Brege Shinn tried everything to alleviate the pain radiating from her spine, from yoga and massage to injections, but nothing helped.
Eventually, she had surgery in June 2019. She spent 3 weeks in a Las Vegas ICU, in and out of consciousness, with no movement below the point of her injury, C4. She could shrug her shoulders a little, but that was it.
Brege was transferred to Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver CO, considered one of the finest in the country, and after 4 months at Craig, returned to New Jersey to live with her family.
Though Brege started her outpatient therapy at Bacharach in October of 2019, her path has not been a straight one. There was a Medicaid mix up that left her without any care at all. Then the pandemic forced her to switch to home care. In May, she had a dramatic drop in function which led to a two-week stint at Kessler in West Orange, NJ.
In June, Brege returned to Bacharach as an outpatient.
One day in therapy her therapist noticed her performance was off, her function was lower, and her blood pressure was so concerning that she was told to go right to the Emergency Room.
“When the neuro team came in to decide where I should go, I was able to advocate for an inpatient stay at Bacharach.”
An Inpatient Stay at Bacharach
“It is the most amazing place!” says Brege. “I had met my inpatient therapist Becky McGill, PT, as an outpatient briefly, but once she learned I was coming in as an inpatient, she made sure that I was under her care. One of the things I found was that the therapists at Bacharach advocated for me far more than at any other place.”
“Becky assessed me and from the very first day she was confident and aggressive. I did more in the first 5 minutes with her than I had ever done before. She is brilliant! My motto is ‘no wasted minutes.’ We work really hard, Becky and Fernando Colon, OT, and me. Becky and Fernando are my champions, and they are so generous with their time. They work together and with their help every week there has been something major. From being able to put all the weight on my weaker leg in order to move my stronger one… to taking a few steps in the bars… to utilizing robotics with Kristin Garland Barth, PT, DPT, to work on strength, repetition, and endurance… to my weaker leg activating… to my first stand pivot transfer… to walking with a walker…”
So many achievements.
“Sharrie Rapagna, PT, the Director of Physical Therapy also helps every day – I love her! She is such a supporter – she has become integral. Michelle Balesteri from the PT department is always helping, keeping things light and happy. The first time I walked, she pulled out her phone and played dance music.”
So Many People to Thank
Brege would also like to thank a few more people who have made her feel like she is part of a large and loving family.
“I want to thank the wonderful nurses who take great care of me, “she said. “I have no stress here! That’s why I have done so well. I get a good night’s sleep, 8 hours, and then I am ready to work.”
“Thank you Darshana Choksi, RN, Osman Wain, RN, Christine Salmon, RN, Lonnie Hackney, NA, Vaishail Patel, NA, Lisa Bresser, NA, Karen Jorgensen, CNA, Ka’ib Simmons, NA, Lisa Jones, CNA, Anamika Das, RN, Amanda Naylor, RN, Yunuen Sabatino, RN, Itzel Corona-Moran, RN, Lois Bradley, NA, and Immaculata Inyang, CNA.”
“And thank you, Cara Martinez, BSN, RN, CRRN. Cara, the nurse manager, is the best nurse manager I have ever met in my whole life, in all the rehabs I have ever been in. She is amazing – she always has time for me. She must have more hours in her day than the rest of us.”