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> Neighbor Spotlight
> Patricia G.
on a New Road
G. was a “Roady” whose road came to a halt when she
began having respiratory problems which eventually caused
her to be placed on a mechanical ventilator. Patricia tells
us in her own words about her journey and the new road she
name is Patricia and I am grateful to be able to
tell you my story. I was born in Boston and my
family moved to upstate New York when I was four - I’m
in my thirties now. Our family is very close-knit and
always has been. I have three brothers and we all
help take care of my mother.
Before I became disabled I was the night manager in
a Pizzeria. I was also a Roady - that is someone who
travels with bands to performances. A Roady helps
transport the band, carries equipment, sets up the
performance. I did all of that and I was the person
who did the sound checks. I worked with “hair
bands” and “heavy metal groups.” I have a
degree in music production and management and I
really liked working with groups.
I am also artistic and I like to work with my hands
and I made jewelry and did leather beading. I am an
active person I did a lot of hiking and I traveled a
lot because of my Roady work. I also volunteered and
worked with local Girl Scouts troops.
My problems started a few years ago when I
contracted blood poisoning and that led to emergency
surgery where I flat-lined on the operating table
and was given a tracheostomy. Over the years I had
recurrent bronchitis as well as sleep apnea.
G. and Tom Harvie, RRT, CPFT
the past year my sleep apnea got worse and I was
diagnosed with COPD. I started to have more frequent
hospital admissions and my condition became so
severe that I was placed on a mechanical ventilator
at the hospital and remained there for two months.
I never thought it could happen to me - I kept
thinking ‘you’re so young.’ I was scared that
I would have to be on the ventilator for the rest of
While in the hospital my physicians told me that I
needed more rehabilitation. One doctor told me that
I would have to be on a ventilator for the rest of
my life - another doctor told me that if I worked
hard and lost weight that there was a chance that I
could be weaned from the vent. I wasn’t keen on
going to get more rehabilitation because I wanted to
go home, but I knew I needed the help. I didn’t
want to have to live life on a ventilator.
The hospital suggested Northeast Center for Special
Care and I came here. It was tough the first few
days. When I first came here I didn’t know what to
think. I was grumpy and I cried but then I started
to get to know my staff and they started to work
with me to get off the ventilator and to lose weight
and take care of myself.
Harvie, RRT, CPFT, Northeast Center ventilator care program
director told us:
she arrived Patricia was on the vent twenty-four
hours a day. We worked with Patricia as soon as she
came to us helping her to understand that she had an
excellent chance of coming off the ventilator and
improving her health. It didn’t take her long to
become motivated. She also began working closely
with Trish, our dietician who developed a
weight-loss regime with Patricia that has been very
successful. Patricia also joined our "Nutrition
Club," which is facilitated by Trish our
Dietician. Patricia is an active member of that
group and is a great support to the other members.
was scared that I would have to be on the ventilator for
the rest of my life."
her self-confidence was up Patricia quickly went to
started to push myself and I worked hard. I listened
to my therapists and the things I learned in therapy I
began doing for myself so I could get off the vent. I
also have a weight-loss program in place and I’ve
lost a significant amount of weight. A month and a
half after I came to Northeast Center I was able to be
weaned from the ventilator!
I felt free - once I was weaned I was able to become
more active. Every day I would get up, get dressed and
go do activities. I met other Resident-Neighbors here
and have made many friends. As I said I did
jewelry-making before I came here and I was pleased to
discover they had that activity here at Northeast
Center. I also play cards, I go to Mass and
participate in the other things they have here.
The respiratory therapists here are great. The first
thing they taught me was about the ventilator and what
it does. When I had questions about my breathing and
what it meant on the ventilator they explained it to
me so I developed a good understanding.
The physical therapists are also excellent. They
walked with me every day and were took the time to go
slower when I needed to and were patient with me when I needed
to stop and rest.
Another thing I learned was how to take care of my
trach. In the hospital they always did that for me -
here I learned to care for myself and the respiratory
staff was always willing to teach me.
to R: Thomas Harvie, RRT, CPFT, Andrea Napolitano, CNA,
Patricia G., and Karen Beneway, LPN.
weaned from a ventilator and improving her health has
given Patricia a second chance and she is not going to
sit idly by as she told us:
now my mother and my brothers are looking for a bigger
place for me to live as soon as that happens I’ll be
able to go home. I plan to keep on a weight-loss
program and my goal is to lose what I need to to
remain healthy and to be able to have my trach
I also want to go back to school. I really want to go
to nursing school. When you go through health problems
like I have you develop a lot of insight and I want to
be able to help people, especially people with weight
Northeast Center has been a great help to me. The
nurses, respiratory therapists and all of the staff
have always treated me with respect. When I was in the
hospital I had to stay in bed all day - here they
always encouraged me to get out of bed and have as
normal a day as possible that made me think that maybe
there is hope and that I can have my life back again.
This is a wonderful place, the staff is terrific and
they have really helped me to have another chance at
an independent life.
worked diligently - she really took advantage of the
programs and activities we offer here and has made a
lot of friends. She has been joy to work with and we
will miss her but its great when we get to say goodbye
and know that another person will be able to live a
Our ventilator weaning program and our dedicated clinical staff have
helped hundreds of people like Patricia to wean from mechanical
ventilators and learn to live healthy lives. The mission at Northeast Center for Special Care drives our
philosophy and treatment programs.
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