A Successful Journey of Physical Rehabilitation, Positive Attitude and Hard Work

Positive Attitude and Hard Work Lead to Success

When Peggy Dougherty arrived at HealthPark Care & Rehabilitation Center last November, she could only communicate by blinking her eyes. She was unable to move, talk or feed herself. Peggy had Guillain-Barre syndrome, (GBS), a rare disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages their nerve cells and paralyzes them. Guillain-Barre syndrome has no cure.

After four months of inpatient rehabilitation at the center, Peggy returned to her Cape Coral residence, laughing, smiling and talking. Much rehabilitative work remains, though. Peggy is not paralyzed. She has sensation and movement in both lower legs, but continues to experience pain, limited sensation and decreased strength in them. Able to propel herself in a wheelchair and use a walker, she will continue in-home rehabilitative therapy three times a week for the foreseeable future.

When occupational therapist Haley Raben saw her new patient last November, she realized there was a lot of work ahead. Justina Falcone, a speech therapist who worked with Peggy to regain her speech and safe swallowing skills, recalls a similar thought. “I knew we were in for a long, hard journey,” she says.

“The therapists were wonderful. They pushed me, which I needed.”

Within three weeks of working with Haley, Peggy had regained some mobility. She had progressed to moving out of bed with assistance, and transferring to a wheelchair. Standing and balance coordination remain activities in progress, challenged by the remaining paralysis in her lower legs and feet. Within weeks, Peggy had her feeding tube removed and began eating and drinking on her own.

Although some people can take months and even years to recover, about 80 percent of people with Guillain-Barre syndrome can walk independently six months after diagnosis, while about 60 percent fully recover motor strength one year after diagnosis. About 5-10 percent have delayed and incomplete recovery.

The following months were challenging, grueling and rewarding, not just to Peggy as she progressed, but to her therapists, too. Peggy’s care team worked with her to ful ll the center’s primary goal to help residents regain their highest level of independence and to return them home as soon as possible.

“I wanted to go home, so I tried everything,” Peggy says about her determination to push herself through any and all exercises. “The therapists were wonderful. They pushed me, which I needed. You work through the pain.” As her rehabilitation progressed, she became more hopeful. “Positivity is a gift,” she says. “It makes a di erence in your recovery.”

HealthPark Care and Rehabilitation Center
  • 16131 RoseRush Court
  • Fort Myers, FL 33908

24 Hours Mon. - Sun.

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  • Phone: 239-343-7300

Tags: Rehabiltiation, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, HealthPark Care and Rehabilitation