Southern Pines Healthcare restores Resident’s mobility, independence

Local resident preps to return home months after devastating motorcycle accident
Nursing home care restores man’s mobility, independence
New Port Richey, Fla. (Jan. 10, 2014) – A local resident is making a remarkable recovery after a dangerous motorcycle accident that could have rendered him permanently handicapped, or worse.
In March 2013, Albert Grella, his brother, Robert, and a friend set out on a long talked-about motorcycle trip to the Florida Keys. About 4 p.m. the day of their departure, the trio arrived in Miami, where it was raining lightly. Robert lost control of his bike and Albert, to avoid hitting his brother, veered sharply to the right. Albert glanced over his shoulder at his brother not realizing a telephone pole stood just ahead. He hit the pole and was thrown from his bike into a ravine, onto a pile of rock.
Robert was fortunate to escape the accident with ‘road rash’ and a sprained leg; Albert was not so lucky. His life was saved only by his helmet, the entire left side of which was crushed. Nearly every bone in his body broken, he was transported via helicopter to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where he underwent a 30-hour operation to, as he said, “put me back together.”
Albert spent three-and-a-half weeks at Jackson Memorial before being transported closer to home, to Southern Pines Healthcare Center.
“When I came around, feeling better after the first month or two, I could not believe what had happened to me,” Albert Grella said.
He began a months-long journey into physical rehabilitation, an experience that proved both physically and emotionally grueling – but, ultimately, successful.
“At first, simple tasks like getting out of bed, getting to the bathroom or sitting at the edge of bed were extremely difficult, at best – not to mention extremely painful,” said Southern Pines Physical Therapist Kenneth Olan.
Albert required considerable assistance from therapists but, after about six weeks, was able to get out of bed for a few hours each day and could bear some weight on his right leg. He continued to progress, undergoing femur surgery last September and a month later receiving approval from an orthopedic physician to bear weight on his left leg while using a walker as he continued physical therapy.
By late December, Albert was independent in all ‘activities of daily living’ – dressing himself, for instance. He continues to use a walker but is working toward using a less-restrictive cane.
Albert is expected to return home independently in the next couple of weeks. And he is also now a staunch advocate for legislation reinstating a law requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets.
“I owe many thanks to all the employees at Southern Pines for taking care of me,” he said. “In the beginning, I thought I would not be able to use my arms and legs again but (Registered Physical Therapist) Kenneth and (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant) Bruce kept pushing me every day not to give up. God bless them!”

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