Andrew's story

Andrew Wright gives a thumbs up after therapy.

For 61-year-old Andrew Wright, a retired Metropolitan Sewer District worker from the West End, life was busy with hobbies and family. He has two daughters, one granddaughter, one grandson and lives with his only sister. However, life came to a standstill when he lost his footing and fell in his garage.

“My hobbies are going to the park to watch the boats, I also love watching sports and my favorite team is the Cincinnati Bengals,” he said. “I love spending time in my man cave... that’s where I spend 70% of my time, in my garage - that’s where I fell.”

After lying in bed for days and battling tremendous pain, Andrew was treated at Mercy Health and Bethesda North hospitals. He was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), an uncommon but serious neurologic condition. AFM affects the nervous system, specifically the area of the spinal cord called gray matter, which causes the muscles and reflexes in the body to become weak. High dose steroids helped, but his physicians recommended an intensive inpatient rehabilitation program to help him regain mobility and rebuild his life.

Andrew chose TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital based on recommendations and its proximity to his doctor’s office. “I had a friend tell me about it plus my doctor’s office is right next to this building,” he said. “I knew it was here if I ever needed it."

With a clear goal to walk again and return home, Andrew worked with his physician-led team at TriHealth to map out a plan to regain his independence. Initially, Andrew was unable to stand without assistance. "I needed help with everything," he recalled.

He required physical and occupational therapy. Physical therapy activities aimed to strengthen his body while increasing his endurance and activity tolerance. Occupational therapy focused on refining his fine motor skills and completing household tasks such as cleaning, laundry and cooking.

His physical therapists guided him through intensive therapy, including various strength and transfer training exercises. Andrew made significant strides by using a rolling walker and strengthening his muscles on the arm and leg bike.

"As soon as I was able to get up without assistance and stand on my feet, I knew I was on my way to recovery," he said. "This place made me realize the things I take for granted."

His occupational therapists worked with Andrew on transferring positions and introduced dressing aids to help him manage his self-care needs. The therapists’ guidance, along with the support from his family who learned crucial mobility and transfer techniques through the hospital’s Care Partner Program, paved the way for his progress. Andrew’s sister was particularly involved during therapy sessions, learning from the therapists how to best assist Andrew at home.

As he continued to improve, Andrew reflected on his rehabilitation process, remarking, “The condo, the car, retiring at age 55 don’t mean a thing if you can’t enjoy it to get up and walk outside. I would rather die than go to a nursing home!”

After two weeks of inpatient rehabilitation, Andrew was looking forward to returning to his cherished man cave.

At the end of his rehabilitation journey, he expressed deep gratitude to his TriHealth care team. “My physical therapist had so much faith in me,” he said. “If it weren’t for her and my occupational therapist, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

He plans to continue his recovery with home therapy.

"If you want to get back on your feet, come to TriHealth Rehabilitation Hospital! They are excellent over here," he advises others who may face similar challenges.