Ray Gambrel

At age 68, Ray Gambrel lived a pretty independent life. He lived alone in his own apartment and got along well with his neighbors. Ray did his own grocery shopping and laundry with little effort and the aid of his rolling cart.

One summer day, Ray began experiencing horrible abdominal pain. He tried to wait it out, thinking he had food poisoning. But the pain worsened, and a neighbor friend took him to Audubon Hospital. There, tests provided a diagnosis. Ray didn’t have food poisoning but rather a perforated viscus, or tear of the colon.

As a result of the diagnosis, Ray was rushed into surgery. But the surgeon could find no definite point of perforation. After surgery, Ray admitted to the ICU and was seen by an intensivist. Ray’s time in the ICU was very intense. He underwent tests and required nutritional support, ventilator support, and placement of an ostomy.

Soon, Ray transferred to Kindred Hospital for continued care. He spent about two weeks there before deciding to transfer to Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital (SIRH) for more aggressive therapy. “Debra, the liaison, really helped me out.”

Ray arrived at SIRH very weak and experiencing issues with eating and swallowing. He began with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for a total of three hours per day. Within two weeks, Ray made such significant progress with his speech therapist, Haley, that he discharged from speech therapy. Ray also began to enjoy working out on the NuStep machine.

A wonderful patient, Ray enjoyed joking around with the staff at SIRH. He expressed his gratitude to everyone that helped with his care, especially Rachel (PT), Amber (OT), James (Nursing), and Dr. Aggarwal. Additionally, if it wasn’t for Ray’s friend and neighbor, Matt, he may not be with us any longer, so a big thank you to him!

Following almost two months of hospitalization, Ray finally returned home to his Louisville apartment. He plans to join his local gym to continue to get stronger, with a goal of returning to work in six-to-twelve months. Ray’s long-term goal is to set aside some money to move to Arkansas, where he can be closer to his sister and her family.

“As long as you do as hard as you can, and do as best as you can, you will succeed!” Ray noted.