Jacqueline Pope-Tarrence, Ph.D.

It’s not every day that an educator in the medical field has to experience something with which they are unfamiliar. Jacqueline Pope-Tarrence, Ph.D., an adjunct assistant professor at the UK College of Medicine at WKU, experienced just that.

Jacqueline underwent a successful lumbar fusion surgery, but slowly she began to have difficulty moving her left foot. It was determined that she had a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, in her leg. Jacqueline also developed a mild case of pneumonia, which contributed to her immobility. This series of unfortunate events lead to the loss of function in her lower limbs. She remained at the Medical Center for two weeks.

Near the end of those two weeks, discussions regarding her care turned toward transferring to SKY Rehab for her continued recovery.  As an educator in the field of medicine, Jacqueline had been aware of SKY Rehab. However, she did not fully know what inpatient rehabilitative care was and how SKY would play a part in her recovery process. She sought the guidance of friends and colleagues, who explained how the targeted therapies she would be receiving at SKY would be specifically designed to deal with her current physical condition.

Jacqueline transferred to SKY Rehab to begin her recovery. One of the biggest physical changes she recalls facing was her inability to go to the restroom on her own. Jacqueline explained, “Having to have someone help me to go to the restroom, having to slide on a board to get in and out of the bed and on and off of the toilet was just very overwhelming! You appreciate the little things and acknowledge that you really aren’t in control.”

As an educator, Jacqueline knows the importance of proper communication between a patient and their healthcare provider in order to build a solid relationship of trust. She found that trust in the staff at SKY. “I always had a lot of positive reinforcement and I even paid attention to how things were said,” Jacqueline recalled. “I appreciated the team philosophy and how members of staff not only interacted with one another but with other patients. I could see the impact that had on the patient experience.”

Upon completion of her inpatient stay, Jacqueline continued her recovery through the outpatient department at SKY. Over the next several months she continued to progress her therapies. She is now able to ambulate using a rolling walker and is working on conquering stairs. Jacqueline has been working hard to fulfill one of her long-term goals: climbing the stairs in her home so that she can return to her bedroom.

When asked how she would describe her experience to someone considering SKY for their recovery, Jacqueline responded, “you’re going to like the staff. They are very positive, they’re very upbeat, they are optimistic and I also think they are pretty real with you! If I ask a question I know they are going to be upfront and honest with me. As an optimistic realist, that’s important.”

It is motivation at the beginning of your recovery that drives you, but later on, it becomes determination and recognizing the smaller victories that will lead you to accomplish your recovery goals. These are all things that Jacqueline has learned during her recovery journey at SKY.