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Success Stories

Beating all Odds: Rafael’s Inspiring Recovery after COVID-19

Rafael Chavez went to his doctor on April 5, 2021, due to tiredness and a high fever. That is when he tested positive for COVID-19. His doctor suggested he go to the ER, but Rafael thought it was nothing rest couldn’t solve. A week later, Rafael was rushed to the hospital due to not being able to breathe. His family was told to prepare for the worst. Rafael was in the ICU, fighting for his life. His lungs were shutting down and had no oxygen flowing throughout his body, and his kidneys were also starting to shut down. Finally, he was approved and transferred to Saint John’s Medical hospital in Santa Monica, CA, to have ECMO surgery. He was taken off intubation after a week, and his journey to recovery began. He was now in a wheelchair, unable to walk or use daily living skills, such as feeding himself.

His family began to research rehab facilities that would give their dad the attention he desperately needed. Karen Sauls, Regional Director of Business Development of Southern California, had heard of Rafael’s story and visited him in person. She knew right then and there that our program was right for him. “After meeting him, my whole plans changed. I knew he would thrive at our NeuroRestorative Artesia, CA, program,” said Karen. “So, the family toured the program and they were in tears after the tour. They said, “we want him here.”

Rafael joined our Artesia, CA, inpatient subacute program in June 2021 and was ready to go home in just a few months. Our care team worked with Rafael on occupational, physical and speech therapy. When asked why the family chose NeuroRestorative, Cristal Archiniega, Daughter of Rafael, replied, “All of the staff were approachable and welcoming, and the location felt like home. Sometimes we’d call 3-4 times a day to check on him, and every time, you could feel that the nurse/staff would answer with a smile on their face.”

After being told by previous doctors that he may never walk again, Rafael took steps after only a few days working with his physical therapists. All the staff knew that a big motivator for Rafael was his family and how much he enjoyed spending time with his grandkids, eating ice cream with them. So when it was his last day before returning home, our staff put together a surprise ice cream party for him and his family. It was the first time he was able to see his ten grandkids in over three months. It was an emotional, happy celebration.

Today, Rafael is home and making improvements every day. He is working hard to get back to doing what he loves, such as driving his truck, playing with his grandkids and walking for more extended periods. “I know he will get there and it’s all with time,” said Cristal. “But, overall, we loved the treatment and attention that everyone at NeuroRestorative gave him and our family. We highly recommend NeuroRestorative to anyone.”

Success Stories