P.C. - 58, West Nile Myelitis

My diagnosis was Myelitus, West Nile Virus, with a full recovery possible taking a year or longer.  Prior to this, I exercised daily with 30 minutes of calisthenics, 1 hour of biking every other day, water skiing twice a week and two sessions of pick up hockey a week.  I was 20 pounds overweight but was in great physical shape. 

On 8/3/2012, I woke up with a paralyzed left leg.  I did not realize what had happened and collapsed in the parking lot.  I was taken by ambulance to Baylor Hospital in Grapevine where I was diagnosed with a fever of 102.8, told to take medication and released.  I never had the chance to see a doctor; however, a nurse was available.  At my wife’s continued insistence a west nile virus test was taken and sent off to a lab.  I continued to dehydrate at home and two days later my wife took me to HEB Hospital.  Three different doctors were immediately concerned and insisted on checking me in.  Monday, Baylor Hospital gave me the results of the west nile test, it was positive.  HEB Hospital confirmed the results with an MRI and a spinal tap.  All of the HEB staff, including doctors and nurses were excellent.  Once week later, I was released home.   A few days after that, because of my paralysis (left leg), I developed a blood clot in my lower left leg.  Another hospital visit resulted in the necessity of blood thinners and I was released home a few days later in a wheel chair, and about forty pounds thinner. 

I spent September at outpatient rehabilitation.  Sometime ago I remembered hearing of muscle atrophy, now I was experiencing it firsthand.  I worked very hard with 3 visits a week and practicing all that they said twice a day.  Some exercises I was unable to do but was assisted by my wife and sons to continually exercise my left leg with stretches, lifts, and side motions.  I made progress with my muscle atrophy on my right leg, but very little improvement on my left leg.  Laying on my back, I could not lift my knee up at all.  I still needed a wheelchair indoors for distances over two rooms, but was insisting on using the walker as much as possible, when I needed the restroom I gave 30 minute ETAs.  My employer’s nurse suggested trying InterX Therapy.  I had no previous medical experiences and was desperate.  I visited their website and was encouraged.  I was contacted by Janice and briefed on InterX Therapy.  She said she could help me. 

I remember October 2nd because it was such a struggle to use the walker from the handicap parking into the building, up the elevator and down the short hallway.  My wife went ahead when I stopped to use the restroom.  Due to my instability, I was offered assistance at the water fountain.  InterX Therapy was twice a week and in the second week my left leg’s range of motion had doubled.  In less than two weeks, I had progressed further than the previous month.  I was still doing leg exercises along with riding an exercise bike daily.  After two weeks of convincing me of “pool therapy,” my friend John took me to the pool, where I could be lowered in by lift, sporting my life jacket.  I quickly realized he was right and began “pool walking.”  In mid-October, using the walker became considerably easier.  On October 12th, I swam in the pool, it was great progress.  We all worked very hard daily for October and November looking forward to my December meeting with the neurologist.  Janice is a very positive and encouraging therapist.  I was regaining muscle use and my nerves were regenerating themselves due to exercise, but mostly therapy.  On November 16th, I started using a cane indoors.  I was very shaky and did fall at times.  On a late November visit from a rehab nurse I was told that of their five neuroinvasive cases I was the only one that was mobile.  I credit this to Janice at InterX.  I would have recovered from determination, but not nearly so quickly. 

During the first week of December, I tried to use my cane outdoors but needed to ask others for assistance because of strong winds.  I still had a balance issue.  Just before Christmas, on 12/22/2012, I was able to use my cane outdoors and travel a mighty distance of three houses, three times a day.  My December appointment with the neurologist that I had been looking forward to, happened to be another disappointment when he said a full recovery could take over a year. 

In December, my wife had developed radial nerve palsy in her right hand.  I insisted on her visiting Janice at InterX using my appointments for quicker treatment.  I started visiting with Annette at InterX so we could both get therapy on the same times and days because of the over one hour commute.  I cannot overemphasize the valuable therapy from Annette.  Not only did she continue InterX Therapy, but her experience helped me with different muscle exercises and suggestions. 

In January, I joined the YMCA to expand my workout.  I can dive into the pool to start my swim, (the first was a belly flop, but it felt great). I continued to receive therapy from InterX. On March 17th, I started walking in the house. April 4th, I started walking outside, (I have a limp but am working on that). Happiness is recovery, dancing is next. Outdoor biking, waterskiing, and hockey are a ways off. 

If you need help, I know people who can help, they are Janice and Annette.  They are gifted therapists and offer years of experience with a superior type of therapy—InterX.