Back To Balance with Good Shepherd's Vestibular Rehabilitation Program
As a former U.S. Air Force pilot (and Vietnam War veteran), senior staff automotive engineer, engineering consulting firm owner, past president of the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce and family man, Rich Piotrowski, 69, has had many experiences throughout his life. One morning in December 2009, Rich awoke feeling something he had never experienced before.
“I woke up feeling woozy and wobbly, sort of like I was drunk,” says Rich. “Every morning, the feeling came back, and it lasted for several hours. I knew something wasn’t right.”
After seeing several physicians, Rich turned to Good Shepherd’s Neurorehabilitation Program , which has special expertise and equipment to treat balance issues. For Rich, the choice of rehabilitation provider was clear.
“Good Shepherd helped me get back on my feet after a stroke in the early 1990s,” says Rich. “I’ve always known that Good Shepherd has very skilled people and outstanding facilities. When I needed rehabilitation for my latest issue, the choice was obvious.”
At Good Shepherd, Rich has been undergoing a variety of rehabilitation treatments for his balance issues. With the help of Kathy Slezak, PT, MSCS, he regularly works on parallel bars to improve stability and rides a stationary bike and stair machine to improve strength.
He has even been evaluated on the state-of-the-art Equitest, a rehabilitation technology  that was originally developed by NASA to help astronauts re-acclimate to the earth’s gravity following space travel. At Good Shepherd, the Equitest is used to evaluate patients and to identify the underlying causes of balance problems. A comprehensive physical therapy program can then be developed to address the problem.
“Dizziness is a common complaint among people of all ages,” says Kathy. “At Good Shepherd, we use physical therapy and rehabilitation technology to treat the causes of balance problems.
“Rich’s balance problems have resulted from a variety of issues, most of which are orthopedic in nature. He has been compensating for hip and back problems by changing his posture, which is impeding his balance. We have been targeting these areas with strength training and physical therapy to get Rich back to a state of proper balance.”
Thanks to the therapy he is receiving at Good Shepherd, Rich’s balance and strength are improving. He is able to continue his busy post-retirement schedule of spending time with his family, working with the American Legion and being active in his community.
“Thanks to Good Shepherd, I feel the best I have since the early 1990s,” says Rich. “I feel like a 29-year-old fellow again.”