A Recovery Close to Home

Columnist Gab Bonesso reflects on her mother's recovery at a local rehabilitation center.


In a a few weeks ago, I mentioned that my mother recently underwent hip-replacement surgery. I wrote about the that arose after surgery and the scare she gave me and my siblings. At the end of the column, I wrote that she was recovering steadily.

I’m glad to report that she is continuing to improve her health and her hip mobility. She is actually walking better now, a mere three weeks after surgery, than she had in the entire year prior to the surgery.

I must give credit where credit is due. 

Naturally, a huge part of my mother’s recovery is her own will, hard work and determination. I would never take that away from my mom.

A huge debt of gratitude and praise, however, is owed to Ohio Valley Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center and staff.

Following my mother’s complications in a big-city hospital—which shall not be named in this column—Mom was deemed to be “unfit” to return to our home. Due to her medical problems, she received no physical rehab in the first week after surgery, which is required before she could return home.

Because I don't own a car, I really wanted my mother’s rehab facility to be close to our home in Robinson Township so I could see her every day.

A social worker from the hospital where my mother underwent surgery informed me about the rehab center at Ohio Valley Hospital in McKees Rocks, about 10 minutes from our house.

The social worker explained that Ohio Valley Rehabilitation is one of the best rehabs in the area and that it's a competitive process to be accepted for care there.

She explained that my mother would have to pass a physical therapy test in order to get into Ohio Valley's program. She was skeptical about Mom getting in, considering that Mom hadn’t done any physical therapy to that point.

Mom and I had about an hour to prepare for the rehab test. I gave her a mix of speeches from classic cinema, ranging from Rocky to Animal House. “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” 

Through nothing but sheer will and faith, Mom passed the rehab test, surprising everyone including herself.

To describe a rehabilitation center as heaven would be too dramatic even for me. However, the rehab at Ohio Valley Hospital was like a scene from a really sweet, black and white, Frank Capra movie. Honestly, I didn’t think people that nice still existed in the World.

My mother was greeted by the most empathetic, friendly staff I've ever met. The therapists are tough, yet compassionate. The nurses are confident, yet kind. The assistant nurses are lovely and always prepared to help. Even the woman from the cafeteria who brought in my mother’s menu for the day always did something special to my mother’s plate to make her smile.

Who knew that there was a topnotch rehabilitation center this close to our home? 

The best part? It also offers outpatient rehabilitation. So in a month, after receiving rehab at home, Mom can return to her friends. Yes, after a week together, Mom found another community within her existing community. She fully intends on bringing her new friends a feast to celebrate once she’s fully recovered.

It’s funny. When Mom was first approached about going to a rehab facility after surgery, her response was, “No, no, no”. Now she’s telling everyone who needs rehab: “Go, go, go”.

Kudos to Ohio Valley Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center. You made believers out of the Bonessos!

Most of all, thanks for giving us back our Mom!


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