James Langlois’ life and full time work as a hospice nurse took an unforeseen turn when he awoke one morning with severe shoulder and back pain, and an inability to get out of bed. An initial trip to the emergency room led to inconclusive test results, until he was diagnosed with a spinal and shoulder infection at St. Tammany Hospital.
After he stabilized, his medical team, wife and daughter decided that Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital would be his best chance for recovery.
Upon arriving at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital after an 11-day stay at St. Tammany, James was unable to walk or perform his activities of daily living. Determined to regain his independence, he committed whole-heartedly to the therapy program personalized for his recovery.
Under the expert guidance of the physician-led care team, James began his healing journey. His physical therapists helped James gradually relearn how to walk, starting with the support of parallel bars and eventually progressing to a walker. The therapists also utilized leg weights, therabands and a stair stepper to strengthen his back muscles. His occupational therapists focused on rebuilding his core and arm strength using exercises, weights, therabands and an arm bike. They also introduced adaptive tools to help him with self-care tasks such as getting dressed and putting on his shoes.
After 12 days of intensive therapy, James achieved a remarkable feat. He was walking up to 400 feet on his own and independently getting dressed. James expressed his gratitude towards his family, whose support played a significant role in his recovery. He eagerly anticipated reuniting with them and his beloved dog at home.
Reflecting on his experience at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital, James praised the care team saying, “Everyone on the staff works so well together. As a nurse, it was a new experience to be on this side of care, but this is definitely where my colleagues should send people for rehabilitation.” If he were younger, James revealed that he would have loved to work at the hospital as a rehabilitation nurse, so impressed was he with the level of care and camaraderie among the team.
Looking forward to the future, James expressed his intent to continue his rehabilitation journey through outpatient therapy. While he decided to step back from full-time nursing, he and his wife are now committed to supporting hospice patients as volunteers, turning their challenging experiences into a source of strength and compassion for others.