Shepparton Private Hospital helps local legend return home after stroke
Feb 18, 2021
The wife of a much-loved Shepparton doctor is back home after spending almost two months recovering in hospital from a massive stroke. Gillian Mackellar, who is married to recently retired GP, Dr John Mackellar, suffered a stroke at their home on 18 November 2020.
Mrs Mackellar was rushed to Epworth Hospital in Melbourne for initial scans and then returned to Shepparton Private Hospital on 27 November, where a team of health professionals helped her to recover and rehabilitate.
“When I arrived there I was unable to do anything for myself, it was almost as if I didn’t have any limbs on the right side of my body, it was a nasty feeling and very frightening” Mrs Mackellar recalled.
“The staff treated me always with such kindness, support and dignity at a time when I felt so vulnerable. Their gentleness and encouragement was just wonderful,” she said.
Shepparton Private Hospital’s rehabilitation physician, Dr Manju Perera, said Mrs Mackellar’s motivation was outstanding.
“When Gill came in she couldn’t even sit up for a few minutes and she was fully dependent on the nurses because her muscle power, really was at a zero,” Dr Perera said.
“We have an amazing team at Shepparton Private Hospital and when it came to Gillian’s rehabilitation she was the team leader. She was very motivated and listened to us and she didn’t lose her faith. Gill was totally the ideal candidate for good inpatient rehabilitation,” he said.
Allied Health Manager Mutian Zhang said: “Gill progressed from wheelchair bound to supported standing in a special harness, then steadily increased her walking distance and independence. By the time she was discharged, Gill was able to walk 200 metres with just a walker or one crutch. This outcome was really a testament to both Gil's motivation, and the team's effort,” Mr Zhang said.
Mrs Mackellar said she was also very grateful to Shepparton Private’s occupational therapist Lisa Wright - who went to the Mackellar’s home to ensure it had adequate ramps and rails in the shower to help her transition back to home.
Lisa Wright also visited the Mackellars’ daughter’s home in December to make sure Gillian could spend Christmas Day and New Year’s Day with her family, even if only for a short time.
“I just felt so safe and comfortable and everything was organised to make sure I would be ok. Lisa just went to so much trouble, she really went above and beyond and I’m so grateful to the whole team,” Mrs Mackellar said.