Left to right: Bethany Stewart, occupational therapist assistant; Annette Tanner-Camp; and Heather Gaines, occupational therapist

When Annette Tanner-Camp looks back over her two-month stay at Life Care Center of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, she marvels at how far she’s come.


A fall and a broken leg may have precipitated the skilled nursing stay, but other health issues also needed to be addressed.


“I was so weak,” Tanner-Camp said. “I literally had to have everyone do everything for me. I was in a wheelchair. They had to use the Hoyer lift to move me. They gave me a thing to test my breathing, and I couldn’t even move the needle.”


With end-stage renal disease and diabetes – and as a stroke and cancer survivor – Tanner-Camp, 52, has a complex medical history. However, that didn’t deter her from working hard during her physical, occupational and speech therapies.


“I’ve taken care of other people all my life, but I knew it was time that I take care of myself,” Tanner-Camp said.


While physical therapy worked on standing balance and leg exercises with weights and resistance bands, occupational therapy concentrated on getting Tanner-Camp’s arms stronger with chair lifts, resistance bands and weights. But what she’s most proud of is her progress in speech therapy.


“I thought my memory was shot, but Charli [Essner, speech therapist,] proved to me it was not,” Tanner-Camp said. “And she helped me expand my lungs so that I can breathe. I’m going to keep working on that.”


Tanner-Camp’s ultimate goal was to be able to go swimming with her 27-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son. She also hopes to lose enough weight to get a kidney transplant so she can say goodbye to dialysis.