Nikolaus' Story

Spinal Cord Injury

Paralyzed plant worker proves RIM works miracles

As a 22-year skilled tradesman, Nikolaus Kothstein knew his way around a plant. He couldn’t believe it when his pant leg caught on an air valve causing him to fall backwards.

“I landed on my backside. I knew immediately, I was paralyzed. I was taken to a local hospital whereNikolaus2017-10 they did surgery to put a cage around my neck and fuse my spine. That’s when my real troubles started.”

Nikolaus came out of surgery unable to swallow, eat or talk. He couldn’t walk and was weak. He lay in the hospital for weeks trying to get insurance to approve him for the highly-recommended DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM). In that time, he developed a massive blot clot and severe pressure wound on his back side.

“I was just begging anyone to get me into rehab. I was in such horrific pain with the bed sore, I needed relief from laying on it all day.  It took a letter from my physician to get me approved.”

Two months later, Nikolaus was transferred to RIM. He’d lost 90 pounds, couldn’t sit up or speak and the infection from his bed sore had gone into his bones. 

“Every round of physical, occupational and speech therapy was excruciatingly painful. But I was just so thankful someone was working with me.”

When Nikolaus left three months later, he could sit in a wheelchair, had better use of his arms and his wound was improving. After a short round of rehab at another center, Nikolaus returned to RIM as an outpatient and is now walking with a cane and driving again.

“Can you believe it? RIM is just awesome.  If I had to go to any other rehab facility, I know I would still be in a nursing home and in a wheelchair. RIM is the best place in the world.”