To see Bobbie Schulte of Van Wert today, you’d never imagine where she was just seven months ago. The journey of healing she’s experienced over the past three months is remarkable.

Schulte suffers from severe arthritis. She has undergone six painful surgeries which completely replaced her spine from skull to tailbone, leaving her bedridden, riddled with pain, heavily medicated, and weighing only 80 pounds.

“We didn’t think she would ever walk again,” her husband, Chuck, said. Just months ago, she was on the verge of hospice care. “I didn’t think she’d live to summer.”

Today, however, she is up and moving, and weighs 135 pounds. She and Chuck enjoy going out to eat together, going to the store, and even swimming in the family pool!

Help at home

After her surgeries, rehab stays and outpatient therapy produced little results. The Schultes didn’t know where to turn. Their daughter, Mandy Renner, suggested they try home health care. Renner, an STNA with CHP Home Care & Hospice, has seen how in-home nursing and therapy services can improve a patient’s condition.

“I didn’t know home care was an option,” Schulte said. “I thought the only nurses who came out to the home were when you are dying.”

A team approach

Home health nurses from CHP worked with Schulte’s primary care physician, Dr. Lilly Bontrager to adjust her medications; eventually eliminating several of them. In-home physical therapy visits were instituted simultaneously.

Schulte connected well with both the nurses and therapists and began seeing results. Then, her mindset began to change.

“I didn’t think I’d take another step,” Schulte said, “but then I began thinking, ‘I can do this.’ I was determined to get out of bed and walk!”

Push to get better

“I liked them all, but I really connected with Jeannette,” Schulte said. (Jeannette Brown from Encompass Care Rehab) “I got better because she knew how to push me to reach my goals.”

In May, family members were thrilled to see a video of Schulte out of bed and walking around the house!

Today, her plan of care is stepped down to maintenance – receiving therapy visits twice a month plus a monthly nursing visit. Local CHP nurses are just a call away if she needs any further assistance. She uses scooters to help her move about both inside and outside.

A better life

“It’s been a long road and I have my bad days,” Schulte said. She still lives with arthritis pain and has trouble with her knees especially. “But, things are so much better now.”

One thing in particular that Chuck and Bobbi enjoy is going out to eat because it’s been seven years since they’ve been able to enjoy this simple pleasure together.

“We go out two or three times a week now,” Chuck said. “We’re making up for lost time.”


Photo: Chuck and Bobbi Schulte with Taylor Moreno, LPN, of CHP Home Care and Hospice in the Schulte’s Middle Point Road home.