Emirati Zuhour Saeed Al Ameri thought that the gradual loss of feelings and energy in her lower limbs was due to tiredness until one day she wasn't able to walk at all.
Doctors feared she could be bedridden for life. However, today, after being away from her home for 14 months for treatment and intensive rehabilitation, Zuhour is driving herself to the doctor for follow-up treatment.
An active woman, Zuhour, was admitted to hospital with complications related to a surgery in September last year. Since she was also a kidney transplant recipient, her road to recovery was complicated and she had to stay in hospital for eight months. "Before the surgery, I was completely mobile," she told Khaleej Times.
"Then one day, I was unable to walk due to generalised weakness and severe muscle deconditioning," she said.
Doctors told Zuhour that her condition was related to multiple conditions including chronic renal failure, anaemia, status post sleeve gastrectomy, leak of anastomosis, abdominal abscess, being a kidney transplant recipient, as well as deep venous thrombosis.
After being hospitalised for months at an end, Zuhour was transferred to NMC ProVita International Medical Centre in Al Ain that provides post-acute care.
On August 30 this year, Zuhour was diagnosed with generalised muscle weakness and severe muscle deconditioning. Doctors at the centre said that her case was difficult with physical and psychosocial barriers preventing her recovery process.
Meetings were held with Zuhour and her family to decide her plan of treatment, said Dr Ahmad Al Khayer, medical director of Rehabilitation Services. "Gradual engagement with exercises, which involved passive mobilisation, active mobilisation, then functional activities training, then training in activities of daily living were done," he said. "During the process, Zuhour was helped to overcome many psychosocial barriers to recovery," he added.
After two months of an intense medical recovery and rehabilitation programme, Zuhour made significant progress and doctors discharged her on October 25. "It was hard to believe that I would be able to go home and live with my family; I hadn't been home for nearly 14 months," she said. "I thought I would never walk again, and now I've been cleared to drive myself to my therapy appointments at the outpatient department," she added.
Talking about her treatment, Zuhour said: "The nurses, therapists and doctors never asked me to do anything uncomfortable; they would always ask me if I was ready before starting an exercise or therapy session. It was a cooperative process from beginning to end and, with their support, along with that of my brother, who was my most frequent visitor and thanks to God, I pulled through," she said.
"A person's life may suddenly change. However, he or she can return to be a productive member of society through organised multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary bio-psycho-social rehabilitation approach," said Dr Al Khayer.
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