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MRC News

ER nurse Tiffany Wilson of Brandon thought she knew what to expect after being diagnosed with a virulent form of breast cancer on April 12.

But the triple whammy of chemo, radiation and a double mastectomy ravaged her body in ways she never imagined. The normally active 48-year-old spent weeks barely able to move.

“I couldn’t do anything. I wasn’t even able to lie down flat,” she said. “It was like someone wrapped barb wire around my chest and was tightening it. It was unbearable, and I have a pretty high pain tolerance.”

Dr. Joan Hou has joined the staff of Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson as a brain injury specialist. She is also a member of the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Methodist Rehabilitation Center has announced Clinical and Support Service Employees of the Quarter for its Jackson hospital and external campuses.

The honorees include K.K. Ramsey of Madison, a nurse practitioner for MRC’s outpatient hospital clinic; Lisa Webster, a rehab tech for the spinal cord injury/orthopedic program; and Methodist Specialty Care Center employees Joyce Dempsey of Flowood, a registered nurse supervisor, and Mary Triplett of Carthage, a certified nursing assistant.

Wanda Brandon of Terry first tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 1.

Some nine months later, her recovery is still a work in progress.

“People think you have COVID and get over it,” said Brandon, 58, the former assistant director for child nutrition at Hinds County Schools. “But there is so much lingering stuff. It has changed my life.”

Brandon’s list of complications includes pain, insomnia, depression, fatigue, weakness, crippling nerve damage in her right leg---even hair loss.

On Aug. 6, first-day jitters were in full bloom at Northwest Rankin Middle School in Brandon.

Everyone from students to staff were getting their bearings in a new building. And the adjustment had to be particularly arduous for eighth-grade art teacher Juliette Collier.

It was her first day back at work since a severe case of COVID-19 nearly killed her. At one point, her mother, Weezie Polk, was told: “You need to come see her, she’s probably not going to make it.”

Methodist Rehabilitation Center has announced Clinical and Support Service Employees of the Quarter for its Jackson hospital and external campuses.

For the third quarter of 2021, the honorees include Julie Bronson of Terry, an RN shift manager for MRC’s brain injury program; Sarah Simpson of Pearl, a therapy tech for MRC’s spinal cord injury program; Patricia Oyarce of Ridgeland, a physical therapist at Methodist Outpatient Therapy in Ridgeland; and Torrey Lenford of Monroe, La., office coordinator for Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetics in Monroe, La.

When Stephen “Step” Morgan wrecked his bike at the Ridgeland Trails, he knew he was hurt. But he had no idea his life was forever changed.

“At the time of my crash, I was sitting there waiting for help, thinking I was going to have to preach from a stool in a cast that Sunday,” said Morgan, who is director of admissions at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson and preaches regularly at area Presbyterian churches. “I had no idea that my life was in danger.”

He might not make it.”

That’s what doctors told Andrea Blackwell of Smithdale as they rushed her 24-year-old son, John, to a Jackson hospital on March 18. His oxygen level was dangerously low, due to a severe case of COVID-19.

“I was bluish-gray, that’s what one of my ICU nurses told me,” John said. “Obviously, I don’t remember that.”

John spent 106 days in Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, much of that time on a respirator.

For over four years, Robert Schafhirt of Gulfport has been driving to Methodist Orthotics & Prosthetic’s Hattiesburg clinic for his prosthetic needs.

“We make a day trip of it,” said his wife, Sharon. “Your health is the most important thing, so we would have gone anywhere that’s right for him. And we know we’re with the right people.”

It was her first visit to Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s new Recovery After COVID Clinic.

Yet Stacie Smith felt sure that clinic physician Dr. Michael Montesi would understand her symptoms. She’d already met the family practitioner when both rehabbed from COVID-19 at MRC.

“It was my first day of therapy, and I realized he had COVID just as bad as me, and he was walking without a walker or cane—that was very inspiring,” said the Jackson respiratory therapist.

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