Carol Miller suffered from several serious medical issues and had used a powered wheelchair to get around for seven years. Her doctors told her she would never walk again.
But, after almost losing her life due to septic shock, organ failure and pneumonia, she knew she had to make a change.
“I was lying in my hospital bed on the last day of my hospitalization [at Baystate Medical Center] and I said to myself, ‘you’ve got to get yourself going.’ I knew I couldn’t take my life or my health for granted anymore,” said Miller.
Wanting to care for her newly-adopted special needs dog, Kishyu, added to her motivation.
Rehab Staff Rose to Her Challenge
Miller asked physical therapist Dena Plante at Baystate Wing Rehabilitation Services to help her gain balance and strength so she could walk without her wheelchair.
“At first I could only stand and pivot to a chair," said Miller.
“If anyone had asked in the beginning, we would have been reluctant to say with certainty that we would get her walking, especially as quickly as it happened,” reflected Lori J. Manseau, MHA, physical therapist, and director of Rehabilitation Services.
“She's worked hard,” said Plante. “Carol reminds me why I love my job and deserves full credit for all the positive changes.”
She Walked Away From her Wheelchair
Eventually, Miller was able to take her first steps with a rolling walker and now uses her walker exclusively.
She has also gone from using oxygen all day, every day, to using it only to sleep. And she was taking insulin three times a day for her diabetes, and now only takes it once a day. She hopes to stop altogether soon.
“I have so much more to do,” said Miller. "I want to lose another hundred pounds.”
And Kishyu wants to go for a walk.