Winston Williams

Bringing home baby...plus mommy anddaddy

Patient returns home to be with wife, newborn baby for first time after all three were hospitalized at Southern Regional

Mr. Williams says goodbye before being discharged from The Rehabilitation Center

On a cold day in February, truck driver Winston Williams was traveling from Springfield, Missouri to Macon, Ga. when he came across two other trucks that had collided on the road ahead of him. The conditions were rough - snow was falling all around and there was ice on the road.

"My truck couldn't stop," Williams said. "I was only going 15 MPH but the truck was sliding like a bobsled on ice. I kept thinking, 'God help me' and I braced for impact."

Williams was transported to a hospital nearby in Alabama and then to another in Mississippi, where he had surgeries on both legs. After the surgeries, Williams' wife began searching for a rehabilitation unit where her husband could recover closer to home and she selected The Rehabilitation Center at Southern Regional.

"When I got here, the only thing I could move was my head," Williams said. "Dr. Foster was the first person that came to me. He was there seven days a week. Even my family doctor doesn't do what Dr. Foster did. I had to learn what to do to take care of myself all over again."

Just over a week into his stay at The Rehabilitation Center, Williams' wife gave birth to their daughter in the Women's Life Center at Southern Regional. Unit Assistant Antoinette Kimball took Williams to the Women's Life Center so he could be with his family.

"I don't think if someone gave me $1 million, it would be as good as what Antoinette did for us," Williams said.

Complications Arise

Sadly, the Williams' newborn daughter wasn't breathing or feeding properly after birth and had acid reflux. It was decided she should stay at Southern Regional for some time until she got better. Not long after that, Williams' wife came to visit her husband at The Rehabilitation Center when she began feeling ill and a nurse asked to take her blood pressure. The nurse discovered Mrs. Williams' blood pressure was elevated to the point she was at risk for a stroke and she was admitted through the emergency room.

"I was very, very depressed during that time not being able to take care of my family," Williams said. "Vivian, the unit secretary for The Rehabilitation Center, volunteered her time to bring me to see my daughter. Every day, there wasn't one rehab employee who didn't ask about my daughter and wife."

Eventually, both mom and baby got better and went home. Williams continued his journey to recovery with The Rehabilitation Center at Southern Regional, learning how to care for himself and preparing for his transition home.

"Every night at 9:30 p.m., the overnight nurse Jessica [Nogal] brought me towels, two wash cloths and always filled the water up to level four," Williams said. "She always gave me the things I needed to care for myself and set aside clothes for the next day. It was like she knew me for years."

Going Home

Finally, it was determined Williams was ready to return home - ahead of schedule in early March.

"I wanted to go home but I was definitely going to miss everyone," Williams said. "Medicine wasn't enough for me. If you're happy, it helps your body heal faster. These employees took care of me and encouraged me to remain positive - this became my home away from home."

"Imagine going to a hotel," Williams said. "No matter how pretty it is, if the staff is sulky, your experience isn't going to be any good. You might not find the fancy furniture here but the attitude of the employees is one of ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen."

Williams was discharged from Southern Regional and went home with his wife and daughter for the first time on March 8, 2011. Today, Williams continues his therapy in outpatient rehabilitation at Southern Regional three times a week. His daughter, who has been affectionately nicknamed by The Rehabilitation Center staff as the "Rehab Baby," remains healthy and happy to be home...with both mommy anddaddy.