Patient Stories: Jeffry Barnes

Mr. Jeffry Barnes was in a couple of days ago at our Sinai office for an adjustment to his prosthesis. He is a patient of Sheryl Nathanson, CPO.

He has been an amputee for just under two years. Since receiving his prosthesis he has returned to walking independently and has gone back to working odds and ends jobs. He plans to run again soon! His advice to others in a similar situation is, "Just stay strong".

He recently went on a trip to Honduras, and he reports:

"I walked up a mountain and went zip-lining. And most importantly, I survived!"

Patient Stories: Robert Fleetwood

Meet Mr. Robert Fleetwood, a very successful user of a reciprocating gait orthosis (RGO). He has only had his orthosis since early May of 2018 but has made amazing gains in physical therapy! This is his third bout of physical therapy at the Kennedy Krieger Institute International Center for Spinal Cord Injury (ICSCI). He said that the most powerful motivators in his journey to recovery and walking again were his wife, and seeing the success of others around him at ICSCI. Mr. Fleetwood says that he struggled a lot internally to find motivation especially right after his injury. He says that after his injury, he had trouble even sitting upright when he first came to KKI. He wasn't able to dress himself or do a lot of his daily activities. He expressed a great deal of gratitude for his care team, both at KKI and Dankmeyer. He never thought he would be where he is now, given where he started.

He is now able to walk with a walker and his RGO, completely on his own, and can make a quarter lap around the ICSCI gym. One of his goals with the RGO was to stand without using his hands, so he could do more activities in the kitchen specifically, such as cooking and doing dishes. He is able to walk with his RGO for about 45 minutes to an hour so far, after roughly eight weeks of therapy. 

He expresses that the time after his injury was very difficult. Now when he sees someone that is newly injured that is at KKI, he will go over and talk to them, to see if he can help them out. He knows what it was like to struggle at the beginning, and wants to help other people in a similar situation. To anyone who is newly injured or having a tough time, he says, "Shoot for the stars. Don't let people tell you what you can and can't do." He feels truly blessed to have his wife, who helped him regain his motivation and also bring back his positive attitude. Once he got on the right track everything fell in place for him. He even improved his nutrition to help with his recovery and improve his strength.

His goal for his next bout of care is to do the running man exercise, shown here.

He also wants to be out in the community all day long, being able to walk with his orthoses. He hopes one day to progress to walking without his orthoses. His practitioner, Nina Bondre, CPO, says, “Mr. Fleetwood is truly an inspiration. Working with him has been a joy, and his positive energy is contagious. I hope others can see his success and be motivated to keep pushing themselves.”

Patient Stories: Kaleb Mearkle

Kaleb's mom, Nicole Warnick, writes this story for us about her sixteen year old son Kaleb:  Kaleb Mearkle resides in Grantsville, Maryland with his family.  In fact, he just celebrated his sixteenth birthday!  He attended Mountain View Christian School in Springs, PA this past year in 9th grade.  A young man who easily wins your heart with his warm personality, he always has a smile and a wonderful attitude.

He enjoys hunting and fishing with his stepfather and uncle, playing video games with his big brother and even baking with his mother, godmother and aunt.  Kaleb is a Junior Cadet at the Bittinger Volunteer Fire Department under the watchful eye of Chief Justin Orendorf. He is just an amazing young man.  He is not disabled, he just plays and lives with a handicap.  Kaleb has played baseball in the past and now he plays basketball for his school.  He also loves to travel, especially going to the ocean and going out to Arizona to visit his Aunt Juju(Julia) and her family.  

This young man of determination and will was born with a congenital deformity of the right leg which required a below the knee amputation at just two months old.   Kaleb is a patient at John Hopkins Hospital under Doctor Paul Sponseller and has been with Dr. Sponseller since birth.  He has also been part of The Children's League since he was eight months old, where he continues his care with them under the watchful eye of Cathy Broaden. He has been with Dankmeyer for a number of years as Cumberland practitioner Mark Treasure's (CP, BOCO) patient. 

Kaleb has not only learned to live with his amputation and wearing his prosthesis since he was six months old, but he has faced other health issues.  Despite numerous obstacles throughout his life, Kaleb finds a way and works hard to overcome them.  His “I can do it” attitude and determination has enabled him to enjoy life.  

NOTE: Recently, another patient encountered Kaleb while on an office visit to the Cumberland office.  This patient commented on a conversation that he shared with Mark Treasure and Kaleb (whom he did not know) - what a "respectful and positive man" Kaleb was.  


Master C and the Pirate SMO's (Supramalleolar Orthoses)

Master C recently came in to visit Miss Kristen, his orthotist (Kristen Beltran CO, Board Eligible Prosthetist) for a follow up visit.  HIs new supramalleolar orthoses needed a little adjustment.  While he waited for her return from the lab, we followed Kristen back to take a few pictures of the process.  When she was all finished, she returned to him for a fitting.  After checking for a good fit, the engaging nine year old was quite willing to model the orthoses, pointing out that not only were there pirate skull and crossbones, but the Velcro had flames on it.  He also thought that people would like to see his orthoses on Facebook, and we happily agreed.

Master C thought it was important to get pictures from each angle, and so he posed with the orthoses from the front, left side, rear and right sides.  Then he thought a view from both the top and the bottom was in order, so that we could clearly see the pirate skull and crossbones.  After a stroll across the room to check out the exam table and give out a few hugs, he had his picture made with Miss Kristen before it was time to go.

Thank you for sharing, Master C!  We think your pictures will get many likes on Facebook.  We also have a video of Miss Kristen doing her work, and you modeling your orthoses, so take a look here.




Happy 100th Birthday, Mrs. Lawrence!

When Mrs. Lawrence was born on February 27, 1918, World War I was still being fought.  She is part of what has come to be known as "The Greatest Generation" - those who grew up in the Depression and lived through World War II.  Now, she is also a member of a rare group of citizens who are one hundred or more years old - a centenarian.  

Mrs. Lawrence was greeted at a recent appointment at Dankmeyer's Sinai office with a little birthday celebration in her honor.  Sheryl Nathanson, CPO and Sinai office Patient Services Representative Jeanne Smith prepared the mini birthday celebration, which included cupcakes, candles, flowers, and a birthday crown!  This mobile senior didn't have time to party for long, as she had to catch her MTA transport after her appointment.  

Please join us in wishing Mrs. Lawrence a very happy 100th birthday, with many more to come!