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Jim Story: Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Jim's Story: Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Jim underwent knee replacement surgery and returned home to recover. Unfortunately, what should have been a normal recuperation turned life altering when, after just 12 days at home, he stood up to walk, lost all feeling in his hands and legs and fell to the ground. He was rushed to the hospital. After a comprehensive series of tests and scans, his physician diagnosed him with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that attacks the nervous system, causing nerve pain and paralysis. Shortly after receiving the diagnosis, Jim was transferred to the inpatient Rehabilitation Center at El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos.

Upon arrival at the Rehabilitation Center, Jim had no feeling in or control over his arms and legs. He was unable to perform basic tasks such as feeding himself. As Jim gradually progressed and relearned how to walk, the therapy team at Center customized his patient room and bathroom by setting it up to mirror his surroundings at home. This made it easier for him to relearn how to perform daily tasks like grooming and getting dressed, and it enabled him to be confident in his abilities upon his return home 20 days later.

“I learned so much from my therapists at the Rehabilitation Center to help me at home,” said Jim. While at the center, he participated in “Wii-habilitation,” which uses video games like bowling and skiing to perform and practice motions that helped him regain the strength and balance to stand on his own. “The therapists and their activities helped make therapy fun for me,” Jim recalled with a smile.

A Porsche owner and enthusiast, Jim had a goal to be healthy enough to drive and be able to wax his car on his own again. A year after his diagnosis, Jim not only waxed his car but also entered it in a concourse show and won 2nd place.

These days Jim can be found driving around town and spending more time working towards his next goal of being able to dance with his wife. We are ecstatic to see how far he has come, and we wish him all the best as he continues to gain strength, increased mobility and most of all, renewed confidence.