Two years ago, Lynn Monaghan retired from her career as a school bus driver. At 62, she wanted to enjoy life and take time to relax.
She was also dealing with several health conditions, including chronic heart failure and obstructive pulmonary disorder, as well as a thyroid disorder.
“I hadn’t been feeling well,” Lynn said. “My legs started swelling. I had also stopped taking my thyroid medication because I thought it was making me gain weight. I decided to go to my doctor, who immediately admitted me to the hospital.”
Lynn arrived by ambulance and was placed on intravenous steroids and medication to reduce swelling. The fluid accumulated throughout her body, and she struggled to breathe.
Eventually, Lynn needed periods of time connected to a pressurized mask and high-flow supplemental oxygen.
After 10 days in intensive care, Lynn’s condition stabilized. Her pulmonologist recommended Select Specialty Hospital – Alle Kiski, a critical illness hospital within the acute care hospital, for additional healing and recovery time.
Lynn said the fact that she didn’t have to change hospitals and her doctors could still monitor her made the decision an easy one.
She arrived weak, unable to care for herself without becoming exhausted and short of breath.
Her goal was return home and continue living independently.
A physician-led team, including nurses and therapists, created a plan to get Lynn back on her feet.
Physical and occupational therapists began a mobility program, a series of small exercises that restored core muscle function. At first, she could manage only a few feet with help and a walker before needing to sit down.
Simultaneously, respiratory therapists led breathing exercises and taught Lynn energy conservation techniques to boost stamina.
By the second week, Lynn progressed to walking short distances without a walker, with a therapist standing by in case she needed help.
Lynn continued practicing breathing exercises and adhered to the nutrient-rich meal plan created by the hospital’s dietitian.
Her therapists and nurses “always treated me respectfully.” Whether it was a cheerful “good morning” to start the day or quick response to a call light in the evening, Lynn said she felt supported throughout her stay.
She eventually stepped down to a small tube of nasal oxygen and, by week three, was walking independently.
With all goals accomplished, Lynn cheerfully returned home.
She plans to quit smoking for good and remain diligent about medication routines.
“This medical event has been life changing for me,” she said. “I am so grateful for everyone at Select Specialty Hospital – Alle Kiski.”