Gary S.

Gary S.

Gary loved his job as a farm manager at a local high school. But one day, while in the field, Gary stepped into a hole in the ground and severely hurt his back and leg. The injury ended Gary’s career as a farm manager and led to some difficult physical challenges.

Gary’s life was not pain-free from his injuries, but he was able to live his life independently with his wife and family.

Fast forward several years and the pain in Gary's foot began increasing. Over time, he noticed what appeared to be a cyst on his heel. With each passing day, it became worse and he decided to visit his doctor.

“The doctor treated me, it cleared up, and then it came back again,” explained Gary. "At this point, the doctor thought the best thing to do was to cut the cyst open to treat it and that’s what he did.”

After the procedure, Gary experienced immense pain. He managed the pain with medication and cream prescribed by the doctor. Unfortunately, the pain grew worse by the day and became even harder to manage. Shortly thereafter, things went from bad to worse and Gary ended up in the emergency room.

Gary saw a vascular surgeon who explained the damages to his femoral arteries may eventually lead to an amputation. “My doctor said he’ll attempt a femoral artery bypass, but if that didn’t work, the next option was an amputation,” Gary recalled.

Although the surgery went well, Gary still had another procedure to endure – cleaning the infected foot. “I eventually got the infection cleaned, but five weeks later, the artery from my knee going to my foot went bad,” said Gary. His surgeon determined that an amputation would be necessary. He scheduled it right away.

After spending six days recovering from his amputation surgery, Gary transferred to San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital at the recommendation of his surgeon.

At SJVRH, Gary spent three hours per day training and learning new adaptive skills. The one-on-one training with physical and occupational therapists was important to Gary and his family. The therapists worked with him on transfers, balance and gait training, grooming and hygiene, and countless other valuable skills.

Gary expressed his appreciation for SJVRH and the multidisciplinary care team, which consisted of physical and occupational therapists, a case manager, nurses, and a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitative care. Upon completing his inpatient stay, Gary discharged to SJVRH’s outpatient services, where he continued to progress.

Currently, Gary lives a busy life with his wife and family, including his three grandsons and a new puppy. He now serves as a counselor for an amputee group which meets annually for a national conference. Gary has found the rewards of sharing his rehabilitation experience. “My time at SJVRH has allowed me to learn and now give back to other people, something which I find to be very fulfilling.”