Volume LVIIIFebruary 2011Number 1

DDGM Receives Encouragement & Support to
Achieve Successful Rehabilitation at Masonic Village

Bro. Noble Johnson, District Deputy Grand Master for the 60th Masonic District, keeps a busy schedule with a full-time job and a full-time dedication to serving his lodge and district, not to mention a 2-year-old grandson who needs quality time with his grandfather.

In September, without any warning, a stroke stopped him in his tracks. It affected the entire right side of his body from his face down to his leg. He lost use of his hand and leg, and required the assistance of two aides to use the bathroom.

Through it all, one of the easiest decisions Bro. Noble and his wife, Althea, had to make was choosing to receive rehabilitation services at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. "I knew that is where I wanted to go, and the therapists at the hospital said it's one of the best," Bro. Noble said. "They have an outstanding reputation." It also helped that the Johnsons live in Elizabethtown, about a mile from Masonic Village.

After spending four days in the hospital, Bro. Noble transferred to Masonic Village on a Friday. When Althea pulled up to the entrance of the Masonic Health Care Center, several staff met her and assisted Bro. Noble up to his private suite in the rehabilitation services area. His room included a bed, bedside table, lounge chair, refrigerator with freezer, television, phone, closet and full-sized bathroom - the accommodations now provided to all patients receiving short-term orthopedic rehabilitation services.

"We couldn't ask for a better place - a clean room, private, with a nice sized bathroom," Althea said.

"The food was excellent," Bro. Noble said," and they give you the right amount."

Staff evaluated him that evening, and Bro. Noble started physical and occupational therapy on Saturday and speech therapy on Sunday. He received at least one type of rehabilitation services seven days a week. Speech therapy was especially difficult since Bro. Noble had to re-learn how to swallow and speak.

"My therapist had to explain the placement of my tongue," he said, "something you don't typically think about. I practiced by saying the Pledge of Allegiance and tongue twisters."

His rehabilitation progressed ahead of schedule. He even asked for an extra session, 1 ½ hours a day, to speed up the process. "I wanted to be there," he said. "If the therapist said I could do it, I believed I could. It helped that they were tough on me, too."

Throughout his stay, he and Althea were impressed with the communication between the medical staff and therapists.

"There is a sense of respect," Althea said. "They're friendly and personal, and they treat everyone the same. They called the insurance company, sent his records to the next rehabilitation facility and even helped with obtaining a handicap parking pass. They can speak for the patients, and they go to bat for them."

"Everyone was encouraging and supportive, including housekeeping, social services and the IT [information technology] department," Bro. Noble said. "I can't say enough. It's the best there is, of what I know."

"It was a very good experience for us," Althea said. "We appreciate the friendships."

Once Bro. Noble was able to walk, insurance no longer covered inpatient rehabilitation services, and he returned home after four weeks. Althea drives him to outpatient therapy three days a week in Lancaster, and he continues his rehabilitation exercises at home. Staff at his new rehabilitation facility were happy to have him since his treatment at Masonic Village was so advanced.

Bro. Noble has not allowed the stroke to slow him down. During his rehabilitation, he continued to work on his lodge and district responsibilities on his laptop, thanks to the IT department connecting him to the wireless internet within the Masonic Health Care Center. He has attended lodge meetings and in December, was present for the ground breaking of a new Masonic Temple in Lebanon.

Inspired by the care he received, Bro. Noble encouraged his lodge, Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown, to make a contribution to Masonic Village's Rehabilitation Services. The lodge donated $3,000 toward, among other items, a video camera to enable patients to see their progression and an electronic stimulation machine which stimulates muscles to assist patients with walking and standing. "Seeing how far you've come can be the biggest motivator of all," Bro. Noble said.

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