Client Name: Tim O.
Hometown: Staten Island, NY
Injury Date: 10/19/09
Injury: C-5 / C-6
Start Date: 05/20/12
On October 18, 2009, Tim had been experiencing pain between his shoulder blades and decided to go to the emergency room to see what was going on. In his line of work with the New York City Fire Department, Tim was no stranger to the occasional back ache. The hospital sent him home with medication for the pain and told him it was most likely a disk problem. That night around 11 p.m., Tim went to sleep, but awoke at 5 a.m. to use the restroom and his back pain had disappeared. However, Tim woke up again at 8 a.m. to the horrifying discovery that he could not get out of bed because he had lost feeling in his legs and was immediately rushed to the hospital.
Tim was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis at his C-5 and C-6 vertebrae. The paralysis was moving up his body and caused his lungs to stop, forcing the doctors to put him into a medically induced coma. After about six weeks that left his family with the fear that Tim might not make it, he finally awoke from his coma with no idea of the amount of time that had passed.
This disease took Tim and his family by complete surprise and had instant effects on them. In addition to Tim’s lower body paralysis, both of his arms were completely paralyzed, only having motion in his left fingers. Tim relied on the support of his family and friends to get him through this difficult time, “you really find out who your friends are,” said Tim. Forced into retirement due to the drastic lifestyle changes of the disease, Tim and his wife looked to family and friends for aid. His support system held a fundraiser to help lessen the blow of the expenses that Tim’s road to recovery would cost.
Tim had undergone three months of in-patient at Mount Sinai and a year of out-patient rehabilitation Staten Island University Hospital, but he wanted more. Doctors told him this was the end of the line in terms of recovery, but Tim was determined to find a place that worked towards his personal goals of further mobility. One day, a friend sent him a link to Push to Walk. He did some research, and the rest is history. Tim has been coming to Push to Walk twice a week since March 2012. During the summer months, Tim comes to Push to Walk once a week, but trains himself in his pool under the workout guidelines of his Push to Walk trainers. Push to Walk has increased his overall strength and energy, while even helping him to lose weight. More so than the physical benefits, Push to Walk has given him a sense of community that has been hard for him to find elsewhere.
Before the disease, Tim loved riding his motorcycle (including four cross-country rides). He hopes to one day be able to ride his motorcycle cross-country again. He enjoys being outside and traveling. Tim continues to work hard at staying active, by participating in events like the New Jersey Half Marathon on Team Push to Walk. Since his injury, Tim has accomplished more than he ever thought he would be able to and looks forward to what this new life brings.