Bob’s Story: “Gaining Ground” and Independence

It was nine years ago when Bob Mizia, a 52-year-old pipe insulator from Northeast Philly, was rushed to the hospital with a fever of 104. Doctors diagnosed him with an abscessed C5 and performed surgery. He woke up paralyzed from the neck down.

“They said I’d never have use of my extremities,” Bob recalls.

Now 61, Bob lives on his own, drives, feeds and dresses himself: all major accomplishments considering the outlook doctors had first given him. Therapy was a big reason for that. He spent nearly six months as an inpatient at Magee’s main hospital and continued on to the Locomotor Training program at Magee Riverfront, walking 200 feet per day for a good 20 months.

“I’m pretty independent,” says Bob, who uses a power chair to get around.

But a fall over a year ago would steal away some of the great progress Bob had made. That’s when Liz Watson and Melania Dieterick, two of Bob’s therapists at the Riverfront, told him about Gaining Ground.

“I wanted to start standing again, and I wanted to get stronger, because I was really weak from the fall,” Bob says.

Gaining Ground is a four-week program, specifically tailored to each client and solely focused on improving function and quality of life, based on his or her individual goals and abilities. The program starts with an evaluation by a physical therapist and a fitness assessment by an activity-based trainer. From there, a unique, customized program is designed.

So Bob, his therapists, and his trainer all got to work. Right away, he was re-learning how to transfer, sit, and stand properly. He’d take group exercise classes and educational courses, too. He was sleeping really well, thanks to the high-intensity workouts.

“It was like a tune-up,” Bob says.

“I couldn’t get in and out of bed myself, and after Gaining Ground, I started doing all that by myself, and more,” Bob says. “That sense of independence, you can’t put a price on that.”

Gaining Ground also helped Bob get strong enough to drive again.

“Without driving, I don’t know what I would do,” he says.

Today, Bob continues to get stronger, visiting the Riverfront’s Health and Wellness Center four times per week.

No matter what your goal, if you are ready to take charge of your recovery with a personalized program, state-of-the-art equipment, and highly skilled therapists, consider Gaining Ground.

For more information on Gaining Ground, call 215-218-3900. Gaining Ground is a private pay program and is not covered by insurance.

Photos courtesy: Bob Mizia

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