Cheryl Slipski, 62, was driving her car early in the morning when a driver in the oncoming lane took his eyes off the road to text on his cell phone.
“His car crossed the yellow line and nearly hit me head on,” Slipski recalls. “I was knocked out briefly, but when I awoke, I realized the whole side of my car was missing. I pulled out my cell phone and called 911 because I knew it was early and there weren’t many cars on the road.”
Both cars were totaled, but the texting driver who hit Slipski walked away from the accident without any injuries. Slipski wasn’t so lucky. Bones protruded from both sides of her left ankle and her left femur was broken. She also suffered a broken right ankle and right wrist as well as a concussion.
“The doctors weren’t sure if they would be able to save my left leg initially,” she says. “But, luckily, after a bone graph and some surgeries, it was saved.”
Following six days of care at UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it was time to transfer to another facility. Slipski could go to either a nursing home or choose a rehabilitation hospital. Without thinking twice, she chose to go to HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital.
“I know other people that have been injured and have gone to HealthSouth Harmarville and I have never heard anyone ever say anything bad about the facility,” she replies. “To never hear anything bad at all, that is pretty awesome.”
When Slipski first arrived at HealthSouth Harmarville, she was barely able to move.
“I couldn’t do anything for myself,” she says. “I had pins in my leg and had to learn to use my left hand since my right hand was injured.”
Slipski’s rehabilitation team helped make her time at HealthSouth Harmarville a positive experience.
“The staff at the hospital is wonderful,” she comments. “Even when you’re having a down day and you’re disgusted, they have a way to motivate you and get you to accomplish what you need to do.”
When Slipski wasn’t in therapy, her recreation therapy team members encouraged her.
“When you were done with therapy for the day, they’d get you out of your room and help you find things to do that you like,” Slipski adds.
After a month of rehabilitation, Slipski was able to feed herself, slide out of bed and into a wheelchair and go to the bathroom and shower on her own.
“I was independent with a wheelchair,” she said. “I could do a lot of things on my own.”
After she was discharged from HealthSouth Harmarville, she continued to receive rehabilitation in her home and was eventually transferred to outpatient rehabilitation. Today, Slipski is back to walking and is nearly as independent as she was prior to her accident.
Although her recovery continued long after her stay at HealthSouth Harmarville, Slipski credits the great care she received there for providing the head start she needed to get her recovery going in the right direction.
“The staff at HealthSouth Harmarville knew what to do to help me reach my goals in rehabilitation,” she says. “I went from not being able to move to learning how to do so many things on my own. Everyone there was so awesome.”