Client Successes

Don

Goal:

His long term goal is that once the border reopens he can return to Montana and enjoy the beautiful golf course at Indian Springs Ranch and golf once again.

On April 22, 2017 while enjoying a weekend at his RV property in Montana with his wife Anita, Don suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage at the age of 59 as a result of an AVM (arteriovenous malformation).

He loved to spend time in the mountains with his horses Badger and Toledo. Golf, fly fishing, hunting, hiking, and downhill skiing were also many of his favorite things to do.

After 10 days in ICU at the Harbourview Hospital in Seattle Don was air ambulanced to the Foothills Hospital where he experienced many surgeries and setbacks. As the brain hemorrhage was in the cerebellum Don’s speech, swallowing and balance were greatly affected. Don spent 9 months in hospital (4 of those on Unit 58) and was discharged on January 19, 2018.

Since that time Don has attended various rehabilitation programs in Calgary. He began attending therapy twice a week at Synaptic in September 2020 and is just completing the 14-week PONs program.

Although life is very different for Don, he continues to embrace life and enjoys his scooter rides in Fish Creek Park and spending time with his loving family.

Improvements

There has been tremendous improvement in his balance and gait and Don looks forward to his time at Synaptic.

Favorite Part of Synaptic

He has also seen many of the other practitioners available in the clinic such as the speech pathologist, massage therapist, and nutritionist. It is such a benefit that Synaptic offers so many services under one roof.

Don looks forward to continuing his therapy at Synaptic after the completion of the PONs program.

Bob

Goal:

To walk without using my walking pole, and to regain some degree of function in my left arm/hand.

In June, 2018 I was a happy, healthy, active 70 yr old…..recently retired, going to the gym 2-3 times/week, playing lots of golf, and spending time with my kids and grandkids. Then on June 17th (Fathers Day) I had a stroke and things changed drastically.

My stroke occurred at 10:15 am. Thanks to EMS, I arrived at Foothills within an hour; the Neuro team was ready for me and felt quite confident that it would be an “immediate fix”. Unfortunately, nobody realized at that point that my stroke had been caused by a dissected carotid artery, which complicated things significantly. Instead of the usual 20-30 minutes, the procedure took almost 3 hours….. as a result, the damage was much more severe than anyone had anticipated. I spent a week in ICU, another week on the Stroke Unit, then moved to Unit 58 for rehab. I was there for 4 months. Since then, I have continued my rehab through various programs and services.

I am blessed with wonderful family and friends who continue to encourage and support me through my on-going rehabilitation. I look forward (after Covid) to enjoying golf, backyard BBQs, revival of the CFL (Go Riders!) and perhaps even some travel.

Improvements

Since working with the Synaptic Team, I have gained strength in my legs and core, and also improved balance and posture.

Favorite Part of Synaptic

I always look forward to my sessions at Synaptic. The positive energy in the clinic and the friendly professionalism offered by the entire staff lifts my spirits each and every time. I have tremendous admiration for all the therapists – they know just what buttons to push to motivate their clients to get the most out of each session. I also enjoy the variety of my workouts. The therapists are creative in how we get the work done, using their expertise and ingenuity, along with the many different pieces of equipment available at Synaptic.

Gord

Goal:

I’m working towards using a transfer board and increasing weight-bearing exercises, but my long term goal is to use my arms and fingers to use a mouse and keyboard to work spreadsheets.

As I turned 64 I was quite active in my retirement. I cycled frequently, worked out in the gym regularly and fitness was an important part of my life. I sat on couple of corporate boards based on my governance experience as a way of giving back to the community. And, for fun, I helped several friends with their financial plans.

My wife Linda and I traveled extensively. In the words of a good friend I was “living the dream.”

All of that came to an abrupt end in July of last year when I had a nasty fall while cycling on Calgary’s bike paths. While cutting a corner, I hit a deep pothole hidden by tall grass and hit my head on the ground. In an instant I had become a quadriplegic with a C4 incomplete spinal cord injury.

During the 7 1/2 months I spent at the Foothills hospital, I slowly came to realize that my life would never be the same. I had limited control of my legs and virtually no feeling in my arms. My breathing was laboured, so I would have to take numerous breaks as I spoke. When I do speak, my speech can sound garbled at times.

Most of what I used to do is not possible, at least not right now. Physical activity is

clearly not doable. I have resigned from the boards because I can’t dedicate the necessary time. However, I still manage to do financial planning but only because a good friend dedicates one day per week to help me work the spreadsheets.

My lifeline during my stay at the hospital were my physiotherapy and FES sessions.

As my discharge date from the hospital started to get closer I sought out resources in

Calgary where I could continue my rehab. The name that kept coming out was Synaptic.

I started there in February, then COVID hit.

Improvements

Since my sessions resumed in June, there have been improvements in leg strength, arm strength and mobility. Because of my improved core strength and balance, I can stand taller when “walking” with the E-pacer. As well, there has been additional activation of nerves.

Favorite Part of Synaptic

My twice-a week Synaptic sessions are a highlight, and while exhausting, energize me. I like the variety of equipment available and the rotating therapists. They are my cheerleaders, always so positive and encouraging and each brings different perspectives depending on their background.

Niels

Goal:

My short-term goal when starting with Synaptic was to put on my own socks. My long-term goal is to get out of my (expletive) wheelchair. I accomplished my short-term goal in the afternoon of October 22, 2020, and continue to work towards my long-term goal.

I was admitted to the Peter Lougheed Hospital on April 12, 2020, to fix a stent near my heart. While I was in the hospital, I had a spinal stroke which caused paralysis and loss of feeling to the lower half of my body.

I could not feel either of my legs and could not control my bodily functions. I was treated in the Peter Lougheed for some time and was transferred to the Foothills Hospital for basic rehabilitation on May 12, 2020.

I was released from the Foothills Hospital on July 7, 2020 to move back home. By the time I got home, I had full control of bodily functions but was confined to a wheelchair.

​Before all of this happened, I was living by myself and fully looking after myself. I spent a lot of my time supporting my wife, who is in long term care for dementia.

After returning from the hospital, I could no longer drive or walk, could not support my wife, and needed assistance with most aspects of living (shopping, cleaning, cooking, bathing, etc.)

Improvements

I have made steady improvement since working with Synaptic. I can transfer myself in and out of my wheelchair, I can cook for myself, and with some support from others, can take care of myself. I can visit my wife with the help of drivers.

Favorite Part of Synaptic

My favorite part about Synaptic is the staff- everyone from the front desk to the therapists. They understand my peculiar sense of humor and recognize what my needs and wants are. They respond quickly to my needs and are very supportive of everything I am working towards. I would like to mention everybody by name, but that would take too long.

I still have more work to do and am grateful to Synaptic for their help in getting there- maybe not entering a tango competition in Buenos Ares but getting back on my feet.

Rita

Goal:

Reduce her reliance on her wheelchair and walker.

Rita had a stroke on Mother’s Day of 2019 in Kamloops, BC. She was very frustrated that she had to use a wheelchair and walker to get around. Looking for help, Rita made the journey to Calgary where her daughter found a facility to help with neurological rehabilitation for people who have suffered severe trauma.

Improvements

Rita has received therapy two to three times per week for the last seven to eight months. Her walking has improved significantly and her hand, albeit proving to be a little more stubborn, seems to wake up on those days of Excite Therapy.

Favorite Part of Synaptic

Each session proves to be the best ninety minutes of my days. The therapists are humble, friendly, and professional. I am truly indebted to the kindness and smiles these angels have brought to my world. Each day starts and ends with a smile from Leanne with lots of laughter and hard work in between with the staff. I am eternally grateful and appreciative for everyone I have worked with. They have all made, in their own unique way, and indelible impression on me that will last a lifetime.

Richi

Goal:

Become more independent and functional. Specifically, I want to be able to transfer independently and have better bed mobility.

I’m a born and raised Calgarian. I have been married for almost 12 years and we have three children. I spent just over a decade in Edmonton training to become a surgeon. In 2015, I started working as a gastrointestinal surgeon at the PLC and SHC. In February 2018, we went to Hawaii with the family for a conference. Unfortunately, towards the end of our trip I was injured in a freak accident while boogie boarding in the ocean. I broke my neck and suffered a C6 C7 spinal cord injury. Since then life has changed quite dramatically. I am no longer able to move my legs and have limited function of my upper limbs and hands. In late 2018, I went to Thailand for an epidural stimulator, although this is not a cure, it has been quite useful as a rehab tool. I’ve also seen improvements in my blood pressure and overall quality of life.

Improvements

Since starting at Synaptic, I have seen improvements in my overall strength and flexibility. My endurance has also improved, I’m able to do more on the mat and with the E- pacer.

Favorite Part of Synaptic

I have always enjoyed going to the gym for a workout, now I really look forward to coming to Synaptic for rehab as this is the closest thing to working out I’m able to do. I enjoy seeing everyone, including the therapists and other clients. It’s great to see such a supportive community at Synaptic.

Lynda

Goal:

Continue to strengthen my core and get better at pulling myself up into standing.

My journey to Synaptic began thirteen years ago when I had an internal bleed in my spine caused from a malformed blood vessel. I was able to walk myself into the emergency room but my life changed after that. Since then, I have been living as a T5 incomplete paraplegic with only a little toe movement and limited sensation in my legs. Life has been busy as a wife, mom of two kids and a preschool teacher. Ten months ago, I decided to change my career focus and try Synaptic.

Improvements

I have noticed several improvements since beginning my journey with Synaptic. My core strength is more engaged in everyday activities. I also have more confidence to try things and do more outside my wheelchair. My leg sensations have also increased, especially after workouts.

Favorite Part of Synaptic

I really enjoy coming to Synaptic, it helps to push my body to do a little more in each exercise. I am always learning the same way to exercise from different trainers, and, having each of them add a little piece to work on.

Gerry

Goal:

Get back to life without thinking about recovery, just life in a wheelchair. I am back at work half time, but I would also love to get back to travelling, which was something Alex and I loved to do. One day at a time…

I am a geotechnical engineer, and on June 14, 2018, I suffered my injury while my colleague and I were travelling through Southern Saskatchewan to inspectvarious pipeline crossing sites. My colleague was driving and fell asleep at the wheel and failed to negotiate a curve on the highway. Our vehicle was airborne for approximately 80 meters while travelling at 100 kilometers per hour. The vehicle hit an earth berm and flipped three times. My colleague was uninjured; however, I am now a “T10 complete” paraplegic.

When I first came home from 6 months in hospital and transitional care, my wife Alex called me “a little baby bird”. What she meant is that I was tentative on everything I did, and that both she and I always worried that I was fragile and needed to be “babied”. In retrospect, I was weak, and truthfully, also a bit scared of what lay ahead.

Improvements

It has been about a year since I started at Synaptic, and I would say my biggest improvements have been in my all over strength, my flexibility and most of all, my confidence. I am no longer afraid to do a floor-to wheelchair transfer or to try the steps. I’ve even tried escalators (though Alex would prefer I stick to elevators!) I would like to add that my core strength has really improved through my work with everyone at Synaptic, but last week after a tough core workout, I couldn’t laugh for 3 days without it hurting!

Favorite Part of Synaptic

Getting challenged in every workout, and having fun while doing it. Everyone is so positive and encouraging. I also really enjoy seeing the improvements that other clients make over time. You see how people are struggling, just like I was when I started, and then a few months later you watch them do things that are incredible.

Gord

Goal:

Try to get full use of the left arm and hand back and then continue to strengthen both arms and hands in hope that I may be able to use a manual wheelchair once in a while. I want to continue to strengthen and get more control over my core muscles.

I had been retired from work for only fourteen months when I woke up November 13, 2017 and was unable to get out of bed. 911 was called and I was rushed to the PLC in an unresponsive state. While in the ICU there I almost died four times in the first two days as they struggled to figure out what was wrong. A neuro surgeon was brought in from the Foothills Medical Centre and I was transferred there with what they thought was a spine issue. Doctors went in to operate and clean up the infection from around the spine and found I had developed arthritis on the spine that caused sharp bone spurs that cut open the back of my throat, which had allowed bacteria to develop an infection on my spinal cord. They backed out of the surgery to get a team together (spine, infectious diseases, ENT/plastic surgery) to decide how to repair the damage. When they went back in to do the surgery they needed to have a muscle to repair the back of the throat so I would be able to swallow. They cut a flap of the left pec muscle and flipped it back and used it to repair the back of my throat. Also just prior to this I had been bitten by what we think was a poisonous spider and combined with the infection developed a cyst in the spinal cord which they believe caused spinal meningitis. This caused me to be paralyzed from the neck down. When I left hospital May 28, 2018 I had limited movement in my right hand and arm.

Improvements

Since starting at Synaptic the beginning of January this year, I have significantly improved movement and strength in my right arm and am gaining more movement in my left hand and arm every week. Due to this improved strength I have a lot less constant pain in my shoulders and arms. I also have gained some slight movement in the right leg as well.

Favorite Part of Synaptic

I always look forward to seeing and working with the people at Synaptic. I like how they keep encouraging me to work harder and achieve more. They are always positive and encouraging in their approach to my recovery. I enjoy working with the new step, standing frame and the Excite unit. I also enjoy doing the strengthening exercises.