“They improved my perspective on living this new life after having West Nile Virus,” states Amy.
“In August 2021, I was bitten by a mosquito that carried the West Nile Virus. Within days, I was paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe on my own. I spent three months in an ICU and two months at a neurorehabilitation hospital. When I was discharged, I was able to walk on my own but was still very weak. I couldn’t move my right arm at all and was only able to move the left hand.
I connected with Rehab Without Walls while in the neurorehabilitation hospital and my RWW home therapists jumped right into action when I came home. Not only did they work on building my strength, but they also worked on getting me back to the activities that I loved! My therapists Jamie and Elise knew I wanted to get back to swimming, hiking, cooking, and back to my second-grade classroom. Every session they planned was a combination of hard work and laughter. Jamie and Elise both had a gift for connecting with me and became part of our family. I looked forward to their visits every day because I knew I was going to get stronger, and I knew we were going to have the best time doing it! Jamie and Elise came to the house for six months.
After the six months, I was strong enough for outpatient sessions. By the end of our time together, I was able to hike regularly, cook meals each day for my family and I started back to work part time. When I started my outpatient sessions at RWW, I couldn’t drive. Friends and family helped get me to my weekly sessions, where we continued to work on building strength and mobility in my arms.
My therapists, Jessica and Siobhan shared the same gifts for connecting with their patients and were constantly thinking of new ways to bring my arms further back to life. They were focused on building my independence with innovative ways to get myself ready and finding strategies for when I was in my classroom. Both therapists also built a strong at-home program so I could continue my progress even if I wasn’t in the facility. After a few months of working with my outpatient therapists, I was strong enough to drive myself to therapies. And then a few months after that, I was strong enough to head back to the classroom full time.
What all my therapists had in common was the dedication they put into my rehab, making sure I was getting back to doing what I loved. They did whatever they could to support my interests and to cheer me on as I improved. It’s not easy to put all your trust into someone as you’re trying to get your life back, but with these four individuals, that was their number one goal. They cared just as much about me as a human being, as they did about attending to my rehab. Although their job was to fix a broken body, they also fixed a broken heart. I wasn’t sure I would live the life I had before the mosquito bite, but my therapists saw to it that I climbed mountains, literally!
I am forever grateful for Rehab Without Walls and its impact on my recovery. They improved my mobility, and they improved my perspective on living this new life after having West Nile Virus.” – Amy, RWW Patient
Amy’s therapy team consisted of:
• Jessica Ford, PT, DPT, NCS – Outpatient Physical Therapist
• Siobhan Nelson, OTR/L – Outpatient Occupational Therapist
• Jaime Ford, PT, DPT, NCS – Home & Community Physical Therapist
• Elise Kelly, MS, OTR/L – Home & Community Occupational Therapist