By Stephanie Daugherty, physical therapist and assistant director of rehab
Jeffery McCarthy was admitted to Life Care Center of South Hill in Puyallup, Washington, on Jan. 5, 2017, after being hospitalized for sepsis secondary to methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.
MRSA is a form of bacteria that cannot be treated with the most common form of antibiotic. McCarthy’s strength was diminished from the immense pain stemming from the infection.
Upon arrival, McCarthy required excessive assistance to accomplish all tasks essential to returning home.
“When I first got here, it took three people and a machine to get out of bed,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy’s wife was also wheelchair-bound, so he would have no one to help him with his needs once he returned home.
McCarthy began his journey using the hoyer lift for getting in and out of bed and hardly having any movement of either of his legs. Slowly, through much strengthening, he began standing in the parallel bars. However, because of the pain from the infection in his leg, he could not bear enough weight on his right leg to begin walking.
Determination finally got him moving. On Feb. 10, McCarthy began his small first steps in the parallel bars. He progressed to walking with a front-wheeled walker and continued to push himself farther.
"Now I can walk 1,081 feet in six minutes,” McCarthy boasted.
But McCarthy still had to be able to climb up the three steps leading into his house. Feb. 22 was the first day he climbed the small staircase in the gym and, one step at a time, made it up without falter.
McCarthy has trekked a long journey, pushing beyond expectation – from wheelchair-bound to walking over and around any obstacles in his way. On March 29, 2017, McCarthy returned home.