As the company’s chief investor relations officer, Crissy Carlisle knows all about Encompass Health hospitals and their standards of care, but only when her husband was admitted to one did she really experience it.
Crissy Carlisle may be based out of the company’s home office in Birmingham, Alabama, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know her way around an Encompass Health, formerly HealthSouth, hospital. As the chief investor relations officer, she frequently shows investors around the rehabilitation hospitals, describing the therapy and care patients can expect. She knows all about Encompass Health’s CPR – Comfort, Professionalism and Respect – but only recently did she experience it first hand.
In April, Crissy’s husband, Mark, a marathon runner and Realtor, suffered a dizzy spell on a short, routine run. He was quick to brush it aside, but when he later experienced numbness in his cheek, Crissy insisted he get checked out. An MRI revealed what doctors thought was a small tumor on Mark’s brain. It turned out to be much larger.
“What they thought was small, maybe the size of an egg, was more like the size of a baseball,” Crissy said.
Though it was larger than originally estimated, it was benign. Mark had surgery to remove it on April 25, but just two days later he had to go in for another to stop internal bleeding. In all, it took four surgeries to remove the tumor. Mark then had to be induced into a medical coma for 36 hours.
“His brain just needed rest,” Crissy recalled. “That was the longest 10 minutes of my life when they were taking him out (of the coma).”
Mark did wake from the coma, but he would need therapy, and to Crissy, who has been with the company for 12 years, Encompass Health was the only option. Fortunately, Encompass Health Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital in Birmingham was nearby. Their two sons, one recently adopted from Colombia, could visit often, and Crissy could stay with Mark while he received the necessary therapy.
“When he was at Brookwood (hospital), and they said he needed inpatient therapy, I said we’re going to Lakeshore,” Crissy said. “They said there were other options; I said, ‘no.’ There was no question, he was going to Lakeshore. Even if I didn’t work here, it’s where I’d want him to be.”
After 10 days in the intensive care unit of Brookwood, doctors deemed Mark well enough to receive therapy. When he arrived at Encompass Health Lakeshore May 8, he was “pretty comatose,” Crissy recalled. “But the level of care … they were just loving him; telling him it would be OK. It was so different from the (acute care) hospital.”
Mark spent 10 days at Encompass Health Lakeshore. The therapy was intense, but Mark met the challenge. He was discharged May 18, and today he is back at home with his family.
“He’s doing fantastic,” she said. “He’s working; he’s going to the gym a couple times a week. He’s even running again. He’ll tell you it’s only two miles, but he’s running again.”
Crissy hasn’t led an investor tour since her husband’s discharge, but she suspects they will have even more meaning to her now.
“Employees are always excited to show us what they do when we come; they love sharing their stories,” Crissy said of the investor hospital tours. “It’s one thing, though, to see them loving on a patient; it’s another to then experience it. Now it’s deeper – it’s a deeper appreciation.”
On September 8, 2018, Mark ran his first race, a 5K, with his family to support unadopted children. He is currently training for a half marathon.
Updated September 9, 2018