Brian regains strength thanks to UPHS – Marquette Inpatient Rehab Staff

Brian, second from right, regained his strength thanks to the help from the UPHS – Marquette Inpatient Rehab Staff.

MARQUETTE — There were concerns over Brain Jacobson’s ability to make a full recovery. His whole left side was paralyzed, rendering him immobile. He struggled with his balance and required multiple people to assist him up or to move. Plus, he underwent surgery which left a large incision down the middle of his chest that would later deter what he could do in rehabilitation.

“It was questionable initially because he definitely had lack of insight into his deficits,” said Ritesh Tripathi, UPHS – Marquette Inpatient Rehab Physical Therapist. “He also could not use his arms and was on limitations that he could not push or pull to help … Some people thought he would have to go to a nursing home.”

For a small construction business owner like Jacobson, it was all hard for him to process. He didn’t know if he would be able to work again.

But Jacobson was persistent on not being relegated to a nursing home, and after intense daily therapy sessions with the UPHS Inpatient Rehab staff, Brian was able to regain the ability to walk and no longer needed physical assistance to move or stand. With the help and support of his girlfriend Debbie Roberts, his son Jeremy and his brothers Dale & David Jacobson he was able to return home. His goal is to walk in the UP Pink Power Walk-A-Thon.

Ritesh Tripathi, UPHS – Marquette PT

“It’s amazing,” Brian said. “I never thought I was going to walk again, and they got me going pretty quick here.

“The nurses and the whole staff were great here. The ICU nurse Lindsay Heino and the entire Rehab team including Dr Ostola and Emma Tuskey (occupational therapist) took really good care of me. Robbie Joe Fezatt (social work) and Bill Graham (nursing) were so nice, they went over and above for me. I was nervous coming in, never been to a hospital, but the way they treat you is great and they make you feel like a human being.”

During winter, Brian’s brothers Dale & David drove by his house when they noticed there wasn’t any smoke coming out of the home’s chimney. They tried calling his phone but there was no answer. Brian’s truck was home, therefore Brian’s brothers figured he had to be home as well so they went inside. When they entered the house and saw Brian laying on the floor they were alarmed. His skin felt cold to the touch, and they thought Brian might be dead. It turned out Brian had collapsed with a stroke while attempting the light the wood stove and for two days, Brian was stuck on the ground, unable to stand up. He had no recollection of the time he spent on the ground.

Brian would be brought to UPHS — Marquette where it was discovered that there was a blood clot near his heart; emergency surgery would be required to remove it. In addition to recovering from the stroke, the surgical process of removing the clot would hinder his range of movement during his recovery process.

“He required two people to get up or move at all,” Ritesh said. “The surgery left an incision around his chest so he could not use his arms. There was no movement. Nothing. He basically required help for everything he needed to do.”

Despite his limitations, Brian entered the Inpatient Rehab program motivated and anxious to get back to his active lifestyle before the stroke. Ritesh had to explain that it was going to be a slow process since his body was not cooperating, leaving Brian at a high risk for falling and injuring himself further.

Ritesh’s initial focus was to get Brian to be able to sit up by himself without falling over. He would have Brian sit at the edge of the bed to work on his sitting balance to serve as a base before moving on to other exercises. Eventually, he worked on standing up and sitting down in a chair. The goal was to get Brian to be able to stand up from a bed and get into his wheelchair so that he can gain mobility and not be bed-ridden.

“It was different,” Brian said of the inpatient rehab process. “I never had anything like this. I couldn’t move my leg until they started working on it. It kind of makes you nervous. I was getting high anxiety, too, and I didn’t know what happened to me at first. All of a sudden get carted up here and you can’t move your leg or arm, you don’t know what’s going on. It was great to see the progress.”

Brian’s improvement went by at a slow rate, but Ritesh noticed a breakthrough when the staff set Brian up with a walker that had a platform to support both of his arms. The first day, Ritesh recalls Brian needed plenty of help to move forward; it was on the second day of the walker that the staff saw notable progress.

“We saw that there was a carryover and he could do it,” Ritesh said. “It was like, OK, this is the point where we need to focus more on walking with him, and he can do it. That was the turning point. It was almost 10-12 days into his stay here that he switched. He could do it and he realized he could move his legs and went from there.”

On the day he was discharged from the hospital, Brian exchanged hugs and goodbyes with the UPHS staff, and then one final time, he got up from his wheelchair and walked forward with his cane without the assistance of anyone else. From wondering if he’d ever walk again to moving on his own, Brian overcame a stroke, and surgery to remove a clot, to return home.

“It was really remarkable,” Ritesh said. “It was possible he’d have to go to a nursing home because he would not be able to take care of himself due to too many deficits. But working with him, he absolutely made the decision that he was not going to a nursing home. He wanted to be put to work, wanted to do anything and listened.

“It was really, really good to see someone achieve as much as he did coming from where he was.”

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