Finding Life Again Through Rehabilitation at HealthSource

When Sharon Faber of Zilwaukee looks down at her new, straighter, stronger legs, she hardly recognizes them.

It all began less than two years ago when she fractured her ankle and was referred to orthopedic surgeon Tarek Taha, MD. “When Dr. Taha was examining my ankle, he noticed my knees,” Sharon explains. “I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and my knees were noticeably deformed in what is called ‘wind swept’ pattern – one leg is knock kneed and the other is bow legged.”

Sharon vividly remembers the moment Dr. Taha saw her legs as she stood up from the wheelchair. “I can fix those,” he said. “Is that something you’d be interested in?” Noting that no other physician had ever wanted to tackle her deformed legs, Sharon was ecstatic.

“Both of Sharon’s knees were pretty bad and both needed to be replaced,” Dr. Taha says. “She was very restricted in her movement so we offered to take care of both knees, one at a time.”

In preparation before her surgery, Sharon did research to find the best rehabilitation facility – one that would offer her both inpatient therapy immediately following each surgery…as well as outpatient rehabilitation once she was able to go back home to complete her recovery.

“HealthSource returned my calls and invited me to come and tour the facility,” Sharon says. “They parked my car for me and wheeled me around to see everything they have to offer. I was sold!”

Dr. Taha performed total knee replacements on Sharon’s knees – 90 days apart — with the help of the Mako robot. After each surgery she went to HealthSource for both inpatient and outpatient therapy.

“After surgery, I stayed at HealthSource for a month each time. I was with Heidi and Holly for my knees,” Sharon explains. “They push you hard. And it’s good. They do it in a very gentle way. You don’t want to move but you have to. If you really can’t do it, they give you a few minutes to rest, catch your breath, cry a little if needed, and come back at it.”

This is where Dr. Taha believes Sharon’s successful outcomes were solidified. “Her experience at HealthSource helped her tremendously,” he says. “With joint replacement, there is a big role for post-operative therapy. You can have the surgery but if you don’t participate in quality rehabilitation, you’re going to be limited with how much function you have in your new knee. Sometimes, you have to push the patient a little bit. The early gains are the ones that serve patients long term.”

He is very pleased with Sharon’s outcomes, saying “she is probably one of the worst cases I’ve done.”

Unfortunately, Sharon suffered a stroke (due to sleep apnea) several months after her second knee surgery. Again, she came back to HealthSource for care to work on balance, mobility in her right side and to regain speech and cognitive function. Her therapists were Erin in physical therapy, Lisa in occupational therapy, and Janae in speech/language pathology.

Initially Sharon’s therapists and physicians thought she might have to stay at HealthSource for three to four weeks following her stroke. “Through my faith and the many people who prayed for me, I was out and home by myself in two weeks,” she says. “I worked hard. I wasn’t going to let this stop me.”

All in all, Sharon is a big HealthSource fan. “It’s A+ here,” she says. “I highly, highly recommend therapy here. Not once, not twice, but three times they gave me my life back.”