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Celebrating recoveries

first_imgVALENCIA – Corazon Gatilao wanted to dance at her son’s wedding. She told everyone about it, especially the therapists who were teaching the Valencia woman, who suffered a stroke in October 2004, to walk again. On Thursday, she shared pictures of herself on the dance floor at son Arnold’s Sept. 24 reception. Gatilao was one of three featured speakers at Healthy Homecoming, a reunion of former patients and staff at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. Glenn Dabatos, director of rehabilitative services, escorted her to the platform, giving the audience a little glimpse of his patient and friend. “Corazon is someone who loves life, her kids and husband. She sings, but she’s a much better dancer,” he said. “Three months after her stroke, we had an event at church where she showed us all she could walk again. One year after her stroke, her bowling team won first place.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “I’m a good singer,” Gatilao said defensively, chiding the staffer who referred to her as his friend and mentor. She told those gathered about going from the hectic preparations for the wedding to physical therapy and graduating “from a quad cane to a single.” “At my son’s wedding, he told me it was not his party. It was my party, because I had 250 friends there,” she said, holding back tears. “The photographer told me later that it was the most emotional event he ever covered.” Gatilao said the words of “The Way You Look Tonight” made the dance even more poignant. Former patient Kristin Kratochvil, a preschool teacher in Pomona, was brought to the emergency room with a broken back after a February sledding accident in Gorman. “I was riding with my 12-year-old niece and we hit a bump and the next thing I was lying in the snow in pain,” she said. “I knew from my first aid classes that I shouldn’t move, so my 12-year-old niece held my hand, my boyfriend got an ambulance, my 14-year-old niece stood guard and my 10-year-old nephew was the lookout.” Kratochvil was overcome with emotion as she thanked Sukhinder Rana, a nurse in the Acute Rehabilitation Unit. “I feel so blessed, they treated me like I was the only patient there and I know I wasn’t.” Doctors repaired her spine with a titanium cylinder “and four long screws” allowing her to return to work in September. “I’m not a skier because it’s dangerous,” Kratochvil said, laughing. She has taken her X-rays to the preschool to help her students understand her physical limitations. More than 70 people turned out for the reunion, which organizers said started out as a simple potluck in the nursing unit and has grown year by year. Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more