Where Are They Now: Callie Gauker

Callie Gauker then and now photos.

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its opening in Bethlehem. As part of the milestone, we are looking back at former patients from the Pediatric Unit over the last 10 years.

Today, we catch up with Callie Gauker.

It was a smooth pregnancy for Jodi Gauker until October 2014, when the expectant mother’s blood pressure skyrocketed. Admitted to the hospital, doctors discovered Jodi’s liver was starting to fail and that a C-section was the best course of action for mom and baby.

Callie Anne Gauker was born soon thereafter. At 26 weeks and one day, she weighed a tiny one pound, nine ounces.

Due to her size and premature birth, Callie needed a breathing tube, ventilator and nasogastric feeding tube (Read Callie’s full story or watch her video). Over time, her condition stabilized and she gained weight, but she still faced ongoing respiratory challenges. After a few months, Jodi and her husband, Lee, turned to Good Shepherd:

By March 2015, Callie was well enough to begin the next leg of her journey – rehabilitation. Lee and Jodi brought her to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit in Bethlehem, where Callie was admitted.

“We chose Good Shepherd for Callie's rehabilitation because it was close to home, and we felt it was much more in line with a family-friendly atmosphere while still providing exceptional care,” says Jodi. “After our first visit with the staff, we knew that it was a welcoming place where Callie would get the time and treatment she needed before she could come home to us.”

During her inpatient stay at the Pediatric Unit, Callie’s care team coordinated physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapy to help her recover and reach developmental milestones. The team also began weaning her off the ventilator settings and taught Lee and Jodi everything they needed to know about the trach, giving them the confidence to take their baby home, knowing they could care for her.

Three months later, Callie went home to the family farm in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, and began outpatient therapy with Good Shepherd Physical Therapy.

Happy, Healthy, Talkative Preschooler

Four years later, Callie is “doing really well,” says mom.

A preschooler who will turn 5 years old in October, Callie enjoys riding her tricycle, helping dad and grandpa on the Gauker Farm, playing in her kitchen, going on her swing set and venturing to the park.

“She has a great time telling anyone who will listen to stories about her day, her farm and school,” says Jodi.

Callie currently receives speech therapy at school and outpatient speech and physical therapy at Good Shepherd Physical Therapy.

“We found out that her left vocal cord is paralyzed, so her voice is a little raspy,” says Jodi. “But developmentally, she’s doing well.”

Looking back on their experience at Good Shepherd’s Pediatric Unit in Bethlehem, Jodi says the Good Shepherd team was a rock for all three family members during a tough, scary time.

“I can say without a doubt that we would never have had the confidence to care for Callie at home or to be her advocate during future medical milestones had it not been for the encouragement and care that Lee and I received from the team at Good Shepherd,” says Jodi. “They cared for Callie first and foremost, but they did more to build up Lee and I as parents than I ever expected. They say it takes a village — and we’re incredibly thankful for our Good Shepherd village for getting us through the challenging times and being there for us throughout the celebratory parts of Callie’s journey, too.”

To learn more about how Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit can help, request an appointment or call 1-888-44-REHAB.