After undergoing heart surgery, Calvin Dustybull had a complicated recovery. Calvin has a complex medical history, including coronary artery disease, mitral stenosis, chronic atrial fibrillation, and diabetes with advanced chronic kidney disease. The 62-year-old faced a long and complicated recovery before he could safely return home to his two sons in Browning, MT.
Twenty days after a quadruple coronary artery bypass grafting, Calvin still needed a high level of medical care. He required a ventilator, dialysis, and an NG tube for feeding. He also suffered from encephalopathy (altered mental state) and thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count). For self-care activities, Calvin required the assistance of others.
Calvin needed a hospital that specialized in managing medically-complex patients like himself. His care team at Benefits Hospital in Great Falls, Montana referred him to Northern Idaho Advanced Care Hospital (NIACH).
At NIACH, Calvin began to make progress in his recovery. The pulmonary intensivist team and clinicians weaned him off the ventilator. Soon, he was decannulated and breathing room air. Over the course of five weeks, Calvin received dialysis three times per week. With nutritional support and therapies, his strength improved. Except for a slight memory deficit, Calvin’s encephalopathy resolved, as well.
Calvin recalls the staff at NIACH encouraging him to work hard and keep fighting each day. “At the beginning, I couldn’t speak or remember my name,” Calvin said of his admission to NIACH. “But with the help of therapies and encouragement from the staff, I remained focused on my goals and my memory started to improve.”
With a strong foundation to build on, Calvin was ready for the next stage of his recovery. However, his needs remained great. Calvin’s care plan required continued hemodialysis, therapy for strengthening, wound and stoma care, anticoagulation management, diabetic management, and continued nutritional support. This led Calvin to Rehabilitation Hospital of the Northwest (RHN). RHN shares a campus with NIACH in Post Falls. There, Calvin would receive the medical care he needed while receiving more intensive therapy. For three hours each day, Calvin received physical, occupational, and speech therapy at RHN.
Throughout his stay at RHN, Calvin made great strides in his recovery. He increased his independence with transfers and activities of daily living. His mobility improved to ambulating 120 feet with a four-wheel walker. Speech therapy helped address his mild cognitive defects. Calvin also made progress with his diabetes. He no longer required insulin, with his hemoglobin A1C down to 5.8.
Calvin attributes his great outcomes to goal setting and the team approach at both NIACH and RHN. He expressed appreciation for the education he received, as well. The staff taught Calvin about his medical conditions, medications, exercises, and assistive devices. They also shared ways to increase his safety, strength, and function at home. This education carried over to his loved ones, as well. On Calvin’s discharge day, his two sons and a friend participated in caregiver training. Staff informed them of necessary follow-up appointments they had set for Calvin, too.
Calvin and his loved ones were excited for his return home. They planned a cookout with his grandkids and friends to celebrate his success. Calvin continues to gain additional strength each day, utilizing the education he received at NIACH and RHN.