Larry Burke

Larry Burke

Pulmonary & Transitional Rehabilitation VIP

The year of 2013-2014 will never be forgotten by Larry Burke. Upon falling critically ill in September, Larry was taken to a local Omaha hospital, where he was diagnosed with West Nile Virus. Within hours, he experienced respiratory failure and within days, he was ventilator dependent and fighting for his life.

Larry’s history of asbestos exposure, while he was serving in the Navy, impacted his healing process as well. While his health slowly began improving, Larry was still dependent upon the ventilator to breathe. Larry was released from the hospital to Select Specialty, then to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, and last to Ambassador Health, where he began his hospital-to-home healing process.

Upon arriving at Ambassador Health, a specific care regimen was set in place and included physical, occupational, and speech therapy to help Larry rebuild his strength and agility. He came to Ambassador Health ambulating 40 feet and left walking several hundred feet. The physical and occupational therapists pushed hard, but Larry pushed even harder.

Larry’s nursing staff, which provided his cares around the clock, became his friends as well as caretakers. ”Those are amazing nurses and therapists to check their problems at the door and to help others all day long,” stated Larry. Larry’s perseverance prevailed and he became completely independent with his cares by April 2014.

Larry’s prognosis of coming off of the ventilator was poor, but his determination was not. Larry found it extremely helpful to have a team of respiratory therapists available around-the-clock to monitor him closely and build him up towards the goal of having his tracheostomy tube removed. “Larry tolerated everything we threw at him and all things worked together,” stated Glen Kunz, Respiratory Manager.

Cheryl, Larry’s steadfast wife of many years, kept him focused on getting off of the ventilator machine and regaining the strength he needed to get well enough to return home. This husband-wife team held a cheerful disposition that enlightened many people around them.

This chapter in Larry’s life has a happy ending as he has moved back home to enjoy his retirement years with his wife, two children, five grandchildren and one great grandchild. The memories of such a tragic, turned joyous event will last a lifetime.