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Better Lives Stories

You’re never too old to learn new tricks

Janet DeGrow

Janet DeGrow has lived with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system –for 25 years. It wasn’t until a trip to the emergency room that she learned it was possible, with some help, for her life to get easier.

Last fall, Janet collapsed at home after a reaction to her medication, and was taken by ambulance to Regina General Hospital. “I spent seven days in the hospital,” Janet says. Once her treatment was complete, Janet was transferred to the Wolfe Stroke Centre at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre (WRC), where she would have access to physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other health-care providers she would need over the course of five weeks.

Janet’s rehabilitation was made possible thanks to the generosity of our community through Hospitals of Regina Foundation. A $1 million gift in honour of Jacob and Leopoldine Wolfe, from an anonymous donor, and another $500,000 raised by the Foundation helped create a centre that features an organized space, outfitted with equipment, and new communication technology to assist patients with their rehabilitation. The Centre prepares patients, like Janet, to return home.

“I really learned a lot,” Janet says. “I learned how to do things on my own so I could be independent, how to use my power chair, and do day-to-day things by myself. But the biggest lesson I learned was to pay attention to what I need instead of what I think I need.”

She says the staff helped her understand there are many tools available that could make her life so much easier.

The occupational therapists helped her connect to the service providers who could install the enhancements in her home, to increase her independence. She added rails and hand holds in her bathroom, and a lift in the garage, so she can get in and out of her home easier with her power chair.

“The care I received at the hospital was very good, but the care and help I received at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre was excellent,” Janet says.

Our hospitals are the heart of our community. Investing in local health care is vitally important. It’s hard enough to be sick, but the stress of having to go to a distant location when you are already scared and sick is more than most of us can bear.Janet was very happy that she could receive all her medical attention close to her family and friends. It was comforting to have them nearby and to have the staff at Wascana Rehabilitation Centre make her feel at home.

It took some time, but Janet’s house now has the enhancements she needs to make her life easier, and after six months, she is back at work. She credits her recovery to the support provided by the community and Hospitals of Regina Foundation.

“The Foundation does great work that helps meet the health-care needs of the residents of southern Saskatchewan,” she says. 

I know that as my MS progresses, I will require the services our hospitals provide more and more. It’s good to know that the level of care will be there when I need it.

  • You’re never too old to learn new tricks
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