Hunter Baldus

For many, 2020 has been a challenging year. Hunter Baldus is no exception. Trained in gymnastics, Hunter was a dancer and enjoyed skiing, snowboarding, and daily swims. “I lived a very active, retired lifestyle,” the former cabinetmaker said.

In May, Hunter broke his foot, beginning a journey that would change his life. “I lived in a two-story home with the bed and bathroom on the second floor. It became very difficult to get around my own home,” Hunter said. To heal his foot, Hunter required several surgeries.

“After the third surgery to remove hardware, I had a heart attack and became septic. I had to have three stents placed in my heart,” Hunter shared. But the news that followed was something Hunter never expected.

“The next day, I was told that I needed to have my leg amputated. I was in shock! I was so afraid of what was going to become of my life, as well as my 20-year relationship. We already have been through so much after I broke my foot and becoming disabled. What was getting my leg amputated going to do to my relationship?”

After an amputation, an inpatient rehabilitation program is a critical part of recovery. And Hunter knew just where to go. He chose Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital of Rancho Mirage.

“I had been to Vibra after my previous two surgeries, and I knew that Vibra was going to be the only place for me to heal and regain some independence,” Hunter said. “After getting sepsis, my memory was impaired, so I needed not only physical and occupational therapies but speech therapy, as well. I knew I would get stronger here at Vibra.”

Within two days of receiving his prosthetic leg, Hunter was walking with his therapist. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I was elated that after months of not walking, I was taking steps again.”

Hunter believes the staff at Vibra had a major influence on his recovery. “The staff allowed me to fully participate in my care and take ownership of my stump. Dr. Bagherpour took great care of me and was very concerned about my recovery. Zach, I feel, is a genius. He is so smart. He spent a lot of time educating me on the mechanics and reasons why. Paige comes up with treatments that surprise and interest me.”

“Overall, everyone at Vibra treated me very well, and I am so appreciative of that!”

Ready to return home, Hunter feels prepared for what lies ahead.

“They actually have me climbing stairs. I was so worried I would need to move out of my current home because of the stairs, and now I can climb them! I can’t wait to get home and just start living life again. I will no longer need my private caregiver, so that is a huge burden off of my shoulders!”

“I am no longer afraid of my future. I feel very optimistic.”