9/25/13 WBRZ 2 Your Health News Story former patient, Russell Comeaux, on "Surviving the West Nile Virus"BATON ROUGE - One year after getting the West Nile virus, a local man is back on his feet. Russell Comeaux was diagnosed with the virus Oct. 26 of last year. He said what started out as a high fever ended up being a brush with death.
"I started to have respiratory failure, had the... feeding tubes, the whole nine yards, called in the family, priest, it was pretty bad," Comeaux explained. "I think a lot of people don't realize what the invasive kind of West Nile can do, I know I didn't." Comeaux spent two months in bed and lost 60 pounds. He couldn't lift more than two pounds by the time he made it to the Baton Rouge Rehab Hospital. A team of therapists worked with Comeaux, first teaching him to sit up, crawl, then walk on his own. They said his recovery process was similar to working with a newborn child. He had so much muscle loss that he had to start from the very beginning, re-learning how to use every muscle in his body.
"It was a helpless feeling," Comeaux said. "You don't know what you can do, but they know what you can do and how far they can push you, you've got to have somebody pushing you." Now Comeaux walks with the assistance of a cane. He continues to come in for therapy, driving himself, in order to work on balance and strength. He says he looks at life a little different now, appreciating every moment more than before his close call. He says this is his second chance to live, and he knows he is here for a reason.
"You don't know what you were saved for, but until you find out, you try to be a better person," he said.
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9/17/13 WBRZ 2 Your Health News Article on former patient Wess Anderson
BATON ROUGE - Saxophonist Wessel "Warmdaddy" Anderson is able to play again, after recovering from a stroke that left the right side of his body paralyzed. "The worst thing is probably, actually, getting into a hospital and understanding that you cannot move," he explained. "I didn't believe I'd be walking, I thought alright this is it."
Anderson spent more than 30 years as a professional sax player before the stroke last November. He spent 20 years playing with musical great Wynton Marsalis and is still the first string alto saxist with Marsalis' Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
"Regardless of if somebody says you might not ever play ever again, in my mind I said, oh no, I spent 30 years trying to develop this, I'm going to do something," Anderson said.
After the stroke he spent ten weeks at the Baton Rouge Rehab Hospital with a team of therapists working with him each day. He re-learned how to function on his own, to speak and to walk. At first he couldn't sit up on his own, or produce even a single note on his saxophone.
Anderson's therapists all agreed that his passion to get back to playing was key in his speedy recovery. "Playing the saxophone was something that was really huge for him," said said speech language pathologist Angela Wascom, "and we really worked on getting the lips tight so that he could blow into the mouth piece, and just having that, knowing that he wanted to play again really increased his drive."
Therapists used three types of electrical stimulation to help Anderson's muscles gain strength, including a therapy method used on actor Christopher Reeve to help force their legs to pedal a stationary bike and stimulation to retrain throat muscles.
"It just made the muscles contract to strengthen them in addition to exercises," explained Wascom. Less than a year later, Anderson regained about 90 percent of the use of his right side. He says he's still numb from his head to his toes on his right side, but at least he's got his sound back.He's performing at the Manship theatre Thursday at 7:30pm with "an Evening of Jazz with George Bell and Friends". For more information on the show call (225) 344-0334 or visit manshiptheatre.org.
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Hey Roxane,P.S. Also I do love all of the staff! All of you are wonderful.
I really enjoyed the stroke support group meeting today. I was starting to get a little down, but listening to everyone else really gave me hope. My doctor had told me that after 6 months, my recovery would be as good as it was going to get. After listening to all the other stroke survivors, I realized that I still have hope that I might have a chance to recover fully. Look forward to the next meeting. Thanks again.
- Debbie K, Baton Rouge, LA
I was so scared when I got here because I could not stand up or walk. But now I am able to exercise and can walk again!
Pedro, my physical therapist was just wonderful. He let me do what I thought I could do and then encouraged me to do a little more. It gave me the willpower to do better. i did not think I would accomplish all that I did while at BRRH and I would recommend it to everyone!
- Clifton H., Baton Rouge, LA
Former BRRH Patient, Mike Nault, featured on WBRZ 2 Make a Difference
View this inspiring video of Mike Nault, amputee. Also interviewed are Jay Tew, Hangar Prosthetics, who assisted Mike with his prosethic leg, and Mike's martial arts instructor, Adam Sibley. The video also includes footage of BRRH Physical Therapy Assistant, Theresa Cambre, instructing Mike on the Zero G.
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3/6/14 WBRZ 2 Make a Difference News Article - How ZeroG Changed Amputee Patient's LifeBATON ROUGE - An anti-gravity machine revolutionizes rehab for amputee's at Baton Rouge Rehab Hospital. Jeremiah Foster was born with underdeveloped arms and legs. As he grew, his legs had trouble supporting him. Then he found out he had arthritis in his legs.
At age 13, Jeremiah decided to have his legs amputated so he could walk again. He struggled with rehab for years. Now at 18, Jeremiah can walk with confidence, on his new legs. He says it happened after getting to use the Zero G machine. It's the only one in Louisiana, and one of 35 in the country.
"I've only been three feet tall my whole life so this since September is really a jump for me so not only that the height but also I don't have any arms to catch me if I fall so there's nothing really to protect me or anything like that I just hit the ground so with the harness that really helps out a lot," said Foster. Foster says the machine takes away the fear, allowing him to strengthen his legs, and learn to walk. "I don't have to worry about it anymore. I can go places, if someone wants me to go with them grocery shopping, or shopping for clothes, or anything, I can wear jeans now, I couldn't before," Foster explained.
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