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Runnymede's first Active Rehab patient resumes his life

John with his father Lawrence after discharge from Runnymede

Lawrence Wamboldt (right) with his son, John. Lawrence was the first patient admitted to Runnymede’s new Active Rehab program, which helped him recover from a serious injury.

The first patient in Runnymede Healthcare Centre’s new Active Rehabilitation Program was anxious to get home after a long healthcare journey. Luckily, he landed at Runnymede at the perfect time to access the intensive short-term rehabilitation he needed to get back to his life.

Lawrence Wamboldt, 75, was on his last day of family vacation in Cayo Coco, Cuba, when a nasty fall sent him to the resort’s medical station where a nurse wrapped his knee so he could fly home that night.

"The pain brought me to tears," Lawrence said.

His son John picked Lawrence up from the airport at midnight and took him straight to acute care for an x-ray. The Wamboldts were convinced Lawrence’s knee was broken, but despite it swelling up to three times its size, the scan showed nothing.

Lawrence moved into John’s guest bedroom, where he and his family tried to help him recover. Over two weeks, Lawrence’s health problems worsened. He started to lose feeling in his hands. His fingers were curling and he couldn’t hold a fork to eat.

After several tests and hospital trips, Lawrence had his answer: he had injured his neck when he fell in Cuba and he required emergency surgery to fuse his cervical vertebrae. The surgery was a success, but Lawrence needed rehabilitation to continue his recovery. As luck would have it, Runnymede had just launched the Active Rehab Program to meet the needs of patients like him and Lawrence was transferred from acute care to Runnymede as its very first Active Rehab patient.

Rehabilitation services are in high demand, especially in the Greater Toronto Area where there is a shortage of beds to address this critical need. Active Rehab provides intensive, short-term therapy that restores mobility in patients following illness, injury or surgery. It helps patients develop the skills and understanding they need before returning home. Launched in February, Active Rehab quickly increases patients’ abilities so they can transition to the community where they continue their journey with the appropriate community supports in place.

Lawrence worked with his therapists multiple times a day to regain function and would jump at the chance for extra therapy – anything to help his progress. "I was game for anything," Lawrence said. "All I wanted was to get better, and you helped me get there. You listened to me and pushed me to do more."

Lawrence’s family is grateful he had the chance to be the first person to experience Runnymede’s new rehab program. "Our goal is for him to get back to being independent. He hates asking for help," said John. "This is the best place for him. He’s come so far."

After spending just over two weeks at Runnymede, Lawrence was finally able to return to his own home. He is confident he can continue to build on the progress he’s made at Runnymede when he goes home. "I’m grateful for what my therapists taught me and I’m going to do everything they said," he said. "I know what I need to do to keep in shape. I have everything ready to go and I’m going to continue with my exercises."