Coman Gibson, 74, of Letcher County, was admitted to Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) on Feb. 6, after being referred for a foot issue.

“He got to where he couldn’t walk,” said Gibson’s son, Coman Ray Gibson. “We took him to several places, but nowhere could figure it out, so they recommended PMC. We brought him here and found that he had a blocked artery in his leg.”

Before the PMC heart team could proceed with treatment on Coman’s leg issue, they wanted to ensure his heart was strong enough.

“When they checked his heart, they found it was in bad shape,” added Coman Ray. “He had an infection on his heart valve, so they began to focus on his heart. They performed open heart surgery, did a bypass, and once they figured out his heart, his leg had gotten worse. They had to amputate his leg from above his knee.”

During Coman’s stay, he was a patient in many PMC departments including our Heart Institute, intensive care unit, an inpatient unit and our Inpatient Rehabilitation (IPR) hospital.

When asked how the PMC staff treated Coman and his family, Coman Ray replied, “We can’t go wrong bragging on any of them.”

Both, Coman and Coman Ray, stated PMC saved Coman’s life.

“They don’t know if the heart caused the infection or the leg, but if they hadn’t done the operation, he would have died,” said Coman Ray.

“They saved my life,” Coman added.

There was one unit in particular that Coman wanted to praise.

“They (IPR) bend over backwards to help me,” he said. “If you need anything, they’re right there for you. My stay here (IPR hospital) has been great and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else; everything is good around this place.”

During Coman’s IPR stay, PMC Occupational Therapist Rachelle Glass cared for him and commented on his condition when he was admitted to the unit in late February.

“On Coman’s first day in IPR, he had to be totally assisted with all functional skills including dressing, bathing and feeding himself due to weakness, bilateral hand incoordination, decreased arm strength and poor trunk control,” she said. “He was unable to sit on the edge of the mat in the gym without falling to the side or falling backwards. In bed, he could not roll side-to-side and was on sternal precautions due to a heart procedure that prevented him from pulling on the side rails of the bed to assist with turning or pushing himself on the wheelchair armrests to stand.”

But as time progressed, so did Coman’s health.

“After two and a half weeks of occupational and physical therapy, three hours a day, Coman headed home with his family,” Glass added. “He is dressing, bathing and feeding himself again. In a few short months, he’ll return for prosthetic training and, both, his occupational and physical therapists have no doubt he will succeed with walking once he gets his prosthesis and is off sternal precautions.”

The Gibson’s wanted to say thank you to Glass.

“She pushes me,” said Coman. “She gets all she can and more out of me. There’s nothing to say about her, but good and she’s a wonderful woman.”

Glass states that Coman’s attitude was a big contribution to his amazing progress.

“Coman is one of the hardest working, self-driven individuals we have had the pleasure to work with,” she said. “IPR gives people their life back!”

Coman also wanted to add that his wife of 54 years, Mary, has helped him through this medical scare.

“When I first saw her, I said I was going to marry her and I did,” he said. “She has helped me, and I wouldn’t be here without her.”

Coman stated his family was an inspiration to his improvement.

“My goal is to get better and take my family to Walt Disney World,” said Coman. “If you want to get better, you have to be determined to get well and do your part too.”

In conclusion, Coman repeatedly stated, “If you want to get well, this (PMC) is the place to come.”

Coman and Mary have two children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

For more information on the rehabilitation services at PMC, call 606-218-3500.