2009-04-16 / Features

FCMC Celebrates National Occupational Therapy Month

With the help of adaptations made to her needle, Hilda can once again crochet. With the help of adaptations made to her needle, Hilda can once again crochet. April is National Occupational Therapy month. To celebrate, FCMC's staff is holding a meet and greet with one of their most recent success stories - Hilda Hejl.

Hilda was an avid quilter and seamstress prior to her diagnosis of Guillain-Barre in October 2008. With this diagnosis, she couldn't pick up a crochet needle; feed herself, walk or anything. The doctors told her, at her age, it would take her two to three years to recover. Five months later and she's feeding herself, helping with small chores at home and beginning to walk. Through her months of progress, she has transitioned from acute care at FCMC, to inpatient rehab at Chambersburg Hospital, home therapy and currently outpatient therapy at FCMC.

Hilda states "I never thought the day would come when I could pick up a crochet needle to work on an afghan and now I can with the help of adaptations to my needle. I also can feed myself independently after retraining my hands and fingers with the use of adaptive equipment. My next personal goal is to attend my grandson's wedding."

Hilda goes on to say, "Occupational therapy to me is a lifesaver. Personal advice that I've gained through my OT experience is to push myself with the help of my therapists and I will make it through. My therapists were the greatest."

Hilda's story was chosen by her occupational therapists to celebrate her accomplishments and the achievements of many of her personal and therapy goals. April is National Occupational Therapy month and Hilda's success is just a reminder that with the right attitude, proper tools and a willing spirit everyone can live life to the fullest. Hilda is still not able to live her life as she did five months ago but she's as alive as ever and eager to share her joy with everyone around her. Her story truly is an inspiration.

Hilda is still attending occupational therapy as well as physical therapy at FCMC and attributes her success to all of the therapy staff at FCMC and Chambersburg Hospital Inpatient Rehabilitation. Hilda's therapists feel that her success is based on her attitude to not give up during the hard times, being open to changes in her routines and by not allowing her physical "weakness" to become her identity.

If you would like to meet Hilda, she will be hosting a meet and greet at FCMC April 17 at noon, during its departmental open house from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The department will have door prizes, giveaways and light refreshments.

More information regarding the occupational therapy program or the events for April 17, please contact the rehabilitative services department at 717-485-6108.

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