Empowered Through Treatment


Empowered Through Treatment: Charles's Story

charles stands on the stairs In March of 2021, Charles Kampmueller found himself in the last place he expected to be: Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital’s Emergency Department.

Charles had begun experiencing complications in his right hand and leg earlier that month. When he lost his ability to write, he knew something was wrong.

“That’s what finally tipped the scale and we went to Cadillac Hospital,” explained Charles.

Upon his arrival, Cadillac Hospital staff quickly got to work identifying the problem. Their diagnosis turned Charles's world upside down – he had experienced a stroke.

Thanks to your generosity, Charles had access to the state-of-the-art technology needed to quickly identify a second blood clot in the brain and ensure there was no risk of bleeding.


A Changed Perspective

Charles spent a total of three days at Cadillac Hospital before his care team encouraged him to continue his recovery journey with Mary Free Bed at Munson Healthcare in Traverse City.

Through Munson Healthcare’s partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, northern Michigan patients have increased access to specialists, streamlined care coordination, and the highest standard of rehabilitative care close to home.

While hesitant at first, Charles attributed his decision to continue care to the positive experience he had at Cadillac Hospital.

“In general, I was skeptical of hospital services and leery of going,” shared Charles. “There were several nurses in Cadillac who had family members who benefitted from the Mary Free Bed experience. They convinced me I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own – that I needed help.”

With some tough love and a changed perspective, Charles, along with his wife Wanita, traveled to Traverse City to receive three weeks of inpatient rehabilitation services.


An Amazing Experience

Charles was met with positivity and encouragement from everyone at Mary Free Bed at Munson Healthcare. He spent his days using the latest in rehabilitation technology and meeting with skilled physical, occupational and speech therapists, as well as psychiatrists who helped him understand how the brain heals. Charles was even the first patient to utilize a new rehabilitation treadmill.

“My experience was pretty amazing,” recalled Charles. “The equipment was incredible. It made a huge difference. Occupational therapy had a mobile arm support that allowed me to move and rehab my arm without any pain.”

Charles, who had arrived at rehabilitation in a wheelchair, was using a walker and climbing stairs by the time he left. Witnessing his own progress throughout treatment left him feeling empowered and optimistic.


Staying Together

charles and wanita sit on a piano bench in their home Wanita was only minutes away from Charles's side during his stay with Mary Free Bed, thanks to Munson Manor Hospitality House. Munson Manor provided Wanita a home-away-from-home during Charles's stay, equipped with comfortable facilities and welcoming staff.

“It was extremely reassuring to be so close by,” said Wanita. “It helped our sons who lived in Grand Rapids; they were concerned about me driving home at night and back in the morning, so it was nice to be able to stay right there.”

Without the need to travel each day, Wanita could remain in contact with Charles and his healthcare providers.

“They included me, and I felt really lucky to be able to be with him,” explained Wanita. “It helped me deal with the transition because it is a major change when you lose the function of your right side and your speech, too.”


Back in Step

charles and wanita pose for a photo When Charles asked how he could thank the staff at Cadillac Hospital, one nurse shared: “We see the sickness; we don’t see the healing. Come back and walk down this hall for us.”

Two months later, Charles did just that.  

The Kampmuellers returned to Cadillac Hospital after Charles completed rehabilitation to show off his progress and offer thanks to his healthcare team with chocolate and flowers. The couple also made charitable gifts to support Munson Manor and equipment needs at Cadillac Hospital.

Today, Charles is back to doing what he loves: spending time with loved ones and enjoying the little things in life. 

“If my care team was in front of me, I don’t know if I could say anything,” said Charles. “It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. They are a great team; first-class staff. Without their encouragement, I would not have gotten here.”