Struggle to Success: Montiniece's Victory Over Sickle Cell and Stroke
Montiniece, a 19-year-old sickle cell patient, has had a long and arduous struggle in learning to help manage her disease. But more than ten years after first coming to La Rabida, she and her mother Donna credit the nurses, doctors and therapists here for offering Montiniece a new lease on life.
In 2003 Montiniece stroked on both sides of her brain. She underwent brain surgery and had a separate surgery to remove her gall bladder. “I was told she wouldn’t be able to do anything since she couldn’t talk or eat or hold her head up,” remembers Donna. “She’d gone back to being a baby.”
Montiniece spent several months at La Rabida, undergoing intensive rehab. “The nurses were amazing. It was like she was their own child. I knew when I left for the night that she was in good hands.”
When Montiniece was discharged from the hospital in June of 2003, she still had a gastronomy tube, but Donna was still able to call La Rabida, day or night, to ask questions or seek advice. “They would talk me through everything at three in the afternoon or at three in the morning,” said Donna. “I don’t know of any other hospital that would do that.”
Montiniece has come a long way in her journey with sickle cell, surviving multiple strokes and thereby incurring a developmental delay. She recently graduated from high school and attended her senior prom.
Having a patient and nurturing rehabilitation team to support her has made all the difference, according to mom. “Montiniece stopped talking for a year and a half, and when she finally started talking again, her first word was ‘mommy.’ I thank all the people at this hospital for bringing my daughter back to me.”
“The nurses all had a hand in getting her to this point – I love them all,” Donna said. “You don’t see this kind of love and care in a lot of people, and it’s here at La Rabida. You see their hearts. From the janitors and security people to the therapists and doctors – everyone - that’s what keeps you coming back. They know my daughter – she’s family.”