Mary Lean Thomas of Jackson was a dedicated quality control worker at Tyson Foods, Inc. for over 27 years. But when she began to develop a severe ache in her left arm, her career ended and her life changed abruptly.
to a local emergency room in the summer of 2011 and was hospitalized with the
diagnosis of a herniated cervical disk. She had surgery to repair the disk, but
when she awoke from surgery, the physician told Mary and her family that she
was paralyzed from the neck down.
After two more surgeries to repair the damage and being hospitalized again for developing a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection, Thomas went to Methodist Rehabilitation Center to begin therapy. When her therapy at Methodist was complete, she was able to sit up and stand for 30 seconds but still required assistance doing everyday tasks such as getting dressed.
In February 2012, Thomas began occupational and physical therapy at St. Dominic's Outpatient Rehabilitation. Teresa Ware, PT, St. Dominic's, said when Thomas first came to the clinic, she was in a wheelchair and being pushed by family members. "It was difficult for her to stand or move from the wheelchair to the mat," Ware said. "It has been such a joy to watch her progress from that level to using a straight cane in the community."
According to Kimberly Willis, PT, DPT, St. Dominic's, Thomas was a very motivated patient. "Mary was always so willing to try anything we asked of her," Willis said. "Besides exercise and balance activities in the therapy gym, she also participated in pool activities with our aquatics program."
Now that Thomas has regained her mobility as a result of therapy, she says she enjoys shopping, driving and socializing and hopes to get back into the workforce soon with an office-type job. "I finally have my independence back," she said. "And I am hoping to get stronger and stronger. I can now dress myself, comb my own hair, get plates out of the cabinets…just all the everyday things people take for granted that I was not able to do before."
Mary encourages patients in similar situations to stick to their therapy routines and don't give up. "Therapy works," she said. "I am proof of that. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt, because it can at times, but it pays off. There are mornings when I may want to stay in bed, but I drag myself out to do my work and I always feel better about myself afterward."
For more information about St. Dominic's Outpatient Rehabilitation services, visit www.stdom.com or call 601.200.4920.
About St. Dominic's
St. Dominic's is more than just a hospital. It is a family of services focused on fulfilling a mission of Christian healing to those in need. St. Dominic Health Services, Inc. is the parent company for a large group of subsidiary organizations and programs dedicated to the same mission. These include St. Dominic Hospital, the Community Health Services Clinic, St. Dominic Medical Associates (physician network), New Directions for Over 55, MEA Clinics, The Club at St. Dominic's, the School Nurse Program, St. Dominic's Foundation, St. Catherine's Village and Care-A-Van.
St. Dominic Hospital is a 535-bed tertiary care hospital located in Jackson, MS serving all of central Mississippi and employs approximately 3,000 nurses, physicians, and skilled caregivers. The medical staff, of nearly 500 leading physicians and specialists, makes St. Dominic's one of the most comprehensive hospitals in Mississippi. Through nearly seven decades, St. Dominic's has remained true to its vision. We are St. Dominic's – a Christian healing community called to provide quality, compassionate care and an Exceptional Encounter Everytime.
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