Rehabilitation | St. Louis Public Radio


When Lisa and Dan Macheca bought a century-old Methodist church in St. Louis back in 2004, they didn't think much about the cost of heating the place.

Then the first heating bill arrived: $5,000 for a single month.

"I felt like crying," Lisa Macheca said. "Like, 'Oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into?' "

Granite City resident Jennifer Kostoff and her daughter. Kostoff was addicted to heroin when she was pregnant and was able to give birth to a healthy baby with help from the SSM Wish Center.
Chestnut Health Systems

Several St. Louis health centers will begin working next month to provide long-term residential treatment for expectant mothers in the Metro East who are addicted to opioids.

Many pregnant women who need treatment for substance abuse rely on Medicaid, a federal- and state-funded health insurance program for people who are low-income, disabled or elderly. But women in the Metro East aren't eligible to be treated at facilities in St. Louis that only accept Missouri Medicaid.

Trenda Davis is a member of the Independence Center's clubhouse.
Kim Oswalt | St. Louis Public Radio

At the clubhouse, there are no clients or patients – only members. In an alternative to traditional models of social work, people with mental illnesses come to the Independence Center’s clubhouse to participate in a program structured around the idea of a “work-ordered day.”

Trenda Davis is an Independence Center member who said she found stability and support when she joined the clubhouse after losing her job two years ago.

The opening bars of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” echo through a bustling therapy gym as 13-year-old Courtney Turner practices her physical therapy for the day: lip syncing.

A rare infection attacked Turner’s nervous system last year, leaving her almost completely paralyzed. Her doctors called it “a lightning strike”: Once a bubbly preteen who ran track and cracked jokes with her twin brother, she’s spent the past seven months undergoing intense rehabilitation therapy at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital. During that time, Turner has slowly started to regain some of her muscle movement and reflexes like swallowing food.  

Michael Velardo | Flickr

Experts who study drug trends say the presumed fatal heroin overdose of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman shines the spotlight anew on the need for society to come to grips with widespread heroin abuse across the nation and in St. Louis.

Among those who have studied the issue is Theodore “Ted” Cicero, a  professor in neuropharmacology in psychiatry at Washington University Medical School. He has tracked patient trends in 150 drug treatment facilities nationwide for more than seven years.

Patty Maher inside building on Wyoming.
Thomas Crone | for the Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 23, 2013: For the better part of the past decade, a historic structure on the corner of Wyoming Street and Arkansas Avenue was abandoned, left to the elements as boards came and went from windows. The first floor was sealed but the second floor was open, subjecting the building to rain, snow and cold.

For developer Patty Maher, that situation has been a blessing, not a curse.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 5, 2012 - Antonio Bobo towered above the wooden podium between him and row after row of onlookers seated in the Mary Ann Lee center at Ranken Technical College. On his left was a freshly detailed Ford Taurus, and on his right were mounds of wrapped presents. Bobo, pausing every so often to wipe away tears, gave thanks to those both in attendance and absent for their gifts to him and his family.

New uses may give old buildings new lives

Oct 26, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 26, 2012 - For many a historic building, the kiss of death comes when its doors and windows get boarded up and the structure falls into disrepair.

“As soon as you board it up, it’s the beginning of the end,” said architectural historian Christine Madrid French. “Once a building gets boarded up and it becomes an eyesore, people say, ‘Well, we can’t wait to get rid of that eyesore.’ Then the history is lost, people forget why it was built, and then it’s just a downward spiral.”

Doctor, heal thyself: How one woman did

Jun 10, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: June 10, 2008 - Dr. Emily Storch still doesn't remember the highway accident that nearly took her life.

She does recall coming out of her coma a month later, overcoming amnesia and discovering that some doctors thought she would never walk again.