Left to right: Claudia Castano, physical therapist assistant; Aubrey Taylor, wound care nurse; Krista Lawson; Amanda Brenizer, unit manager; Eileen Nudd, occupational therapist assistant; and Lydia Sandberg, social services director

Krista Lawson is finally walking again after several months of health issues that kept her off her feet.


It all started in August 2018 when a surgery went wrong, leaving Lawson with an incision all the way across her belly that became infected at both ends.


Lawson developed MRSA and two other types of infection, and at one point even had pneumonia. The doctors thought for about two weeks that she might not make it. She had eight surgeries in three months, going back and forth in Chattanooga, Tennessee, between Erlanger Hospital and Kindred Hospital, where she received extensive wound care and was able to get off the feeding tube she had been on at Erlanger.


With that progress, Lawson was able to take the next step in her recovery and be a little closer to home. She came to Life Care Center of Cleveland, Tennessee, on Jan. 2, 2019, for nursing and rehabilitation. She was determined to do everything she could to get better and go home to her spouse and cat.


“I couldn’t even lift my foot up when I got here,” said Lawson. “You don’t always realize how much you take for granted.”


“When she came here, we had to do in-bed exercises for about two months,” shared Eileen Nudd, occupational therapist assistant. “We started with just washing her face.”


Physical and occupational therapists worked with Lawson to increase her strength, mobility and ability to take care of herself. Along the way, her faith and determination spurred her on to progress.


“Everything we tried to do with her, she exceeded,” said Claudia Castano, physical therapist assistant. “She always said, ‘I’m not so sure, but I’ll try.’ And now, it’s amazing what she’s doing.”


Lawson started reaching milestones, and each one helped her feel more like herself and encouraged her to continue her progress. Sitting up in bed was one such milestone, as well as dressing herself and finally getting to the point where she could start exercises in the therapy gym. She mastered the parallel bars quickly and began practicing walking with a walker and managing steps.


The nursing and wound care teams were also pivotal to Lawson’s recovery.


“Krista had two large abdominal wounds that measured 26 centimeters long by 10 centimeters wide by 7 centimeters deep and 23 centimeters long by 7 centimeters wide by 6 centimeters deep,” said Chad Grisham, director of rehab. “They were two of the largest wounds I had ever seen, and our nursing team did a great job helping them to heal. They have now nearly resolved.”


Lawson is much more independent, up and about and walking up to 156 feet with a walker. She is even close to her goal of going home.


“It’s been an emotional journey,” Lawson said. “Everybody here has helped me, and I feel like I have all these new friends. I know that God has brought me through.”