“I was crippled, lying in my house and unable to do anything,” remembers Edouard, a 58-year-old father of seven who lives in the high mountains in the HAS service area.
Thirteen years ago, a vitamin deficiency disabled him to the point of paralysis. The once independent and hard-working man had to rely on his wife and children to help him with basic daily tasks.
“I was just lying down all the time, and my family had to help me get up, eat, bathe,” said Edouard. “They would have to put their arms around me and use their strength to lift me up.”
The family also experienced financial hardship as his wife struggled to care for Edouard and support their family.
Edouard’s community health worker (CHW) recognized early on that he needed inpatient care, but it was virtually impossible for his family to carry him for the three hours that they would have to walk to get to the hospital. So the CHW informed the HAS physical therapy team, which was developing a community-based program for homebound patients like Edouard.
When the program was launched three years ago, the team began working with Edouard regularly. A technician visited him weekly, helping him gain range of motion and build strength little by little through rehabilitation exercises. He simultaneously began vitamin supplementation as prescribed by a doctor to address the deficiency that caused his paralysis.
After 10 years of being bedridden, Edouard began to walk with the aid of a walker. Soon he progressed to using only a cane to help him walk, and today he can move without any aid except when he must walk long distances, in which case he uses a cane for support.
“I’m happy that I can go back to working in my cornfields,” said Edouard.
The work of HAS’ dedicated physical therapy staff, coupled with the determination of this dedicated father, has made a true difference in the lives of the entire family.