A battle with Guillain-Barre syndrome left Michael in need of intensive rehabilitation

Michael Perry recently retired as the director of operations for a transportation company. Michael enjoyed his newfound free time, spending time with his grandkids, playing basketball, golfing, and going to church.

One Monday morning, Michael experienced a sudden onset of leg soreness that caught him by surprise. “It was severe and wasn’t like any other soreness I had felt. And it wasn’t muscle.” Within a few hours, Michael couldn’t stand, and by mid-afternoon, he couldn’t move his legs. “By 4 pm, I was essentially paralyzed from the waist down. I was in bed and spent all day there.”

The next day, Michael’s dad came over and immediately called 911. Michael was transported to IU Health Bedford before being referred to a specialist at IU Health Bloomington. “The doctor spent time with me and was able to diagnose me very quickly,” Michael recalled. “She knew exactly what was wrong with me and was able to get treatment started pretty quickly.”

Michael had Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the nerves.

Read more

Barbara Slessinger was the first to utilize BRRH’s outpatient therapy services

Barbara Slessinger has the distinction of being the first individual to utilize the outpatient services now offered at Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. Barbara experienced a fall in the community that resulted in a shattered left femoral neck fracture requiring surgical repair involving the placement of a steel rod, screws, and a spring. She underwent surgery at IU Health Bloomington, and following surgery, doctors recommended post-acute rehabilitation to help Barbara return to her prior level of function. She came to BRRH because she needed a more intensive level of care to achieve that goal. In addition, the regular physician oversight provided at BRRH would help manage some of Barbara’s other medical needs post-surgery.

Before her injury, Barbara lived in Bloomington and enjoyed spending time with her family, especially her grandkids. When not with her grandkids, Barbara enjoyed reading and crocheting. “I was independent before my injury,” Barbara noted. “And when I got to BRRH after surgery, I could barely stand, and I definitely couldn’t walk. It took two people just to get me up. The doctors told me it would take six months to a year before I was back to normal.”

Read more

Kevin chose BRRH to regain his function and independence following a recent hospitalization.

Though he lives with Parkinson’s disease, Kevin McClure lived a largely independent life before his recent hospitalization. “It made getting around challenging,” Kevin said of Parkinson’s, “but I was still able to do what I wanted to do.”

Parkinson’s also taught Kevin not to mess around regarding his health. So, when he began experiencing shortness of breath and a cough, he went to the ER at IU Health Bloomington Hospital. There, Kevin was admitted with an infection that had gone to his lungs, as well as an exacerbation of his COPD and Parkinson’s. Unfortunately, Kevin’s health got worse before it got better, as he developed septic shock, impairments to his heart and kidneys, and required a tracheostomy.

“I couldn’t even lift my arms,” Kevin recalled. “I needed a lift just to get out of bed.”

After spending thirty days in the hospital, Kevin transferred to Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital at the recommendation of his doctor and case managers. “A liaison from BRRH came in and talked to me about the requirements, explained the program, and the benefits,” he noted. “They took care of all the insurance issues and arranged the transfer.”

Read more

“This wasn’t easy, but rehabilitation was my goal, and this was the best place for me.”

“Life was wonderful,” Colby Southern stated, recalling his life before his recent hospitalization. “I worked at a car dealership selling used cars and enjoyed spending time with my grandkids, which range from 13 years old to 5 years old.”

Colby’s life changed one September day when he experienced a sudden onset of left-sided weakness. A trip to the emergency room resulted in a diagnosis of a ruptured arteriovenous malformation, or AVM. An AVM occurs when blood vessels containing arteries and veins become tangled, causing issues with blood flow and oxygen circulation. For Colby, this resulted in profound deficits on the left side of his body.

Having lost the ability to care for himself and perform basic daily functions, Colby needed intensive therapy to regain his function and independence. His case manager at IU Health Methodist recommended a stay at Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital (BRRH). “He told me that this was the best place for me and that I needed to get as much therapy as possible.”

At BRRH, Colby made significant progress in his recovery. “There were a lot of things that influenced my recovery,” Colby noted. “First and foremost, my family and my desire to get back home to them and spend time with my grandkids. Also, though, the staff here at BRRH is like a small community. They talk to you, they push you when you need to be pushed, and help you set reasonable and achievable goals.”

“This wasn’t easy, but rehabilitation was my goal, and this was the best place for me. If getting better is not your goal, then this is definitely not the place for you,” Colby added.

Each day, Colby’s wife came to the hospital, attended his therapy sessions, and learned as much as she could. Having such a tremendous support group has helped Colby progress and will continue to help him upon his return home.

“There were a lot of special people here, and really everyone was nice from the top down. Everyone worked as a team to help me meet my goals,” Colby shared. “I would like to recognize Kandace (PT), Claire (OT), Darbi (ST), Sherri, Kayla, and Christy (nursing), and Melissa, Emma, and Carmelita (PCTs). They were all special to me and my journey.”

“Success can be defined a bunch of different ways, but I define success today as setting and reaching your goals. I don’t expect to be perfect, but I do want to be able to go home and take care of myself, be able to talk to people and enjoy life. I am looking forward to that. I haven’t been home in almost sixty days. I can’t wait to go home and just be with my family. I’m also ready to see my dog!”


Before the accident, Kristopher Ogle was an avid golfer, hiker, and camper. He loved the outdoors and worked full-time at the water company. His job was strenuous, running heavy machinery and doing a lot of work with his hands. At home, Kristopher lived with his wife and dogs.

Then, on Easter weekend, Kristopher was involved in a severe car accident. Ejected from the car, Kristopher sustained multiple injuries, including a brain injury, a torn diaphragm, a lacerated liver, and a right hip injury. He also suffered many fractures, including two neck fractures, two back fractures, a fractured sternum, six rib fractures, a shattered pelvis, fractures to his knee, ankle, and foot, and “a few other small fractures of toes, teeth, etc.”

Kristopher spent weeks in the hospital just to stabilize. While there, he was made aware of Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, the only acute rehab hospital in south-central Indiana. “I just knew I wanted to get out of the hospital and on the road to recovery,” Kristopher recalled.

“I am so glad I ended up here.”

At BRRH, Kristopher began putting in the work to regain his independence. “I am goal-oriented and driven,” he shared. “I wanted to get back to my life. I’ve always been active, and I didn’t want my life to change.”

Kristopher would have to draw on this motivation because therapy proved to be more of a challenge than he anticipated. “I thought it was going to be easy once I got to rehab. Boy, was I wrong. It was hard!”

That hard work paid off, and Kristopher made significant progress in his recovery at BRRH.

“When I got here, I couldn’t even move my leg,” Kristopher said. Now I have almost full movement, and I am discharging a week early. Without my therapists, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. My PT, Maribeth, and my OT, Claire, have helped me get to this point today.”

Kristopher continued, “Everyone here has been amazing. All of my nurses, the techs, the therapists, the housekeeper, and the dietary staff. The food has been great. I really have to give credit to everyone, especially Maribeth and Claire.”

With his rehab stay completed, Kristopher is glad he put in the work. “No matter how hard it was, I wanted to give 100% every day in therapy, and that’s what I did. I wanted to have some form of my old life back. Every year, we take a hiking trip in Colorado, and I am hopeful to be able to do that this year, too.”

Kristopher is most excited to get back to his wife, Heather. “She has been here every step of the way,” he said with a smile. “She visits me daily, and she’s stepped up and is getting trained to help me. My mother and mother-in-law are all stepping up to help when I go home. And I cannot thank them all enough.”

“I am also looking forward to seeing my dogs. I got a new puppy just before the accident, and I cannot wait to get home to see the puppy.”

“In the end, I cannot thank Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital enough. The crew here is phenomenal, and I cannot wait to come back in when I visit.”

As a nurse, Joyce knew the importance of acute rehabilitation following a stroke.

Before her stroke, Joyce Bynum worked full-time as a nurse and attended classes part-time, working toward her master’s in nursing. In her spare time, she enjoyed playing with her grandkids. Life was full, but relatively easy. Joyce could do things she wanted and maneuvered without trouble.

Then came the stroke.

One Sunday, Joyce was working on a paper for her second-to-last master’s class. Around noon, she experienced an episode of blurred vision, weakness, and ataxia (uncoordinated movement) in her right leg. The episode only lasted a few minutes, so Joyce continued about her day. After all, she had a paper to complete! Then she had another episode around 3 pm and again at 6 pm.

Recognizing the signs, Joyce decided to go to the emergency department at Indiana University Health. They ran all the scans and performed all the tests they could, but everything returned negative. Joyce was admitted for overnight observation and discharged the next day without symptoms.

At 4:30 am the following day, the symptoms returned. Joyce returned to the hospital, where they confirmed the stroke. Joyce’s symptoms were more pronounced this time, with right-sided deficits including facial droop, slurred speech, and weakness in her arm and leg.

Being a nurse, Joyce knew the value of acute rehabilitation. “They are the best level of care for a stroke patient,” she stated. “I wanted to get the most intensive therapy I could, to get back as much function as I could.”

Joyce chose Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital for her recovery. “Amber [the clinical liaison who performed her assessment] and I were acquaintances from the old rehab unit. I was happy to see her.”

It wasn’t just Amber that impacted Joyce’s recovery at BRRH, but many staff members. “Really, the entire team was great,” Joyce shared. “Those that stood out to me were Charlene (PT), Maribeth (PT), Kaitlyn (OT), and Mary and Kayla (Nursing). They all played a significant role in my recovery. Also, I have to recognize Helen, my case manager, Denise, Dr. Choudhury, and Steve (Facilities). Steve was willing to do anything and always happy to help.”

“I could tell the entire team worked hard to make sure everyone involved in my care had the information they needed.”

Joyce is thrilled with her decision.

“I look back now and am so thankful that I got the chance to come here. I wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard as the staff did to get as much function back as I did. I was intelligent enough to know I would get better. But the amount of progress I made in such a short time…I cannot tell you how thankful I am that I got the opportunity to come here right after my stroke. I know how important it is.”

Joyce also knew the importance of staying motivated and drew on her faith for inspiration. “Being dependent on faith and God and the role he would play in my recovery, and the prayers from everyone on my behalf, played a big role. I know I had people praying for me!”

“God’s not done with me! I have more living to do, and now I can do it.”

Joyce defines success as “doing the best you can with the current task before you, knowing it’s just a step toward the final destination.” And that’s how she approached each day at BRRH from admission to discharge.

Now, Joyce is ready for a return to her everyday life. “I am really looking forward to seeing my grandkids and spending time with them. I also am eager to continue my therapy and continue getting better. Eventually, I plan on returning to full-time nursing work and completing my master’s.”They

Jayne relied on two things during her recovery: her family’s support and her relationship with her therapists

Stephanie “Jayne” Silvers lives a very active life, enjoying visits to state parks, fishing, and spending time with her grandsons. But for the better part of two years, significant back pain and lower extremity weakness has kept her inactive. In fact, for most of that time, Jayne couldn’t even walk.

After a little more than a year, having required a wheelchair and a slide board, Jayne took a significant step. She underwent back surgery that initially improved her symptoms. But shortly after surgery, Jayne was found to have severe stenosis throughout her thoracic spine. So she underwent another surgery to correct the stenosis, hoping to walk independently again with a cane.

Following the second surgery, Jayne’s journey to recovery really began. She had profound weakness in her back and lower extremities and continued to have pain in her back. Jayne’s doctors and therapists in the hospital knew she could benefit from intensive therapy to regain her function. Complicating matters, Jayne had recently fractured her left ankle.

Taking the suggestion of her team of clinicians, Jayne admitted to Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital for physical and occupational therapies. And Jayne is very glad she did.

“The teamwork here is remarkable. I have never seen a team work so well together!” Jayne shared.

Jayne arrived with two main goals: use a traditional bathroom and easily get in and out of a car. During her stay at Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, Jayne achieved both her goals and credited the staff for their help.

“Being ill humbles you and makes you patient,” Jayne reflected. “My relationship with the therapists helped me make the most gains while in the hospital.”

“Amber (clinical liaison) and Dr. Jason Voorhies helped with getting my stay at [BRRH] started. Kandace, Claire, Kenadee, and Maribeth — the therapists that worked with me — all stood out. Also, Jayden and Kayla were exceptional nurses. And the Kitchen staff have gone out of their way to make me feel at home.”

“I would recommend this place to anyone. I do not know why anyone would go anywhere else!”

Having accomplished her goals, Jayne looks forward to what lies ahead. “I’m excited to get back to home life and visit with my sister. My husband has been so supportive as our roles have changed. My daughter, Meighan, my sister-in-law, Dan, and grandsons, Korbin and Sullivan — they are always cheering me on and were available in any way that I needed. I am looking forward to spending time with them.”

“Also, I have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Voorhies on Monday after my discharge. I plan to park close and WALK into his office and knock his socks off!”

After spending time in four different hospitals, Kimberly Allen gained back her strength and independence to return home.

Before contracting COVID-19, Kimberly Allen lived an independent and full life. She worked as a JAG (Jumps for Americans) Instructor for Ivy Tech, working with graduates from Mitchell High School (MHS). She and her husband, Jon, love spending time with their daughter and son. She also enjoys spending time with friends and likes to go shopping, especially at TJ Maxx.

A few days before Labor Day weekend, Kimberly started feeling fatigued and tired. Her condition worsened over the next couple of days and she started having a hard time breathing. On September 9th, she was rushed to IU Health Bedford. From IU Health Bedford, she life-lined to IU Health Methodist, where she stayed for the next couple of months.

Kimberly was intubated and received special pulmonary care for three months. With the incredible care at IU Health Methodist, support from her family, and God’s grace, Kimberly stayed strong and began to improve. She transferred to Kindred Indianapolis to prepare for an intensive rehabilitation stay. After receiving a recommendation from two friends, her family chose Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital for Kimberly’s next phase of care.

During recovery, Kimberly received a lot of support and leaned into her religion for comfort. She explained, “Without God, I wouldn’t be here. I am not sure why he chose me, but he did. He chose me to make it through this, and now He is going use me to tell His story.”

Kimberly is also appreciative of so many staff members. She wanted to give a shout-out to her nurse, Julie, the PCTs, Hailey, Carmelita, and the rest of the nursing team, her therapists, Steven, Katelyn, and Beth, Denise, and Dr. Khan. “Everyone was so compassionate and kind! My therapists were so motivating and helped me with eating and my voice. Everyone was there for me!”

Using her return home as motivation, Kimberly pushed herself and worked hard at her recovery. She defines success as living God’s will. “I think you need to be good to people, listen to people, help people and just be there for people.  If you can do that, that is success.”

Kimberly graduated from inpatient rehabilitation and returned home after gaining back a lot of her independence. She loves being back in her home to enjoy the wide-open spaces in Mitchell, Indiana. Her plans for the future include praying for the BRRH team. “They gave me a second chance, and I am going use it. I am going to live my life doing God’s will!”

After suffering from COVID-19, pneumonia, acute respiratory failure, and hypoxia, Katherine Warthan’s hard work paid off, and she returned home to her loving family.

Before her illness, Katherine Warthan worked at two elementary schools in Owen County. She proudly served as a K-6 teacher for music, art, and PE. She has three kids and eight grandchildren and loves spending time with family.

After contracting COVID-19, Katherine’s symptoms worsened. She ended up at IU Health Bloomington, where they diagnosed her with pneumonia, hypoxia, and acute respiratory failure. Once she stabilized, she chose to continue her recovery at Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital based on a family recommendation.

Katherine’s family explained, “It was the best facility that offered what mom needed. She needed more therapy than a nursing home could provide her. We know mom is a hard worker and would accomplish a lot.”

The biggest influence on Katherine’s recovery was having her family present and the skills of her care team. The staff consistently encouraged her, and she felt truly cared for. She said, “Everyone I came in contact with had an impact on my recovery. The therapists, nurses, kitchen staff, and PCTs were all so kind!”

From day one, Katherine worked hard at her recovery. “I experienced so much strength and growth throughout my stay,” she said upon reflection. “I give God all the glory in my recovery!”

Katherine looks forward to returning home to her family and can’t wait to hold her grandchildren. She also plans to travel, care for the flowers in her yard, and visit her parents.

Before suffering a bad fall, Linda Hall and her husband Ted lived a great life. She practiced yoga and helped out with a dementia support group. She and her husband lived a full and independent life.

On a cold winter day, Linda hit a patch of ice while walking and fell, fracturing her ribs. After spending time at IU Health Bloomington Hospital, she needed to find a hospital for continued care. Her case manager highly recommended inpatient rehabilitation at Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. With her decision made, Linda was very excited to start the next phase of her recovery.

Although Linda missed sleeping in her bed, practicing yoga, and spending time at home with her husband, she worked hard at her recovery. Right off the bat, she was very impressed with the care and attentiveness the BRRH staff provided. She particularly hit it off with her physical therapist, Stevie. She explained that Stevie made her very strong and flexible.

Success for Linda meant returning home. After working hard with her care team, she did just that. Even though she was very thankful for her time at BRRH, Linda was excited to see her husband and friends. She looked forward to taking care of herself again and couldn’t wait to get her hair done. With the skills and education, she received at BRRH, Linda confidently returned home to lead her fulfilling life once again.