Lloyd Tribbey, 60, earned a living by replacing glass in windows. Outside of work, he enjoyed spending quality time with his children and dogs, riding his motorcycle, off-roading in his Jeep and watching drag races. “I have two dogs, an eight-year-old Pomeranian Chihuahua named Baze and a four-year-old Husky Chihuahua named Mazzy,” said Lloyd. “I like just hanging out with my dogs. They follow me everywhere.”
In mid-December, Lloyd started to feel sick, so he went to an urgent care center and was tested for COVID-19. Several days later, it came back positive, just as his health continued to decline. He was admitted to a local hospital and quickly transferred to the ICU, where he was placed on a ventilator, had a feeding tube inserted and required blood transfusions. At one point, his sister was told to start making end of life arrangements and consider hospice care. Proving he is a fighter, Lloyd rallied and slowly began to improve.
After six weeks in the hospital, Lloyd transferred to Select Specialty Hospital - Cincinnati North for additional recovery time. He remained on a ventilator, unable to walk or use his left arm. “I couldn’t do anything on my own,” said Lloyd. “I needed help for everything.”
Physical therapists began a mobility program. Lloyd recalled, “My physical therapist got me walking on the parallel bars first, and each day we did more and more. I even walked 120 feet using my rolling walker while my therapist stood next to me carrying my oxygen tank. There was someone following behind me with my wheelchair so I could sit down and rest if I got tired.”
Speech therapists worked with him to strengthen swallowing muscles so he could begin eating a regular diet. With the help of respiratory therapists, Lloyd was successfully liberated from the ventilator.
A few weeks later, Lloyd was ready for the next step in his recovery and transferred to TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital with goals of being able to breathe easier, walk further and regain more movement in his left arm so he could return home to his dogs.
Physical therapists helped Lloyd increase his walking distance through strengthening and repetition. In occupational therapy, Lloyd used therapy putty to help strengthen the small muscles in his hands and fingers. Using resistance bands and an arm muscle exercise skate on a tabletop, he practiced controlled movements, improving arm and shoulder range of motion, strength and flexibility. Therapists also utilized low-level electrical stimulation to help wake up his arm muscles.
Lloyd’s family provided a lot of support throughout his months-long journey. Initially, visitation was limited due to COVID-19, but near the end of his stay, visitors were permitted. Seeing family in-person again lifted his spirits. “My sister has done everything since I’ve been in the hospital for three months, from taking care of my bills to coming and hanging out with me here during visiting hours,” said Lloyd. “She will be the biggest part of my first week back home by going to the grocery store and preparing food for me.”
After several weeks at TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital, Lloyd was ready to return home, walking longer distances and able to perform self-care tasks independently. Lloyd shared, “When I found out I could go home, it motivated me to work even harder.” But most of all, he couldn’t wait to be with his dogs again.