Helen Viola’s Story

As an active mother of three boys, Helen Viola had little trouble keeping up for most of her life. That is why it was even more difficult for her when a gradual decline in strength and balance led to a fall and consequently her recent shoulder replacement surgery. “She was capable but not thriving,” says son Tom Viola who hoped to get her on a path to better balance, strength, and recovery. The first step of this recovery process post-surgery was rehabilitation care at St. John’s Home.

Helen admits when she first came to St. John’s Home, she was scared and depressed over her injury. She was in a lot of pain and unsure of what to expect in a new environment. “She really dreaded the whole thing,” says Tom.

Although Helen had been very resistant to help from the St. John’s team at first, physical therapist Molly Lorenz was a major influence for her. “She (Molly) was very motivating and I ultimately got out of my chair and started walking the halls with my new best friend—the walker,” explains Helen. Molly pushed her hard and some days Helen did not like her for it, but she did get her to put in the work.

Helen had two major goals that kept her going throughout her recovery process: holding her new great-grandson and attending her granddaughter’s wedding. With the help of the St. John’s team, Helen’s family, and her determination, Helen was able to meet both of her goals.

Tom Viola has since gone out of his way to thank the team at St. John’s Home for their efforts with his mom stating,

“These are incredibly challenging times in health care and I’m so grateful for your willingness and ability to work through it to provide my mom with the best of care.”

As for any new rehabilitation patients coming to St. John’s, Helen’s best advice: “Let them help you and be ready to work hard.” In addition, she jokes that she wished she had discovered the ice cream shop sooner so she could have taken better advantage.