Life in Aurora was good for 50-year-old Ian Wickramasekera. He spent his days teaching at Naropa University in Boulder, his nights going out dancing, and filled his spare time with long-distance running.
But then, Ian stopped feeling like himself. For a few weeks, he spiked high fevers and experienced delirium, body aches, shortness of breath, and a cough. Then his legs began giving him problems. Ian developed bilateral lower limb weakness. Walking became difficult and he fell several times. To Ian, it felt like he was becoming totally paralyzed.
Ian knew he needed medical help and sought care at his local hospital. They admitted Ian and the doctors ran some tests. Ian was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). GBS is a rare condition that causes the immune system to attack the nervous system. This often leads to muscle weakness and paralysis.
Rehabilitation plays an important role in helping someone with GBS regain their independence. Ian spoke with a clinical liaison from Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital. After their discussion, he felt NCRH was the right choice for his rehabilitation. Though Ian considered facilities closer to home, the services and outcomes NCRH offered impressed him.
Though Ian’s expectations were high, NCRH didn’t disappoint.
“The therapists influenced my recovery the most with all their encouragement,” Ian reflected. “Rebekka Keho (OT) and Shelby Lojo (PTA) had amazing treatment plans. Great communication. They collaborated well together and encouraged my independence. They are highly trained, mature, and open-hearted people. Anyone can be a therapist, but these ladies have been very motivating! Ben Adams (PT) always volunteered to help me and made me feel comfortable and safe. Mark Nagel (OT) incorporated music and dance in my therapy. He has great expertise!”
Ian looks forward to dancing with his friends again, as well as teaching. During his stay, Ian described success as leaving with the ability to regain full ambulation. In one day at NCRH, Ian had walked 267 feet!
Now discharged home, Ian is thankful he chose NCRH for his rehab. “Dr. Arrogante, the nurses, and everyone were great at listening and encouraging,” he said. “I am forever grateful for my experience here.”