A Lot of Living to Do

During her 43 year career as a nurse, Marianne Williams had plenty of experience helping patients through their hospitalization. After being diagnosed with bladder cancer during a routine physical, Marianne found herself in the role of patient. “Although I am a nurse, it is a different experience as a patient,” says Marianne. “For years I was the one encouraging patients and now am the one being encouraged. It was hard being on the other side.”

Surgeons at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania performed complicated abdominal surgery to remove her cancer (including a hysterectomy and artificial bladder). Post-surgery Marianne experienced several complications that left her severally weakened.

Marianne wanted to regain her independence and health to return home, “I’m 68 and have a lot of living to do. Living at the shore, I love summer and have a group of friends that I go to the beach with every day. I wanted to get back to that.”  To achieve her goal of returning home, her doctors referred her to the Specialty Hospital at Rittenhouse.

“I needed to relearn how to do everything for myself. I couldn’t even turn over. The staff had to roll me over and roll me back. I was dependent on them to wash, bathe and clean me,” says Marianne. “When I first arrived at the Specialty Hospital, I was so weak and debilitated. I laid there and wondered how I was going to recover when I could not even move.”

The care team at the Specialty Hospital at Rittenhouse worked together to formulate a plan of action that simultaneously worked on managing her complex health conditions with the assistance of the Wound Care Team and building her strength with the therapy team.

m1During each therapy session, Jayea Watson, PT, DPT worked with Marianne to build up her abilities physically and help her take the steps necessary for her to return to the life waiting for her at home.  “My therapist Jayea was my motivation during my recovery. She has this way about her and will not allow anyone to say the word ‘can’t’,” says Marianne. “Even when I doubted myself, she was able to get me walking and standing again. I’ll never forget the first day I took three steps. It was like my world opened up”

Marianne was able to return home with her daughter Patty and the friends who have been waiting for her. “Before my recovery at the Specialty Hospital, I figured that there would be no choice but for me to live the rest of my life in a nursing home. But here I am, back at home,” says Marianne. “I’m in good shape and home with the people I love. The Specialty Hospital gave me my life back”


by Patrice Bendig