Coming back from a life-altering injury can be a long, painstaking process. That's exactly what Sutherland Springs survivor Kris Workman is dealing with right now. Six months ago, in a matter of minutes, the mass shooting changed his world forever.
"I severed my spine due to a gunshot wound, a bullet., nearly complete severance at the L2 vertebrae, which means most of the nerves have been severed and cut," said Workman, who’s now in a wheelchair. "That was a tough transition for me because I was very self-sufficient before the injury happened. I'm paraplegic, so without the use of my legs, I have to use my arms a lot to move."
Occupational therapist Stephanie Cavazos works at the Reeves Rehabilitation Center and is helping Workman with his recovery. She says that occupational therapy is different than physical therapy. Physical therapy is more about muscle function and gaining strength while occupational therapy focuses on activities of daily living.
"Building up endurance, building up a range of motion, strength, and also incorporating functional activities into it," Cavazos said. "It's functional transfers, getting in out of bed, getting into the shower, things like that."
"Getting me to do the things I'm going to be doing on a day-to-day basis, you don't think about them ‘til you have to," Workman said.
At Reeves, therapists work with their patients on their road to recovery by incorporating games to make it less tedious.
"Instead of saying, ‘Stand with a timer for five minutes,’ I say, 'Go wash your dishes,’ or ‘Hey, go play this game with your grandkids where you are standing up outside and having to throw or toss a ball' or something like that," Cavazos described.
Fun and games aside, Workman is hopeful about his prognosis.
"God is big, and you know, if God says that I will walk again, then maybe I will," he said.
But until then, he'll keep working with Cavazos to regain control of those nerves and muscles which, for now, are hopefully just taking a long rest.
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