Posted by Divya Sathyanarayanan
Aslanyan Knarik, 66, was enjoying life with her nephews and family. Developing a potentially serious health crisis was the last thing on her mind. In March 2019, Knarik woke up to find both her legs and toes swollen and black. She was in excruciating pain and couldn’t take a step. Her family called 911 and rushed her to the emergency department at CHA HPMC.
“The emergency physician immediately did the necessary scan and confirmed that I had severe blood clots on both legs. They wheeled me into surgery right away,” she remembers. Post the surgery, Knarik was in pain and came to our Acute Rehab to regain her mobility. “The Rehab nurses took care of me like a baby taking first steps,” says Knarik, with a smile. Two weeks later, with daily exercises and training under the guidance of our rehab team, Knarik found her movement back and was discharged with a walker. But things were far from alright for Knarik.
Five months later, Knarik developed the same problem and her leg once again turned black. “This time, the doctor said they had to amputate my right leg until knee as the situation was worse than first time. They had to stop the clot from spreading,” she says. “I trusted the doctors to make the right decision for me and went ahead with their suggestion.”
Knarik underwent a total of five surgeries during her first and second visit to the hospital. After the amputation, she was in bed for two weeks. “I had forgotten what it was like to walk. I couldn’t move my leg,” she remembers. Knarik was back in our Acute Rehab for recovery once again. “Every time, it was as if my life began for the first time. By the second visit, the rehab team had become my family and they took care of me like their own child. I wouldn’t get this kind of treatment even at home,” smiles Knarik.
As we discuss Knarik’s recovery, she uses her bedside call light to request cold water from the nursing station. “Ok mother, nurse is coming,” came a cheerful reply from the other end. The term ‘mother’ put a big smile on Knarik’s face and within minutes a nurse was there with a glass of cold water. “I’ll miss them once I get discharged because no one can take care of me like this. With their compassion and support, I made gradual recovery and I got my movement back,” she says.
Nothing excites Knarik more than her 2-hour therapy sessions every day, where she performs various leg exercises with the support and guidance of rehab nurses. “Even my family was surprised with my fast recovery,” she says, smilingly.
After two weeks in Acute Rehab, Knarik is all set to go home. But she doesn’t want her relationship with CHA HPMC to end. “Maybe I’ll come back here for my prosthetic legs,” she says, with strong hopes and a will to walk normally like before.