Anna Hayes was the first patient to receive outpatient aquatic therapy at St. Anthony’s 15 years ago when the indoor pool was built. She, like many other patients, also inspired the current weekly Aquatic Wellness Class. Many patients wanted to continue enjoying the many benefits of aquatic therapy even after their rehabilitation regime was done.
“It really was a blessing!” says Anna.
-Anna and other patients at St. Anthony’s Rehabilitation Hospital ca. 2010
Anna started her journey with Catholic Health Services in 2005, after years of pain and land physical therapy that did not help her. She remembers a time when she needed compresses after therapy sessions to be able to make it home. After her doctor recommended aquatic therapy, she stumbled upon St. Anthony’s newly built indoor pool and met Mary Kay Piechura, certified aquatic therapist. They became instant friends and remain close friends till this day.
Aquatic therapy changed Anna’s life.
She felt the difference right away; every session felt invigorating while easing her pain. When her condition worsened and Anna required surgery for severe spinal stenosis, she refused to go to any other rehab facility and returned to St. Anthony’s for inpatient therapy. She later moved into St. John’s Skilled Nursing Facility when she wasn’t quite ready to go home yet and needed to continue treatment. Among her best memories of her time in CHS facilities, Anna remembers spending Christmas at St. John’s and feeling right at home. “If you’re going to be sick, this is the place to be,” says Anna. She will never forget the loving care and attention she received daily from the CHS staff
Mary Kay was the first Aquatic Therapist at St. Anthony’s when the pool was inaugurated in 2005. Once she started working in the pool, she never got out. She dedicated the rest of her career as a therapist to aquatic rehab after witnessing the great impact it had on Anna and many other patients over the years. She was able to achieve results she would’ve never seen with traditional land therapy and that was all the encouragement she needed.
-Anna Hayes and former therapist Mary Kay
Anna is currently receiving therapy at home because she no longer drives and can’t make it to St. Anthony’s for her sessions and Mary Kay is now retired, but they remain friends and see each other often.