Paula Montana

Early one morning, while attempting to get out of bed, Paula Montana tripped over one of her dogs. Paula fell hard to the floor and hit her head aggressively on the floor. Initially, she only experienced a massive egg on her forehead. But as a result of the blood thinners Paula was on, her injury escalated significantly.

Paula described the growing lump as “a balloon being blown up in my head.” She attempted to treat the swelling at home by icing the injury and lying back down.

After some time, Paula felt the injury had improved, so she went back about her daily life. A week later, Paula was taking her garbage cans to the curb when she lost her footing, fell, and hit her head once more.

Paula lay there, unable to get herself back up. She attempted to flag down passersby, but no one saw her. Finally, Paula’s neighbor came out to take his garbage cans out and saw her lying on the ground. He failed to assist her get back up and called 911.

An ambulance rushed Paula to Community Regional Medical Center. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury causing increased intracranial pressure. Paula required emergency surgery, undergoing a craniotomy. Unable to walk and facing residual cognitive issues, Paula needed inpatient rehabilitation to address her deficits.

At the recommendation of her family, Paula transferred to San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital. She arrived at SJVRH unable to get out of bed or complete any of her activities of daily living independently. But at SJVRH, everything changed for Paula as she made significant progress in her recovery.

“The staff, housekeepers…everyone from A-to-Z has just been so kind, so loving, so helpful, so eager to please. They are just excellent,” Paula said of the staff at the inpatient rehabilitation hospital.

“I’ve not had one issue. Everything has just been great.”

Upon completion of her inpatient stay, Paula could complete most of her daily tasks and walk with the assistance of a walker. She met her goal of returning home safely to her four dogs and will continue advancing her recovery through SJVRH’s outpatient therapy program.

“To those considering acute rehabilitation, if they have a bed, jump on it!” Paula said. “I feel like I owe so much to everyone here. I just had the best therapists, and the nurses are excellent!”