In October, Stephen Warnock went to the University of Kentucky Hospital for an infection in the driveline wire connected to his left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The LVAD helps pump blood from his lower left heart chamber to the rest of his body. After 55 days at UKMC, Stephen stabilized and was ready to begin acute intensive rehabilitation to regain his strength. He decided to transfer to Gateway Rehabilitation Hospital. This move allowed him to be closer to his family in their hometown of Alexandria.
When Stephen arrived at Gateway, it was evident that his time in the hospital had taken a toll on him. He required the assistance of two people for bed mobility, needed assistance standing from the bed, couldn’t walk, and required help with everyday grooming tasks. On top of these challenges, his LVAD presented a barrier. Gateway worked hard to help Stephen by collaborating with the UK transplant team to successfully accommodate his LVAD.
Stephen’s main goal was to get back on his feet and be able to walk. The interdisciplinary team at Gateway sprang into action with a personalized care plan. While he credits the entire team for his success, Stephen distinctly remembers his physical therapists. Mary and Ashley went above and beyond, giving him the encouragement he needed. The compassion that they showed throughout his stay will stay with Stephen forever.
As the days passed, Stephen continuously worked hard at his recovery for three hours each day. Because of his dedication, he started gaining his strength back. On Christmas Eve, 23 days after he arrived at Gateway, he walked out the front doors using only a rolling walker. He spent Christmas with his grandchildren, who he credits as his motivation to get back to better.
Stephen’s journey was not easy and full of obstacles. He believes if someone faces an uphill challenge, they should “work hard, get better, and listen to what they say, so you too can return to the life waiting for you at home.” Stephen is now enjoying his days with family, his dog, and most importantly, watching his grandchildren grow up.