I just wanted to share my experiences with healthcare this year and how they relate to The Fitness Center.
On March 9th of this year, I came in and did my regular workout. I had been coming in about 3 to 4 times a week and had begun to see some good results, in addition to feeling great.
On the 10th, I woke up with a strange tingling in my lower legs and feet. Knowing this was not normal, I drove myself to Provena’s Emergency Room. By the time I arrived I had become so weak that I collapsed as I walked in. My legs were paralyzed. By 10:30, family members had arrived and the doctors told us that they thought I had Guillan-Barre Syndrome. Its a rare (1 out of 100,000-200,000 get it) syndrome were a virus tricks your immune system into attacking your nervous system. It destroys the linings of the nerves which causes them to short circuit and symptoms from tingling to weakness to paralysis results. There is nothing they can do to stop it and the only option is to let it run its course and then do therapy to repair the damage. 97% of the people that are stricken survive and 70% of the survivors have a substantial or complete recovery. Unfortunately, my case was particularly nasty and by mid-afternoon of the 11th, I was paralyzed from the neck down and placed on a ventilator to breath. I began to wake up 4 weeks later. I had been transferred to a hospital near Chicago to wean me off the vent and begin rehab. I was ultimately hospitalized for 3 and 1/2 months and had therapy 5-6 days a week for 2 more months. My heart stopped once (obviously they got it started again!), I lost 60 lbs (I DO NOT recommend the diet plan !), and am still suffering the effects of weakness in the hands and feet and some balance issues.
How does this relate to The Fitness Center? The first time I was taken out of bed and placed in a wheelchair was in late April. I was rolled into a sling and lifted by a glorified engine hoist and swung over the chair. When I looked at my thighs as I was all scrunched up in the sling, I was emotionally crushed. They had the consistency of a large sandwich bag filled with Jello. I moaned and said “Oh great. All that work at the gym for nothing”. The doctor overheard me and asked what I meant. I told him of the regimen I had been on and he said “Well if it hadn’t been for the workouts (at The Fitness Center) you wouldn’t have survived.” Kind of put it all in context didn’t it?
Anyway, I found out later that in the early weeks, the doctors had given me less than a 1% chance of surviving and had even mentioned removing me from life support. After it appeared that I would survive, they were thinking that a recovery period of 1 to 1 and 1/2 years would be in order. But because of the workouts at The Fitness Center, I was able to return to work fulltime at Worden-Martin ( a great, classy company that went waaaaay beyond the call of duty to help me during this ordeal) and am living by myself for the first time since early 2008.
Please Thank your staff for making The Fitness Center such a friendly and inviting environment that would help a former couch potato into a lifestyle that ultimately saved my life. I’m looking forward to starting my workouts this weekend. Thanks again Lori.