Left to right: Elizabeth Garcia, physical therapist assistant; Martha Wilson; Bethany Kleiber, physical therapist; and Heidi Park, occupational therapist assistant

Martha Wilson’s Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease that attacks nerve cells, led her to lose her independence, but now she has it back.


Things turned around for Wilson when she came to Life Care Center of McMinnville, Oregon, for rehabilitation.


When she started her physical and occupational therapy program on July 2, 2019, she needed total assistance for all her mobility, from walking to rolling over in bed to standing, as well as getting dressed and bathing. She also needed extensive assistance with much of her self-care, including self-feeding and grooming.


Therapists used dynamic balance exercises, including using the Biodex balance machine, as well as training on the parallel bars, to help Wilson recover.


Wilson also used the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill®, which features a zip-up reduced-gravity environment for walking on a treadmill. The machine, designed by NASA, can relieve up to 80 percent of a person’s weight so they can do gait training with low impact on their joints. The zip-in chamber also creates a fall-free environment for exercise.


Speech therapists started working with Wilson as well to help her regain her ability to swallow.


“She was the hardest worker, always willing to try new things and trust us,” said Mark Bzik, occupational therapist. “She has such a great attitude.”


Elizabeth Garcia, physical therapist assistant, added, “Martha has accepted and excelled at every challenge given to her. It is very exciting to see her progress.”


Wilson completed her rehabilitation program on Aug. 31 and returned home independent.


“The whole staff is amazing,” said Wilson. “They challenge me every day. My first few steps I took after not being able to walk, the whole therapy gym lit up, and everyone started hooting and hollering for me. I was cheered on every step of the way.” 

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