When he was 1,000 miles from home, Mike Duffy wasn’t sure
how or when he would get back.
His journey has been long in more
ways than one, but inpatient rehabilitation
put the destination within reach.
A harrowing motorcycle accident put
Duffy, 62, in the intensive care unit in
a Georgia hospital. Once he was
medically cleared to do so – nearly
a month later – Duffy made special
arrangements to fly back to Waterloo
and be admitted to UnityPoint Health
– Allen Hospital.
“We were walking through the
Allen parking lot about three weeks
before the accident and I told them,
if anything happens to me, then bring
me back here,” Duffy said.
After losing control of his motorcycle
on a Georgia highway, Duffy’s
injuries were numerous and serious.
There were fractures in his vertebrae,
arm and leg. There was trauma to his
abdomen, chest and head.
“In a lot of the pictures I’ve seen,
I could’ve bowed out and went the
other way,” said Duffy. “My oldest boy
said ‘it wasn’t your time, dad – you have
too much hell to raise.’ I told him to
not to tell everybody that.”
SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT
Everyone admitted to rehab has a
starting point. Duffy was unable to
walk, had trouble sitting up, needed
a nasogastric tube for necessary
nutrients and experienced severe
defects with his memory and
“He couldn’t do anything as far as
daily activities or mobility. Everything
was shot when he came to us,” said
Farid Manshadi, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Allen Hospital.
Everyone who is discharged from
rehab has made the necessary
progress to sufficiently function back
at home. While Duffy may not return
completely to the life he had before,
he will be the first to count his blessings
for Dr. Manshadi and the rest of
the rehab staff that helped him return
home two months after his accident.
“When he came in, he couldn’t even
walk three feet and was exhausted,
even sitting up in his chair was a
challenge for him,” said Duffy’s wife,
Judy. “From what he’s been through
to where he is today is amazing. The
team at Allen has been wonderful.”
LIFE IN THE HOSPITAL
Spending a month in the hospital in
order to get well was necessary, but
it meant missing a benefit event in
Duffy’s honor that was put on in his
hometown of Fairbank.
Instead, he joined the party via Skype
from his hospital room, and it signaled
a step forward in his recovery.
“It was a perfect example of how far
he’d come,” Judy Duffy said. “When
he first got here, he would ask if I was
coming in to see him, and I had to tell
him I had been here every day to see
him. When he went to Skype, he has
a passcode and needs to hit all sorts
of buttons to get in there. I showed
him one night, and he could do it
perfect two days later.”
Duffy’s progress was the result of
gait and balance training to get him
back on his feet, speech therapy
and activities to restore his memory
and organizational skills.
Another important part of inpatient
rehab is recreational and music therapy,
which involve activities that make life
in the hospital more enjoyable and
ultimately help patients integrate the
skills learned in treatment settings for
use in community environments.
All of it helped Duffy cover the final
couple miles to get back home.
“He walked out of our rehab unit,” said
Dr. Manshadi. “His swallowing ability
returned, his cognitive skills improved,
we worked on his walking and got him
up with a walker. It was pretty much a
“They understood how I was and how
I used to do things,” Duffy explained.
“Every day I would do something
progressive and more challenging. The
care of the staff – you feel that they