Sandra's Story

Hope and healing for a beloved mother and grandmother

The pain in Sandra Lisowski’s lower legs became excruciating, so her husband, Duane, took her to the emergency room.

There, doctors diagnosed severe cellulitis in both extremities. She was admitted, but on the second day, the 71-year-old went into cardiac arrest. Sandra was placed on a ventilator, and later received a tracheostomy for airway support and feeding tube.

Sandra was stable, but unable to breathe, eat, speak or move on her own. She needed additional healing and recovery time. Duane chose Select Specialty Hospital – Milwaukee St. Francis.
A physician-led team of nurses, therapists and dietitians created a plan to help Sandra heal.

Respiratory therapists began trialing bursts of time off the ventilator, and she responded well. Speech and respiratory therapy then worked together to fit Sandra with a speaking valve allowing more normal speech. They used verbal exercises to help restore cognitive abilities.

Sandra demonstrated safe swallowing, and dietitians created a plan to transition her back to a regular diet.

Physical and occupational therapists helped Sandra sit in bed, transfer to a chair and begin moving around the room. Occupational therapists assisted as she took a real shower for the first time in a month. Sandra said it felt great. Growing stronger, Sandra walked to the therapy gym and relearned how to take stairs, retrieve items from cabinets and maintain balance.

Nurses and nursing assistants monitored her pain and helped with range of motion exercises.

By mid-July, Sandra met all her goals. She was eager to return to Duane, their children and grandchildren.

“I’m happy to go home, but I will miss everyone and the care they provided,” Sandra said. “I would recommend this hospital to everyone!”