The following is a letter from a woman whose husband received care at Washington Rehab & Nursing Center for Eastern Equine Encephalitis…

Wow! Where do I begin?

It has been a long road since Eddie was diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis on July 11, 2012. We were in Birmingham for almost seven weeks trying to get Eddie medically stable. After he was stable, I expected him to just wake up completely, get better and go home. Instead, he was not given much hope.

His diagnosis was poor, and he would eventually succumb to infection as he was just lying there and not able to do anything. We were then sent to a nursing home. I was devastated, but not defeated.

We chose Washington Rehab & Nursing Center, as I had heard great things about them and their therapy team. When we arrived there, I was very emotional. I couldn’t picture us in a nursing home.

When we arrived in early August, I completely broke down. Everything set in. Eddie was on a feeding tube, trach, and catheter. He was not following commands or able to move. Eddie was only 39 years old at that time with two boys, ages 13 and 8. He loved to hunt, fish, and play ball with the boys. Our lives were completely turned upside down.

We were immediately greeted by the administrator, Brett Brown. He listened to all of my concerns and was able to put my mind at ease. He walked with me to his office, sat with me, and listened. That’s what I needed.

To know someone was hearing me and understanding that this man coming to them was special and was not going to be a long-time resident. He heard me and went above and beyond to make my family feel at home and comfortable in this trying time. Trust me, this was a huge task as Eddie had a large family support group.

As the weeks passed, I knew we were where we needed to be. Administration, staff, nursing, therapy, and maintenance teams were genuinely supportive and caring. They treated us like family with hugs, words of encouragement, and the way they treated Eddie with care and respect.

Therapy stayed in constant communication with me. They reassured me daily that they would never give up and would work aggressively with him. That had always been a concern of mine. Would therapy continue to work with him even when he was not doing anything? The answer is, yes!

Seeing is believing. Through hard work, dedication, caring, believing, pushing, and teamwork, Eddie is now going home. He no longer has any tubes. He is talking. He is walking with a walker and working toward walking without a walker, but with assistance. He is feeding himself and doing a great job dressing himself with little help. He jokes around and has a great time letting everyone know he is an Alabama fan. His mental status is great and still improving. Every day, he is becoming more and more independent.

Words can never express how thankful our family is to everyone at Washington Rehab and Nursing Center for all that they have done to help make this Christmas a homecoming for our family. What a wonderful Christmas blessing! What a wonderful Christmas miracle we have all had the opportunity to witness. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. We love y’all and will visit often to share progress.

God Bless!
Felishe White

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