Rehab patients hope to be home for holidays

John Kendall is almost done with rehab from an October car crash.
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Patients in rehabilitation facilities are working hard to make it home for the holidays.

For one south Indianapolis couple, months of therapy is soon coming to an end. Nearly two months after a driver slammed into him, 78-year-old John Kendall is walking again.

It has been a long road in rehab.

"When he first got here, I did an evaluation, a physical therapy evaluation, and I was reading the notes and it was, like, 'Wow. What are we going to do with this guy?' He broke so many bones in the body, no weight bearing, couldn't put any weight on the legs," said physical therapist Lee Perena.

Part of Kendall's rehab included electrical muscle stimulation. The impulses mimic action coming from the central nervous system and cause muscles to contract and help prevent atrophy.

"It's a long time from October 1 to now and, at first, it was tough, because I said 'Why me?' but I got over that," Kendall said. "Now I have to get to work."

His wife, Janet, suffered minor injuries in the accident and did outpatient therapy alongside John, while he stayed at Spring Mill Meadows and rehabbed religiously.

"I know the limberer I get, the better I feel," John said.

"She says, 'I want him to go home before Christmas,' I said, 'Well, we have to work on this stuff before he can go home and here we are. They work so hard, they are close to going home," Perena said.

In fact, the couple just learned John has recovered enough to move back home this week.

"She already has a party planned Sunday," John laughed. "This coming Sunday, the 23rd."

"I'm thankful that he's alive. You know, I felt this is the worst thing that has ever happened to us in our lives and I felt so sorry for myself and for him until after what happened in Connecticut and then I thought how fortunate we were that we survived," Janet said.

Members of the Moving Forward rehab team are going to the couple's home on the south side Tuesday to make sure it's safe for John, setting throw rugs aside and such, to minimize the chance of him falling and being reinjured.