Cecil's Story

Bruce Goldstein
Cecil Humphries

Serious medical complications, a significant comeback

Cecil Humphries was feeling ill. Worse than he’d ever felt in all his 51 years.

A trip to his local hospital’s emergency room resulted in a startling, multi-pronged diagnosis. He’d had a gallbladder attack. There was a hole in his bowel tract, which was leaking infection into his body. A dangerous, septic condition called peritonitis pushed him into respiratory failure.

Cecil hung on for 26 days with a myriad of tubes supplying oxygen, nutrients and life-saving antibiotics. He finally stabilized but still needed extensive recovery time. His girlfriend chose Select Specialty Hospital – Northern Kentucky at the recommendation of Cecil’s medical team.

“I don’t remember coming around,” Cecil said. “But once I woke up, my goal was to get off the vent, eat on my own without a tube and walk.”

A physician-led team of nurses, therapists, pharmacists and aides created a plan to help Cecil meet his goals.

Respiratory therapists monitored Cecil’s time off the ventilator, increasing it slowly and giving his lungs time to build strength. Simultaneously, physical therapy helped him build core strength assisting as he sat up in bed and moved into a chair. These small movements, part of our overall mobility program, help patients liberate from ventilators.

Within two weeks, Cecil was breathing on his own.

Speech-language pathologists then stepped in to assess Cecil’s ability to eat. They helped him re-learn to swallow safely and, after passing a special test, allowed him to return to a normal diet.

Physical and occupational therapy were ready to help Cecil tackle big movements. Using resistance and weight-bearing exercises, they guided him through standing then walking on his own. Occupational therapy helped him re-learn self-care tasks such as how to button his shirt and brush his teeth.

“A key turning point for me was when I spoke to my son's mother and learned how worried he was about me,” Cecil said.  “It really made me fight to get better. Currently, I am off the vent. I had the trach and feeding tube removed and I’m eating regular meals. I just walked three laps around the unit.”

In this video, Cecil shares his thoughts about recovery (Link)