Robin C.

Robin C.

A masonry construction worker by trade, Robin is no stranger to hard work. "My job was my life," Robin said. When he got hurt on the job, his world turned upside-down. "I started drinking more beer and smoked every day. I did not eat much."

Robin's health began a downhill slide. As a result of smoking, he developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. After recovering from a punctured lung, he suffered a bad infection in his gallbladder. Further difficulties came from the surgery, including a nicked bile duct. Things weren't looking good for Robin.

Things began to look up once Robin arrived at Vibra Hospital of the Central Dakotas. Though initially a "tough nut to crack," Robin's interdisciplinary care team gradually made headway and built trust with him. But Robin's physical state was poor, and it would take time and hard work to heal. In addition to his infection, Robin arrived with nutritional, respiratory, wound and mobility concerns.

Malnourished due to post-surgical complications, Robin had lost approximately 15% of his total body weight. Upon admission, he was entirely dependent on total parenteral nutrition (TPN). TPN is liquid food delivered through a catheter linked directly to the bloodstream. It bypasses the stomach to provide nutrients directly to the blood for maximum nutrient absorption.

Unable to complete the simplest tasks without experiencing shortness of breath, Robin required supplemental oxygen when he arrived. Two wounds required healing -- a pressure ulcer and the surgical wound on his mid-abdomen, and abdominal pain limited his mobility.

Despite the pain and limited strength, Robin didn't shy away from putting in the work required to heal. Within a week, his diet expanded to include jello, broth, and other liquids. By week three, Robin could consume a regular diet, discontinuing the TPN. This led to meaningful progress with physical therapy. Robin struggled with therapy for the first few weeks due to abdominal pain. Once on a regular diet, a significant change in his demeanor and effort in therapy was noticeable.

Another significant factor in Robin's recovery was the support of family. One of eight children (and the only male), several of his sisters rallied around him during this time. They would bring him some of his favorite foods as a treat and offered the comfort of family.

From that point forward, Robin's progress was substantial. Through the use of a four-wheeled walker, Robin regained mobility. His pressure ulcer healed completely and his surgical wound improved substantially. He no longer required supplemental oxygen, and his calorie intake returned to an optimal level. His persona became social, light-hearted and interactive -- a far cry from the withdrawn patient he was at admission.

"Vibra changed my life a lot," Robin said of his stay. "They showed me there's a new walk of life and a better way of living. All the staff are very kind and caring and nursed me back to life."

Robin discharged home with a new lease on life. His sisters continue to support him as he continues to regain his strength. "Now the rest is up to me," Robin stated, "to continue to build muscle and get back to a more independent way of life."