Edsel's Story 

Edsel Dickerson in his patient room.

Edsel Dickerson, a 71-year-old Carriere, Mississippi resident, is no stranger to an active lifestyle. With his wife of 50 years, Paula, by his side and three grown children, Edsel’s days were filled with spending time with his grandkids and maintaining his home. However, an unexpected event changed his routine when he had a fall while coming down the steps from his shed.

Seeking medical help initially at Highland Community Hospital, Edsel was diagnosed with rib fractures and was sent home for recovery. Yet, as the days passed, his back pain intensified, leading him to Slidell Memorial Hospital. There, he received a discouraging diagnosis: a burst fracture affecting several spinal segments, along with rib fractures on his right side. Edsel underwent a complex surgery involving hardware stabilization to mend his spine. During his eight-day stay at Slidell Memorial, he received crucial physical and occupational therapy.

Recognizing the need for further rehabilitation, Edsel and his medical team chose Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital to continue his recovery journey. Edsel with a determined spirit, aimed to work hard and regain his independence. Upon initial evaluation by physical therapy and occupational therapy, Edsel required significant assistance for daily activities, including dressing, bathing and transfers. He could only walk about 50 feet with substantial aid.

Edsel’s progress with his physical therapy team was remarkable. He started with exercises to boost leg strength, using therabands and the recumbent stair stepper machine. Gradually, he increased his walking distance to 500 feet with a rolling walker independently and conquered stair climbing with just supervision for safety.

Occupational therapy played an essential role in Edsel’s journey. His occupational therapist worked daily with Edsel to increase his arm strength and endurance using arm theraband exercises, free weights and the arm bike. Adaptive equipment was also introduced since Edsel was unable to bend at the waist. Devices such as a reacher and sock aide allowed him to become independent with his lower body dressing and a long handle sponge proved helpful when bathing. By discharge, he had achieved complete independence with self-care tasks, transfers and personal hygiene.

After 17 days at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital, Edsel looked back on his journey. He singled out the stair stepper as his favorite exercise equipment and recalled a significant “aha moment” when he could stand in the shower independently.

Edsel credited his wife Paula for keeping him motivated throughout his rehabilitation. Her support, both mentally and physically, played a pivotal role in his recovery. Looking ahead, Edsel planned to continue his rehabilitation with outpatient therapy and eagerly anticipated returning to his life and grandkids. When asked about his experience at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital, Edsel shared, “Everyone at the hospital worked together to set goals and focused on my overall needs.” To others facing similar challenges, he offered this advice, “Go to the best hospital possible and work hard."