Steven Nguyen, 33, originally from San Diego, is a proud Veteran. Sixteen years ago he joined the military, served two tours in Afghanistan and early in his career, trained at Ft. Gordon in Augusta as a Signal Soldier. Steven and his wife met in 2014 while in the military.
Steven started to experience fever and chills. He felt like he was incoherent while exercising. He could not his catch his breath when walking and experienced dizziness. His wife convinced him to go to the Eisenhower Medical Center in Augusta.
At the hospital he was diagnosed with autoimmune-encephalitis. He needed breathing support and was put on a ventilator.
“It was really scary and I thought this was how I would live for the rest of my life. I couldn’t breathe, speak, hear or walk,” said Steven. “My face was numb on one side. I could not function at all.”
After he stabilized, Steven was transferred to Select Specialty Hospital – Augusta for extended healing. A physician-led team, including nurses and therapists, assessed him and created a plan for recovery.
Respiratory therapists immediately began working to liberate Steven from the ventilator, which was successful.
Once off the machine, Steven was able to work with the physical therapy team to get moving again. First, he was coached to sit at the bed’s edge, then stand and transfer to a chair. This helped rebuild his core, strength and stamina with the goal of walking again.
“The turning point in my recovery was arriving at Select Specialty Hospital. The staff explained everything planned to get me back on my feet. It motivated me to work hard every day. They inspired and encouraged me daily. Each and every one of them are caring and incredible. They are the best,” said Steven.
“I would rather go back to Afghanistan than have to go through this again. It was awful, said Steven. I’m so thankful for my wife and friends who were by my side from the beginning, cheering me on and making me feel good about my progress. They are the best.”