Raymond's story

Raymond sitting in a wheelchair wearing a mask

Raymond Santos led a hectic life. As a full-time graphic designer with two young children, his spare time was dedicated to his family and running.

His life changed suddenly when the Elmwood Park resident went out to do errands – and was hit by a car. “I was getting out of my car and waiting to cross when I got struck by another car,” he explained. “I was pinned between both cars.”

He was quickly taken to Hackensack University Medical Center. Testing, including an X-ray and CT scan, unveiled multiple pelvic and hip fractures. While stabilized, his injuries presented a range of physical and functional challenges. He was "non-weight bearing" on both legs, unable to move or walk independently.

Determined to make the most of his recovery and return home to his children, he chose Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation – Saddle Brook due to its reputation and intensive therapy. “It is really well-known and highly rated. I did research on my own and it seemed like very aggressive therapy and I liked how the patients have to be active in their recovery,” he said.

His primary goal upon admission was to achieve greater independence and reduce dependence on his family members. His physician-led team of rehabilitation nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and other specialists formulated a plan tailored to his individual needs, aimed at restoring his independence.

Raymond thrived under the guidance of his physical and occupational therapists, dedicating three hours daily to the process. He found fulfillment in engaging in exercises targeting enhanced leg strength and mobility. “I liked activating my leg muscles again. I feel like I have more awareness in my legs.”

The gradual escalation of his therapists' exercises constantly challenged him during his rehabilitation. “The exercises were slowly progressed to be more challenging. I was always challenged which kept me motivated.”

“I feel confident that I achieved my goals,” he said. “I have been practicing the activities and I try to get better every day.”

After two weeks at Kessler, Raymond was looking forward to returning home to his family. “I can’t wait to play with my children and show them I am okay.” He planned to continue to work on being more independent through in-home therapy and transition to Kessler outpatient rehabilitation.

For anyone going through similar challenges, he emphasized the importance of rehabilitation therapy and listening to your care team. “You can’t do this program by yourself…listen to the therapists and go with the program that is offered to you,” he said. “Therapy will only benefit you.”