Ernestine's story

Ernestine Montgomery smiles after rehabilitation.

When 71-year-old retired teacher Ernestine Montgomery arrived at TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital, she was facing a mountain of health challenges. A widow with a passion for life, Ernestine's tale began with unexpected heart complications that led her to undergo a series of procedures, including the placement of stents and a specialized device called the Watchman to manage her irregular heartbeat.

Following surgery, she was weak and required comprehensive rehabilitation. "I could walk, but that was just about all," Ernestine recalls. "Every little thing felt like a hurdle." 
After spending two weeks recovering from surgery at Bethesda North, Ernestine transferred to TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital to focus on rebuilding her life. Her goals were simple yet daunting: to regain her strength and get back to the things she loved.

Ernestine had always led an active life. After 24 years in the education sector, brimming with a deep love for arts and sports, she wasn't ready to give up her independence. "I was sent here for my rehabilitation needs, and it was wonderful!" she said, reflecting back on her choice of TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital.

Her physician-led team tailored a program for Ernestine. Physical therapy played a vital role in Ernestine’s recovery, with rigorous exercises aimed at strengthening her legs and improving her walking abilities. Through occupational therapy, Ernestine focused on practical tasks like laundry, showering safely and getting in and out of a car. Her care team utilized a car simulator and various exercise equipment to simulate daily activities, building up her strength and dexterity.

It was a rigorous two-week stay, but the progress was profound. Ernestine transitioned from a walker to a cane and eventually walked independently. The once-daunting thought of daily challenges was now an achievable accomplishment.

Ernestine fondly remembers the "ah-ha moment" during a meeting with her sister and healthcare team, "They said I could go home. They believed I could do it even though my sister didn't."
Her rehabilitation story is not just about the physical milestones but also about the people and experiences during her days at TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital. "All of the wonderful people here," Ernestine exclaimed. "And the fish from the cafeteria. I loved it."

Ernestine found solace in her faith. "It was me and Jesus," she says, crediting her spiritual strength for her recovery as much as her physical perseverance. After her time in inpatient rehabilitation, Ernestine is excited about resuming her hobbies and the life she loves "restored with energy and everything [the care team] did." She planned to continue her recovery with home therapy.

Her advice to others facing rehabilitation is heartfelt and straightforward: "Come here! This is where I would suggest because I can't even put into words the beautiful testimony this place deserves."