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Tragedy to triumph

Abeline_A little over a year ago, Bill Kierre had surgery for knee replacement - but, something went terribly wrong.  Bill's knee didn't heal correctly, and during a procedure to scrape the scar tissue, he became paralyzed in both legs.  He's made remarkable progress since he began undergoing therapy at the West Texas Rehabilitation Center in Abeline.

Although quite common, knee replacement is not routine surgery.  But, Bill never imagined he would become paraplegic.  "I knew right then that if I didn't keep my spirit's up I was in a world of trouble," he says.  And after spending five months in and out of different rehabs, seeing little to no change, he was beginning to feel hopeless.

"That's when we decided to come over here to see what we can get done and I wish I'd have come here first," Bill says.  "I'm able to move my legs, I'm able to get up and walk with braces and a walker." 

His physical therapist, Tom Tucker, is thrilled with his results.  "When we first started he had virtually little to no active movement in the legs and now he's beginning to have active movement in various muscle groups in both legs," says Tucker.  Bill says he owes him everything.

Therapists are a dime a dozen in some rehab centers, but at the West Texas Rehabilitation Center, patients are paired with the same therapist for each treatment.  It's just one thing that sets the center apart - the dedicated therapists.  "They care, you know you can look in somebody's eyes and see they care about what they're doing," says Bill.

It's because of that dedication and care that Bill has made such remarkable progress.  He's gone from little movement to weight bearing activities in a short six months.  "We've got him in a supported gate system where he's walking on the treadmill - where he's supported - and we're allowing him to put more weight on the legs," says Tucker.

Bill's drive and determination, along with support from his therapists, will only push him further towards recovery.  Bill's goal is to be back on his feet again in less than five years.  It's a goal that's very attainable with the help of the center.  "If it weren't for people like this I'd be in a wheel chair for the rest of my life, and I don't want that, I don't want that," he says.

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