“If you touched my legs it was like sheer agony,” says Tracy Main, whose fall in the shower on Mother’s Day of 2022 thrust him into a whirlwind of hospital visits and assessments before reaching St. John’s Rehabilitation Services, where he began his recovery journey to get back home. “I couldn’t walk. My feet felt like dead weights.”
Tracy admits that when he was provided a list of possible rehabilitation service providers, he was not well-informed about the options. Some providers did not have any openings at the time of his necessary discharge. According to Tracy, after the third time of being asked where he wanted to go by the hospital social worker, his wife looked at him–urging him to make a choice. “I did not know what to expect,” says Tracy, “I said fine; let’s go to St. John’s.”
The transition from the hospital to St. John’s Rehabilitation Center was quick and shortly after arriving, Tracy recalls being settled in his room. According to Tracy, it was the greeting he received upon arrival that was one of his first indications about what he might expect in care. “It was a very friendly atmosphere. Everyone introduced themselves,” says Tracy.
From the beginning, Tracy was self-motivated to do things on his own and even requested a “hook bar” so he could get in and out of bed independently. “That really helped the most. It worked great,” says Tracy, who self-admittedly had no intention of being dependent on anyone for necessary mobility.
According to Tracy, once physical therapy began, his recovery really progressed. Having the same three therapists as part of his team was something Tracy truly valued. “The consistency was the best,” says Tracy. “The therapists pushed me further and further. They were excellent.”
Tracy also appreciated the treatment meetings he had on a frequent basis with the team members involved with his care. He jokingly remembers feeling like the “chairman of the board,” but said that what he took away from those experiences was that his opinions always mattered. “They asked me ‘how do you feel’ and ‘what do you think,'” says Tracy.
Being realistic about his treatment goals and expectations, Tracy says “my whole thing was let’s just center on getting out of here and doing what I can.” According to Tracy, he knew he would not immediately be able to resume previous activities like going to his cottage or fishing from his boat. Tracy was happy to have been able to go from experiencing excruciating pain in his legs and not being able to walk, to using a walker upon discharge.
Another foundational aspect of care according to Tracy was the responsiveness he experienced from various members of his treatment team, but he especially recalls instances when there needed to be adjustments to his medical care. “I had a voice. At other places they hear you, but they ignore you. Here they listen to you–that’s the difference,” says Tracy.
Tracy was also moved positively by the relationships he observed between staff members up on the residence floor, where he stayed. “They are more like a family. It was warming to see,” says Tracy, who notes that even though are busy, he saw them giving each other “high fives” and “pitching in to help.”
This rehab experience also brought his own family closer together says Tracy. His wife Jacqueline was a regular visitor, bringing favorite foods from home. And, his grown daughters Jessica and Alexandra, who live out of town, would alternate visits a week at a time to spend time with Jacqueline at home and then come up to visit Tracy with their mom to just “hang out.” According to Tracy, having his daughters around to support his wife allowed him to be able to focus on his therapy without worry.
In post reflection of his whole experience at St. John’s, Tracy notes that he had choices and would not have stayed if he didn’t feel welcome. “This place, with me not knowing what to expect, gave me a lot of respect for what they do here,” says Tracy.
“Most times all you hear about upon someone’s discharge are the bad experiences endured during their stay. I would return in a minute, if I had to for rehab. Nothing but high marks from me, thank you,” says Tracy.