Lillian: rising up to meet every challenge
Learning to walk again is not something Lillian expected to do in her eighties but that’s exactly what has happened after a spinal condition suddenly robbed her of mobility.
The independent and sprightly North Shore resident went to bed as normal one night in early May, but when she woke up was shocked to find that she couldn’t feel anything below the waist or move her right leg.
She was urgently admitted to hospital, her mind in a blur, trying to comprehend the turn of events. Extensive tests suggested that Lillian had suffered a relatively rare ‘spinal cord infarction’ or spinal stroke. When she was admitted to Greenwich Hospital about two weeks later, Lillian was completely unable to walk. She required a sling and hoist just to get in and out of bed.
Still reeling from the suddenness of her loss of mobility, Lillian faced the prospect of permanent incapacity and a subsequent longterm admission into a nursing home. But armed with a positive attitude and surrounded by the expert staff of Greenwich Hospital’s rehabilitation unit, Lillian made the choice to put her best foot forward.
Our multi-disciplinary team of medical and health professionals assessed Lillian’s situation and set-about working with her to reach the goal of not only standing again, but eventually to walk unaided. A big part of this was getting Lillian’s mind to teach her legs to walk again, despite the lack of feeling.
Lillian rose to every challenge and determinedly carried out her exercises in the rehabilitation gym. She is full of praise for the Greenwich staff who, as she describes it, went well and truly beyond the call of duty. “I’d often look at the clock and realise they had stayed into their lunch break to assist me. The staff here are so caring!”
Lillian was particularly thankful to the physiotherapists who helped her work around her health problem and re-learn how to walk. And she also acknowledged volunteers who complement the work of staff, encouraging people as they undergo therapy.
Eventually, Lillian was able to overcome the challenges she was facing and in time, step by step, she was able to regain some mobility. As the time approached for Lillian to leave Greenwich, she was walking unaided for several metres and could get around independently with a walking frame.
“I can’t believe it was me that came in, unable to put any weight on my legs and needing a hoist to get in and out of bed,” Lillian says.
Thanks to the diligent efforts of Greenwich staff, Lillian can return to her home, with appropriate modifications, and with the support of At Home Care. She looks forward to regaining much of the lifestyle she enjoyed and rejoices in every step she takes.