A Touch of Class

Advanced laser, massage therapies trigger successful recoveries.

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Madeline Bugeja

Few were happier to ring out the old year and ring in a new one this past January than Madeline Bugeja. A retired administrative assistant for a global insurance company now living in Spring Hill, 78-year-old Madeline aptly described her 2019 as a year to forget.

“My problems started in January, when I suffered a brain hemorrhage,” Madeline reveals. “The folks at Oak Hill Hospital picked up on it and immediately rushed me by ambulance to the hospital in Bayonet Point. That’s where I had brain surgery on January 6.

“I then spent the next six months recovering at a health care center in Brooksville, but about three days after finally returning home, I suffered a bad fall. I was rushed to the hospital yet again, and after that, I was sent to another rehab center.”

Despite all the months she spent in rehab, Madeline’s physical condition only worsened over time. As a result of the brain hemorrhage, she eventually lost most of the strength she once had in her right arm and leg, a condition known as hemiplegia.

“My leg was so weak that I could not get out of bed without help,” Madeline reports. “I couldn’t get out of a chair by myself or get in a car, much less drive a car. And my right arm was so weak that I couldn’t even pick up a pencil.

“I’m usually a very active person, but this kept me from doing anything. I even had to have the visiting nurses come in and help me, and then one day, a friend told me I should go see the people at Regional Rehab in Spring Hill.”

Madeline first visited Regional Rehab last September. That’s when she met Charles Donley, PT, whose initial evaluation of Madeline revealed more than the hemiplegia that came as result of her brain hemorrhage.

The people at Regional Rehab do great work…I recommend them in a heartbeat. – Madeline

“She also had pretty significant lymphedema, or swelling, in both lower extremities,” Charles notes. “The bigger issue, though, was the weakness from the hemorrhage, because that can prevent nerve cells from communicating with other parts of the body.

“That disrupts normal function, so what we had to do was restore that communication and function, so what I recommended was a combination of treatments using the Class IV deep tissue therapeutic laser and the HIVAMAT® 200 deep oscillation therapy device.

Dynamic Duo

Photos by Jordan Pysz.

Robert Hilker

The Class IV laser uses specific wavelengths of red and near-infrared light to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal cells. It works by releasing nitric oxide, which removes congestion and swelling, promotes rapid healing and reduces discomfort while increasing blood circulation.

The HIVAMAT 200 creates gentle impulses that relax muscles and penetrate all tissue layers to remove the inflammatory byproducts from the cells that cause pain but are not part of the cells’ natural makeup.

“The Class IV laser in particular is an impressive and versatile tool,” says Charles, the director of Regional Rehab. “We use it for burn and wound patients as well as for all the different musculoskeletal issues we typically treat such as acute, chronic and postoperative pain.”

The Class IV laser and HIVAMAT 200 treatments are part of a protocol that typically includes manual therapy consisting of stretching and balance exercises. Together, those treatments finally got Madeline up and moving independently again.

“The people at Regional Rehab did more for me in three months than all the other rehab facilities did in more than six,” she says. “Now, I can zip in and out of bed, walk around the store and even drive myself to the store. They really know what they’re doing there.”

Robert Hilker, 82, doesn’t argue that point. After reading about the practice in Florida Health Care News, he visited Regional Rehab last December following treatment for a hematoma that damaged the nerves in his left hip.

“The damage to the nerves caused my left leg to feel numb and weak, and there was a lot of pain, too,” Robert explains. “The pain is like a bunch of constant bee stings, and it’s had me pretty much living in a lift chair for almost a year.”

The Road to Recovery

As he did with Madeline, Charles recommended treatment using the Class IV laser and HIVAMAT 200. Robert worked most closely with Glenn Guterman, PTA, and that work has put Robert on a path to what he hopes will be a full recovery.

“Glenn is great,” Robert exudes. “He spent a lot of time with me and worked really hard with me. I know that I’m a very unusual case, because, quite frankly, I don’t think a lot of the doctors knew what to do with me.

“I’ve been told that some of the damaged nerves will never grow back, so right now, there is still some numbness and weakness, but the treatment I received from Regional Rehab has helped quite a bit. There has definitely been some improvement.

“The pain I was experiencing isn’t as bad as it was, and it’s actually changed locations, so something is happening with those nerves. I have good days and bad days, but I still have more rehab to do, and I’m expecting I will continue to feel better.”

He already is better. Robert’s lift chair is now a thing of the past and he is now ambulatory with the assistance of a walker. He can exercise independently and is once again self-sufficient at home with activities of daily living and only requires minimal assistance with household upkeep.

Renewed Hope

Like Robert, Madeline once thought all hope of feeling better was lost, but visiting Regional Rehab changed all that. The treatment she received there helped restore mobility and strength in her right arm and leg and eliminated the swelling in both legs.

Madeline is now in the maintenance phase of her rehab program. She says she “religiously” performs the home exercises Charles showed her and doubts that she’d be feeling as well as she does had her friend not told her about the practice.

“That was one of the best things my friend ever did for me,” she states. “The people at Regional Rehab do great work, and they’re so compassionate. You can absolutely feel the compassion in that building; that’s how caring everyone is there.

“I could not be more pleased with what they’ve done for me, and I recommend them in a heartbeat to anyone. That place is fantastic. Honest to goodness, the people and the treatments – they’re all great.”

Print This Article
    • Regional Rehab

      Regional Rehab's ultimate goal is to enrich people’s lives by helping to enhance their physical and mental well being, creating an atmosphere of quality care and optimum healing with a loving touch.... Read More

    • Charles C. Donley, PT

      Charles C. Donley, PT, is director of Regional Rehab. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy, graduating cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh, PA. He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and Fl... Read More

    • Paul Ernandes, PT, PhD

      Paul Ernandes, PT, PhD, joined the Regional Rehab team in April 2018. His arrival comes after he spent nearly a year serving as the director of physical therapy at Vitality Physicians and Rehab. Paul previously worked for ten years as the dire... Read More