including Rachel, Louie, Tiffany, and Chris who went above and beyond to support his recovery. He felt valued that the hospital CEO, John Day, took the time to get to know him. “He gave a firm handshake,” he noted.

Jerry also shared how special the staff made his last day. “The ‘Priority One’ was really touching,” he said. During a “Priority One,” all available staff line the hallway and clap for a patient as they discharge from the hospital on their last day.

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Kim Maybee

Kim Maybee prepares to discharge home from Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana

Kim Maybee prepares to discharge home from RHNI in time to spend Christmas at home with his family

Kim Maybee was always busy. For the last 27 years, Kim worked full-time as a supervisor at LyondellBasell. He spent his free time enjoying his swimming pool, working in his yard, going to car shows, and traveling to Indianapolis to watch drag racing.

That was before Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare neurological condition where the body’s immune system attacks the nerves.

For Kim, it began with two weeks in bed, followed by admission to a local acute care hospital. GBS took a major toll on Kim’s independence. While at the acute care hospital, Kim required assistance just to transfer from his bed to a chair.

As Kim and his family began to plan for discharge from the acute care hospital they spoke with Dr. Blendonohy. “Dr. B” suggested Kim consider a transfer to the Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana. Kim and his wife felt Dr. B was very sincere about the potential for improvement Kim could see from intensive inpatient rehabilitation. They chose to continue Kim’s recovery at RHNI. And they’re glad they did.

At RHNI, Kim made great progress in regaining his independence. He credits the staff for helping him achieve his goals. “Sarah and Jane have been great!” Kim said of his main therapists. He also recognized Louie, Cece, the nurses, and PCTs for being wonderful. “I have nothing but positive things to say about the staff,” he added, always saying to them “you are my angels.”

But above all, Kim credits his wife, Debbie, for helping him the most on his journey recovering from GBS. He said Debbie was his biggest supporter. He also noted that “God and all of the prayers have allowed me to make the progress I have made.”

Kim is excited to be able to walk again and independently complete his normal, daily activities. Kim stated that returning home with his family “is the best Christmas gift ever!”

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Robert Rogers

Robert Rogers chose RHNI to help him recover from a broken hip.

Before suffering a broken hip, Robert Rogers enjoyed an active life at the independent living facility where he resided. Robert’s daughter and granddaughter visited him frequently. He enjoyed watching westerns, driving around in his RAV4, and visiting Lake Michigan. He played golf two to three times per week and traveled to many courses, including his favorite, Pebble Beach.

After being treated for the hip fracture at Memorial Hospital, Robert needed rehabilitation. He heard about the Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana from the staff at Memorial. Robert’s daughter was determined to get her father the best care. Working with the case management team at Memorial, they chose RHNI.

Robert and his daughter are happy with their choice. “Everyone, everyone is very nice and is always happy to help,” he said of the staff at RHNI. He noted the impact physical therapy has made on his recovery, specifically thanking his therapists, Chris and Louie.

Each day, Robert drew on his desire to get back to life before the hip fracture. Robert continued to progress and looks forward to gaining enough strength to do things with his family again, which includes six grandkids and eight great-grandkids.

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Michelle Pyburn

Michelle Pyburn chose Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana for physical and occupational therapy.

Michelle Pyburn chose Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana for physical and occupational therapy.

In her own words, Michelle Pyburn “lived a pretty normal life” before her accident. “I worked all day and would go home after work. I was very independent and cared for myself,” Michelle noted.

After the accident, Michelle was unsure what the future held. “My sister…did lots of research as to what the next step in my recovery was going to be following the [short-term acute care] hospital.” Michelle’s sister began looking into rehabilitation hospitals in the area. When she found Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, Michelle recalled watching the facility’s construction. “Ironically, I passed by this place several times while it was being built,” she said. “I wondered what type of building it was going to be. I never thought that I would be staying here, receiving therapy!”

But Michelle is glad she did. “I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t come here.”

Family would be the fuel for Michelle’s recovery. “They are what keeps me motivated,” she said. “I haven’t seen them in two months and miss them dearly.” Michelle’s mother and sister, in particular, played key roles. “They have helped me get through my most difficult days. Times that I have felt too tired to work, I think of them and push myself to get through it. They have supported and motivated me to get better.”

In addition to her family, Michelle drew on her faith. “God also motivates me,” she said. “He gave me a second chance.”

While working on her recovery at RHNI, two staff members made a significant impact on Michelle. “Louie and Rachel, they have encouraged me and motivated me during therapy. Rachel is so compassionate. Having lost the ability to move my arm has been the most difficult thing to cope with, so Rachel has worked the hardest in trying to get me back to normal.”

“I feel very blessed to be here,” Michelle shared. “I have learned and gained so much. Everyone is amazing, friendly, and humble, from the nursing staff to housekeeping to the kitchen staff.”

Though Michelle is grateful for her stay at RHNI, she looks forward to returning home. “I am excited to get back to work. I miss my co-workers very much. I miss my consumers a lot, too. I am very committed and dedicated to my job. Not having that face-to-face contact is not only hard on my consumers, but it is hard on me, as well.”

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Darlene Sibberson

When Darlene Sibberson suffered a stroke, her hobbies of cooking and writing came to a halt. Darlene was afraid she would not be able to write her name in cursive or enjoy her freedom of mobility anymore. When she knew she needed rehab, her family started researching facilities in town. They noticed that RHNI had great ratings. Darlene stated, “When I saw the ratings at your hospital, I knew I had to get a spot in there!”

Darlene finds herself continuously motivated by her progress in therapy. Throughout her entire stay, she has maintained an amazing attitude. “Accomplish something new in therapy every single day” was her motto. One of the staff members that helped keep Darlene’s spirits up was our physical therapist, Louie. Darlene noted how Louie would push her to reach her goals but was always patient when she needed it most.

Darlene is now able to write cursive again and has gained her independence back. She remains motivated to continue using the therapy techniques she learned at RHNI to keep her recovery going. Her husband, Frank, spoke about how nervous their family was in sending Darlene to rehab. But they are so thankful for how much progress she has made and what a great experience she had at RHNI.


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Laverne Molenda

Laverne Molenda sits in her room at Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana with a book and flowers from her husband, Ron

Laverne Molenda seeks to regain her strength and mobility at RHNI so she can get back to traveling

Before her fall, Laverne Molenda lived a full and pain-free life. Laverne spent her days reading, traveling with her husband, Ron, and visiting her grandchildren in Indianapolis. She particularly loved traveling to different vacation spots. Her travels included places as near as Michigan and as far as Europe.

Laverne and Ron heard about Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana from her physician, Dr. Afyouni. The Molendas trusted Dr. Afyouni’s opinion and expertise, choosing RHNI for Laverne’s recovery. They knew she would be in good hands and receive the rehabilitation she needed to return to her full life.
When asked who helped her the most through her journey, Laverne didn’t hesitate: “Ron!” Laverne’s husband has been very supportive and caring during her recovery. The role of loving supporter is one to which Ron has become accustomed. Two years ago, Laverne was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia. This chronic condition can cause simple stimulation, like brushing your teeth or putting on makeup, to trigger excruciating pain. Through it all, Ron has been right by Laverne’s side.
Laverne and Ron also credit her physical therapist, Louie, for his role in her recovery. “Louie is very good with her and her therapies,” Ron said. “He pushes her just enough to encourage her.” Louie and Laverne have been working on walking and balance. “Those are the areas she needed the most focus,” Ron stated. “Louie is very patient with her, and that’s very important to me.”
Laverne’s motivation is to simply get well. This is what pushes her daily to keep working toward recovery. Her goals are to walk again without any devices, get stronger, and have less pain. Every day at RHNI, Laverne gets closer to her goals.
Looking ahead, Laverne is excited to get back to her social life. She looks forward to going to lunch with her friends again, and traveling with Ron to visit family and see new sites!
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Leroy Vankirk

Leroy Vankirk chose RHNI to help him regain his independence after a complicated spine surgery.

After a difficult spinal surgery, Leroy Vankirk, 80, set a goal to return to his busy lifestyle. Leroy still works part-time at a manufacturing company that he owns in Michiana. He loves pheasant hunting, golfing, and spending holidays with his family.

Leroy realized he needed rehab to regain his independence. His daughter and wife helped research safe facilities. They decided they could trust Rehabilitation Hospital of Northern Indiana with his care.

Since admitting to RHNI, the details his therapists put into each session has impressed Leroy. Leroy mentioned that the small things have been a huge help and motivator to return home to his family. This includes relearning how to put shoes on safely, shower, and do basic daily activities. Leroy particularly recognized Kim, his respiratory therapist. “She has been a delight to work with and always has a smile on her face,” he said.

Leroy also spoke about how his wife of 44 years, Charlene, is his biggest motivator. Returning to her is what pushes him to work hard in therapy every day.

Leroy’s hard work and dedication to getting back home is what we’re all about here at RHNI!

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