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Miracle recoveryRichardton rancher survives near-fatal head injury
Diede’s jaw was wired shut. He couldn’t speak, had swallowing difficulties and required a feeding tube. Two people had to help him walk.
“The communication involved with the team approach is critical to successfully achieving common goals,” Dr. Eggert said.
Marjorie Johnson, speech/language pathologist, focused on Diede’s speech, memory and thinking problems. “He couldn’t remember what he had done 30 minutes ago. We taught him strategies to help with remembering and organizing,” she said.
Diede’s speech was unintelligible when he began therapy. “After working with him, his speech improved so we were able to understand him, even with his jaw wired shut,” Johnson said.
In addition to speech therapy, Diede’s daily routine included physical therapy to assist him in strengthening his left side and learn to walk independently. Occupational therapists helped him relearn activities of daily living on Easy Street, Sanford Health’s innovative simulated community designed to help patients learn to function in real-life situations without leaving the hospital.
On May 14, Diede walked out of Sanford Health.
Diede spent the first few weeks with family before returning home, where his son Dillon was now living and running the ranch.
“I couldn’t drive those first months,” Diede said. “I had to write down everything I did during the day, including eating.”
Diede still keeps a daily log and uses lists whenever he goes shopping. He is driving again and working one day a week at a Dickinson sale barn. His cell phone is always with him if he needs assistance.
“I’m back to horseback riding,” he said. “My left side is still weak, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to rope calves again. It’s hard when your brain wants to do something, and you can’t.”
He’s resumed some chores but is much slower and has to make certain he doesn’t forget anything. “I’m not 100 percent, but I know I’m getting better,” he said.
Diede enjoys stopping by the Sanford Rehabilitation Center to visit. “It’s worth the trip to see the smiles on their faces when they see me,” he said.
Click here for more information on Sanford Rehabilitation Center or call (701) 323-6021.