Jean Archambault

Learning how to walk again…one step at a time

In October 2020, I was hospitalized for six lumbar hernias that had become so intense and painful that I could no longer function normally.

I was suffering from spondylodiscitis, a severe infection of several intervertebral discs.

The infection was so bad that I went into septic shock during surgery and spent the next six weeks in intensive care. I was in a full delirium, a direct result of my condition. The period from October 31 to December 20, 2020 is a black hole for me.

Starting from scratch

You don’t “wake up” from something like this unscathed. In my case, I could no longer walk. To get back on my feet and back to my former life, I turned to the Institut de réadaptation Gingras-Lindsay-de-Montréal (IRGLM), where I spent two and a half months, and then seven months as an outpatient.

The team put me back together again physically and psychologically, because I’d lost all confidence in my ability to stand up, never mind actually walk.

Step by step, a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, nurse and other specialists helped me. Through personalized exercises, they helped me make progress day after day, from a wheelchair to a walker to a walking frame to a cane.

“From a wheelchair to a walker to a walking frame to a cane.”

Jean Archambault

Rediscovering simple pleasures

My progress has been so remarkable that now I only need the cane for long walks. Speaking of which, in October, while on vacation, I walked 11 kilometres. To think that two years earlier, I was struggling to walk 5 metres in a hallway!

An outcome like this clearly demonstrates the need for the IRGLM and its specialists. Their constant presence and their encouragement are what got me back on my feet after my terrible ordeal. I really thought the days of driving my car, working and managing my store were over. But I was wrong.

A resource to be treasured

We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to count on the IRGLM. I calculated what my hospitalization and rehabilitation would have cost me in the United States—I would have had to sell my house to pay the bills. Here in Quebec, we can turn to an institution that provides very high-quality care for free, largely thanks to generous donors. I encourage you to join them by helping people get back on their feet, people like you and me.

Jean Archambault, 59 years old