Posted by Divya Sathyanarayanan

Sun Ok Rhee enjoys traveling and was looking forward to visiting her family in Korea. But things didn’t go as planned—she started experiencing severe back pain. “My back was hurting every single day and I couldn’t walk properly,” she says. An MRI showed that Sun suffered from spinal stenosis, a condition causing the narrowing of open spaces in the spine which puts pressure on the nerves and spinal cord. Sun had experienced similar pain a few years back and underwent a back surgery at CHA HPMC. “I was very happy with the outcome of that surgery and my pain was completely gone,” she remembers.

Unfortunately, a recent car accident triggered the back pain once again—only this time, it was unbearable. Sun underwent a Laminectomy, a surgical treatment to relieve the back pain by decompressing the nerves and spinal cord. After her surgery, Sun was transferred to our specialized Acute Rehab where our interdisciplinary team of health care professionals—doctors, nurses, and therapists—created a personalized treatment plan for her. “I was very weak after the surgery and could barely sit or walk,” she says.

Not one to give up, Sun started undergoing three hours of daily therapy. Her treatment involved physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and get her back on her feet. CHA HPMC’s rehabilitation unit offers a specialized gym with exercise and conditioning equipment like state-of-the-art body weight support systems, balance balls, dumbbells, and mobility tools like stairs and parallel bars, among others. “The best part of therapy is that I am in full control of it. The therapists are very careful and help me do the exercises at my own pace and comfort level,” she says.

Sun is accompanied by her sister Michelle Lum, a Riverside resident, during her therapy sessions. “I trust the therapists to take excellent care of my sister. I’ve seen the sessions and I am confident about their treatment methods. Most importantly, my sister is comfortable and enjoys the treatment,” says Michelle. This is Michelle’s first visit to CHA HPMC and she is surprised at the level of care and facilities offered. Moreover, she is extremely happy with the attention and support her sister has been receiving from the nursing team. “My sister is usually very short tempered, but I’m surprised to see her calm with the nurses. They are definitely working their magic on her,” she says, with a smile. Sun too chimes in stating that the nurses took care of her like family and she never misses her sister at night when she is all by herself.

Although Michelle had to drive from Riverside to visit her sister every day, she says “it’s completely worth the excellent treatment and therapy that Sun is receiving at CHA HPMC.”
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