When Habib Mohamed Omar arrived at Amana Healthcare (Al Ain) in January 2015 as new patient, he was met with great excitement by all the staff. He was referred to our facility in Abu Dhabi after two months of undergoing a lifesaving open heart surgery. On the very first meeting, the staff realized that Habib was a long way from his former self, but he still had the sparkle of determination and enough love for life to participate in rehabilitation activities with the aim of returning home. It was obvious from the close support of his wife and family that Habib was much loved and that there was significant encouragement from his family to help him in his journey of recovery.

On arrival Habib was fully dependent on a mechanical ventilator to assist him to breathe and around his bedside was a collection of various monitors that kept a close eye on Habib’s cardiac function. Initially his ability to communicate was minimal and through hand/facial gestures only, due to his ventilated status. Habib was unable to eat and so he was being fed via a tube attached directly into his stomach. He had also become very weak in his arms and legs due to a long period of inactivity. He required the assistance of 2-3 staff members and special machines/equipment for pressure relief and to assist him with all his daily needs such as bathing, dressing and going to the bathroom. Habib’s initial recovery was slow and he continued to suffer with ongoing musculoskeletal/pressure area pain and fatigue. He was being closely monitored by his nurse on a 24 hour basis who was in turn being closely monitored by his always vigilant wife, Luda.

As his medical condition improved over time, he began to gradually increase his participation in active rehabilitation with Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Respiratory therapists and the Dietitian, who were all available on a 24-hour basis by exceptional Nursing and Medical overview and care.

Habib’s Respiratory and Speech and Language therapy sessions concentrated on strengthening his breathing muscles, using speaking valves in his ventilator circuit and strengthening his swallowing ability. Within 6 weeks Habib was able to eat by himself and was able to have his feeding tube removed. Habib initially could only speak when he had a speaking valve placed in his ventilator circuit which was only for very short periods. Gradually, as he got stronger, these times were increased and eventually he was able to have time off the ventilator. And then finally after 5 months, he was able to have a very small tracheostomy tube that allowed to talk freely and he was even known to break into song during some therapy sessions! It took 6 months to completely wean Habib off the invasive mechanical ventilation as he was able to breathe on his own without getting tired.

His Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy sessions involved encouraging Habib to start using his weakened muscles again as he had been bed bound for many weeks. Therapy initially consisted of just trying to sit him upright, which on the first day lasted 30 seconds before he collapsed into their arms with tiredness. It took 6 months of hard work for Habib to be able manage most of his daily activities with minimal assistance. He began to be able to pull himself up into standing position using a rotating stand to transfer to himself to a power wheelchair for him to get around in independently.

As his intensive therapy continued Habib started to show signs of improved communication and staff could get a real insight into his fabulous personality which was warm and quite humorous and somewhat mischievous. Staff were also treated to his many interesting stories from his past including details of his work, family, travels and also his origins in Yemen. He thoroughly enjoyed socialising with other residents, staff and family within Amana, in the Majilis and at events such as Iftar and Eid celebrations. Initially, he was hesitant to leave the facility and go out into the community in his wheelchair while still requiring medical assistance. But he eventually did agree after about 4-5 months and took his wife out to lunch at a local restaurant! This gave Habib great confidence and motivation and he started choosing and attending purposeful outings to increase his participation in activities from his life prior to his surgery.

His recovery from the very first day he arrived in Amana has been remarkable! After 6 months receiving slower stream rehabilitation in Amana Healthcare (Al Ain), Habib was transferred for higher intensity rehabilitation in our Abu Dhabi facility for him to continue his progress and take another step towards returning home. He loved the hydrotherapy pool there which helped him continue to make great progress, for which we are absolutely delighted! He has now transitioned back into his home, however the staff at Amana Healthcare miss him and his family dearly.

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