Shauna Zukowski was sent to the intensive care unit (ICU) due to a brain aneurysm that ruptured. During her stay in the ICU she suffered a stroke affecting her right side. Due to the size, rupture and location of her aneurysm, doctors in the ICU only gave Shauna a one percent chance of survival. She had to have the aneurysm coiled to block the blood flow and a feeding tube inserted—doctors felt she would not be able to swallow again. On top of everything else, Shauna also developed pneumonia.
It would be a difficult recovery and Shauna and her husband knew inpatient rehabilitation was critical. Together they decided the best place for her rehabilitation was HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital.
It took Shauna a little while to warm up to the staff at HealthSouth Harmarville but it was inevitable due to everyone’s positivity.
At this point Shauna had not got out of bed in two months and arrived to HealthSouth Harmarville in a wheelchair on December 13, 2014. She could not swallow and her face was drooping. Within the first week at HealthSouth Harmarville, Shauna was able to sit up for the first time since the aneurysm. This accomplishment fueled the next-- she wanted to eat normally again without a feeding tube. Valerie Bucek, one of Shauna’s therapists was as determined to help her reach this goal.
“Valerie taught me many exercises that enabled me to regain the swallowing function,” said Shauna. “After not eating for one month, I remember when I first drank coffee with Valerie's guidance. It tasted heavenly.”
As each goal was reached and Shauna’s condition improved, she continued to set new ones. Shauna says her therapists’ encouragement is what got her through it.
“Tammy, my physical therapist, would frequently stop by to check in on me,” said Shauna. “They all went the extra mile.”
By January 7, 2015, her last day of inpatient rehabilitation, Shauna could eat, walk with a walker, walk up steps and had good overall function.
Three days before she was discharged, her 16-year-old daughter and husband came to the apartment unit supplied by HealthSouth Harmarville and Shauna was able to make them dinner for the first time. She made fettuccini alfredo.
In March 2015 while attending outpatient at HealthSouth Harmarville, Shauna needed surgery to have the aneurysm coiled again and a stint put in. She continued outpatient therapy after her surgery focusing on cognitive and speech skills, balance, vision and getting the feeling in her right side to return.
Shauna says this experience has brought her family closer together and she cannot thank HealthSouth Harmarville enough.