Robert's Story

Grateful for critical support in his journey

In July, Robert Lovasz underwent coronary bypass surgery. Almost immediately, complications set in.

His heart rhythm became dangerously low, unable to push blood through the body. Then, Robert’s heart stopped. Shocked back to life, he developed respiratory failure and was placed on a ventilator, tracheostomy for airway support and feeding tube.

Robert developed gangrene, a limb-threatening infection. In August, after several consultations with vascular surgeons, the decision was made to remove Robert’s left foot and right leg below the knee. Though gangrene also spread to his fingertips, they were spared.

A month after surgery, Robert transferred to Select Specialty Hospital – Downriver to begin recovery.

He arrived on a ventilator, unable to speak, eat or move independently.

An individual treatment plan, led by physicians, nurses and therapists, was put in place to get Robert on the path back home.

Respiratory therapists gradually reduced ventilator settings and led breathing and chest exercises, expanding Robert’s lung capacity and endurance. Eleven days after arriving, he successfully liberated. Shortly after, airway support was removed and Robert returned to independent breathing.

When he first met the physical and occupational therapy team, Robert couldn’t roll over, move unassisted, swallow or speak.

Each day, Robert’s therapists put him through a mobility program. Using range of motion exercises, they manipulated his arms to get blood flowing. Robert responded more purposefully each day.  
Speech therapists led mouth, jaw and tongue exercises to restore Robert’s ability to swallow and speak.

Some days, it was difficult to stay motivated. Robert knew, however, if he wanted to get home to his family, he had to push through. His nurses and therapists were by his side cheering him on every step of the way, even for the smallest victory.

By October, Robert was sitting at the bed’s edge and moving into a chair. His speaking and eating abilities returned, though remaining fingertip numbness meant he sometimes needed assistance at meals.

Having met most of his goals, Robert departed for an inpatient rehabilitation hospital where he spent several weeks further building strength and stamina before returning home.  
Robert looked forward to returning to work and being fitted for prosthetics. Maybe, he joked, he’ll make himself taller.