Christina P. Smiling with the Montecito Therapy Team

Montecito Success Story:

Christina P.

Prior to November 22, 2021, I was under treatment for a malignancy in my bone marrow. I lived at home with my husband, a retired physician and I a retired nurse. Despite my medical challenges, I was active along with my husband, attending our grandson’s hockey games and our granddaughters ice skating lessons every week. I was growing more anemic due to the chemotherapy pill, I was taking to stop the fibrosis in my bone marrow. With the anemia and weakness, my immune system grew increasingly worse and I would pick up colds and viruses fairly easily. My husband and I both picked up covid. He being the healthier of the two of us, seemed to be getting better.

Unfortunately, on November 18, he passed away, suddenly without warning. He wasn’t that sick. I progressively got worse and my oldest daughter came from Tucson to stay with me and care for me. Both our daughters and our youngest daughters husband stepped up to the task of caring for me as I progressively got worse.

On the 22 of November they took me to ER where I was found to have covid pneumonia. I declined quickly and was admitted to ICU and was intubated and was near death. The Dr’s put me on paralytic drugs and Opioids, which paralyzed me. I was in hospital for a month and was released to Banner Select long term facility for another month.

While there, our youngest daughter worked with the social service department and physical therapy to find a suitable place for me to go to finish rehab and determine if I could rehabilitate fully or at what level I could be rehabilitated to.

My daughter’s advocacy was instrumental in saving my life. She insisted the paralytic and opioid drugs were stopped. I was unconscious and non responsive for almost 2 months. As soon as they stopped the drugs, I started to wake up.
Mid January when I woke up, my daughter found Montecito. After she did extensive research and talked to the director and case managers there, she decided it was the best place for me.

When I arrived at Montecito I was pretty well paralyzed. Minimally able to move arms and legs, is about all I was able to accomplish.
Being a nurse, I was perplexed about why I went from a functioning human being to paralysis in a few short months.

My daughters and son in laws actively worked with me. Moving my arms and legs, massaging arms, legs, hands and feet. Helping me go through range of motion exercise and encouraging me to do what I could, even if it was wiggling my toes or moving my hands and feet back and forth, so I did.

At first I couldn’t lift my arms to scratch my nose or raise my legs….or roll over. I was like a newborn infant. My brain was quickly regaining all the ground lost while in a vegetative state, from the drugs. Plus, I had developed a new pneumonia and had been so anemic in the hospital I required several transfusions. So there were so many unknowns and variables at play along with trying to get my body working again.

From the first assessment by Physical Therapy, there was a positive attitude and encouragement that put me at ease and in the mind set to do whatever they told me to do, so I could go home.

I encountered Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Respiratory Therapy, due to the tracheotomy I had inserted in the hospital to help me breathe.

I was treated with respect and care by these professionals.

Victor and Stephanie were my primary PT and OT contacts. Monday through Friday, they were there every morning with a few simple tasks to get me up and moving. Whatever they asked me to do, I did. I also would go through these movements and exercises while in the bed or wheelchair.

Each week, progress was made. In less than a month, I was standing and walking with a walker.
By April 2, 2022, I was walking without assistance, dressing, showering and going home.

There were things about the general nursing that needs some work. Staffing and patient ratio to CNA’s, was often inadequate.
I cannot say anything negative about Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy or Respiratory Therapy. The care I received from them and from the majority of nurses, CNA’s and Hospitality aides were caring and compassionate.

It would have been nice to have PT a little longer during the day, especially as I grew stronger. Maybe a few more machines in their gym would be nice….or some type of water therapy.

Montecito was a good choice for me. They were instrumental in my complete rehab after I received the miracle of life after a near death experience. It was a MIRACLE that I survived the 2 months in the hospital. It was by God’s grace and a team of people who prayed and loved me through a very challenging, 4 months of my life. If it weren’t for my family being involved with my care and filling in the gaps and the team of professionals who cared for me, I would not be home, caring for myself. It took a team and God provided!