Senior living...with an emphasis on living!

St. John Community resident profile - Linda Haluszczak

Published: February 09, 2016

Following a family vacation to the beach in 2013, Linda Haluszczak began feeling the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Her doctor prescribed medication, but within days, Linda was in extreme distress - she couldn't breathe, her face was drooping and her body was rapidly shutting down.

She required a tracheostomy and a feeding tube, and was completely paralyzed. Her diagnosis was Guillan-Barre Syndrome - a rare condition which causes the body's immune system to attack its own nervous system.

After a few months of treatment elsewhere, Linda arrived at St. John Specialty Care Center in September, 2013, where she remained ventilator-dependent for another six months. Slowly, she regained minimal movement in her extremities, but she was highly motivated to regain all that she had lost.

Intense physical, occupational and speech therapy at St. John have proven tremendously successful.

"The therapy here at St. John Specialty Care Center have been great," she said. "The therapists never gave up on me, and still push me to go further. I have learned how to feed myself again, and I can even walk up to 16 feet with some assistance. Every step I take is big!"

Part of her therapy included being transported to Passavant Community to exercise in the swimming pool at the Abundant Life Center.

"It felt so great to be able to walk in that water. I can stand by myself in it because I am weightless, and I can walk the length of the pool."

"I used to say, 'I can't.' Now I say, 'I'll try," and I am finding more and more that I can!"

In fact, Linda has begun the process of transitioning out of St. John Specialty Care Center back to her home in Moon Township.

"I will certainly miss everyone here at St. John, but I'm really looking forward to being back in my own home with my husband!

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