Double Knee Replacement Surgery Can’t Keep This Rehab Patient Down!
The Ms. Senior America 2016 Pageant in Atlantic City is coming up on October 18, and nothing is going to stop Gladys Kovarcik Nilsen, with her double knee replacement, from performing. And we mean nothing!
Nilsen, 77, an actress, singer, and perhaps most notably, Ms. Hawaii Senior America 2014, has the time and the will. This mother of 6 children and 11 grandchildren was seen recently doing the hula at The Nathaniel Witherell, after a physical therapy session.
Nilsen suffered tremendously from osteoarthritis in her knees for years. After exercise and injections failed, she came to the conclusion that she needed double knee replacement surgery.
A native of Santiago, Chile, Nilsen, who also has lived in Peru, Belgium, Hawaii, and now White Plains, did a thorough search of the New York metropolitan area and chose to have surgery at Greenwich Hospital, and short-term rehabilitation at the Witherell.
Describing her first rehab at the Witherell in February, Nilsen says, “I was there for almost a month and they gave me the best attention and comfort I could get.” Thrilled with her treatment, she returned here this summer after her second knee surgery.
“It was like returning to my second home,” she says. “I already knew all of the personnel, and one by one they each gave me the sincerest welcome. That was so important to me – to feel like part of the group.”
Nilsen notes that while the care and compassion she received from everyone was “incredible,” what also impressed her were all of the activities provided by Witherell’s recreation department. In a letter she sent to the Witherell, she wrote:
“I want to say thank you to all of the personnel – doctors, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, aids, the people in the kitchen making delicious food, the cleaning people, and the entertainers who lifted our spirit with music. I loved the art history classes, religious stories, casino, and picnics in the Rose Garden, ice cream, and outdoor music.
A special thank you to my physical therapist, Chocolate, for her professionalism and dedication to helping me walk again. And thanks to Mary Bruce, the Therapeutic Recreation Director. She is the ‘alma mater’ of The Nathaniel Witherell.”
Nilsen is so attached to the Witherell that she visits three times a week to do outpatient physical therapy here, then remains afterwards for the recreational activities, whether there’s a singer, musician or lecturer. The other day she even joined the entertainers, coming on stage to sing and do the hula dance during Witherell’s end of summer luau/beach party.
Get ready Atlantic City, Nilsen is on her way, and you better be prepared!