Specialized care in the inpatient rehab unit helps a man take his next step in recovery

Archive, January, Month

“They did an excellent job preparing me for the next step.”

Tim called his aches and pains “rewards of a life well spent.”

Now in his 60s, Tim was feeling the results of his active life — a life in which he used to crash around on the football field, labor as a leisure and racing sailor and submerge as a scuba diver.

Many mornings he would wake up sore or with a stiff back as a reminder of the previous day, but it had never reached the point where he became overly concerned until one morning in February.

“I woke up that morning, and it was actually hard to get out of bed,” he said of his severe back pain. “And then some days after, I couldn’t even get out of bed.”

Tim went through some non-invasive treatments, such as physical therapy and acupuncture, but to truly correct his issues, surgeons would have to operate.

And although the procedure he would soon undergo is considered minimally invasive, there would still be an extended recovery period.

For that, Tim would have to go to a different facility, one he’d never been to before.

In September, surgeons at an Oakland County hospital performed a laminectomy and spinal fusion on Tim’s back, addressing his underlying issue.

After his initial recovery, Tim would have to switch hospitals to continue that recovery with a specially trained team of physical and occupational therapists.

His surgeon recommended McLaren Oakland in Pontiac. The hospital had a bed available for him in its inpatient rehabilitation unit, and it was near his home in Lake Orion.

I would only move if
the system had a great
reputation, and I wanted
to know that the care I
would receive would be
top notch.

Tim had never been to McLaren Oakland nor any McLaren hospital before, “and I wanted to know that the system had a good reputation before I moved.

“I would only move if the system had a great reputation, and I wanted to know that the care I would receive would be top notch, and the treatment would move me forward.”

Earnestly considering his patient’s question, Tim’s surgeon eased any potential concerns – he spoke very highly of McLaren Oakland, offering his endorsement to the hospital.

Late on a Tuesday, Tim was transported to the downtown Pontiac hospital for what became eight days in the inpatient rehabilitation unit.

Tim’s approach to his recovery was to just keep progressing. To get to the point where he could return home for in-home care and ultimately to an outpatient setting, he would need to feel confident in this first step.

“Everyone was very nice and a delight and respectful,” Tim said. “The nursing staff showed a lot of concern. I enjoyed being with them. And the care and compassion they showed for the other patients – to see that makes you feel good when you walk out the door.”

By the time he arrived at McLaren Oakland, Tim had already gotten out of bed a few times. But he knew the rehabilitation team of physical and occupational therapists aimed to keep him progressing.

Over the next eight days, Tim’s recovery would advance to the point where he could walk more than 100 yards, sit for long periods of time while performing everyday movements such as walking stairs and getting in and out of cars.

“They moved things forward,” he said. “They did an excellent job preparing me for the next step.”

Tim made it to the point he was allowed to return home to continue his recovery.

“Everyone has got a job to do,” he said. “McLaren did their job very well.”