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Richard Andrews was admitted to Life Care Center of South Hill in Puyallup, Washington, on July 21, 2017, after a coronary artery bypass grafting on July 11.


Unfortunately, complications from the anesthesia caused cognitive deficits. Andrews had sternal precautions, which included no pushing up with his arms (instead, he had to use his cardiac pillow), no pulling and no lifting his arms above 90 degrees. Due to these factors, he required 24-hour caregiver assistance, as well as two-person assistance for bed mobility, transfers, dressing and bathing upon evaluation. He spent the next two months in rehabilitation.


Andrews slowly began to rebuild his strength, activity tolerance and safety awareness.


“I put in the effort, paced myself and did the best I could do,” Andrews said.


Within the first few days, Andrews began walking with a front-wheeled walker 20 to 40 feet at a time before becoming fatigued. By Aug. 10, he was transferring with minimal assistance and demonstrated the ability to transfer in and out of his car. He could also walk with a walker to and from the restroom with stand-by assistance.


By Aug. 20, Andrews was walking with a four-wheeled walker 650 feet and going up and down stairs. He was performing household tasks such as laundry, cleaning and bathing with use of adaptive equipment. His cognition also greatly improved by this time.


Andrews reported his motivation was “to keep moving on to the next steps. I felt like everyone was here to help me.”


By the time Andrews left the facility, he was independent in his daily routine.


Throughout Andrews’ time, he had a wonderful support team: his family, nursing and therapy staff.


He ventured a long journey, persevering through medical complications and pushing himself to new physical limits. Throughout his rehabilitation, he remained humble.


“I have been treated like I was the only patient here,” Andrews said. “The therapists always have smiles on their faces and answered anything I needed. Everyone was here to keep me safe.”