Scalise faces a long road in rehab

Congressman Steve Scalise took a major step this week when, six weeks after being shot, he moved out of the hospital and into intensive inpatient rehabilitation.It's unclear how long he will be in rehab, but Scalise's doctors said the recovery would mos

NEW ORLEANS -- Congressman Steve Scalise took a major step this week when, six weeks after being shot, he moved out of the hospital and into intensive inpatient rehabilitation.

It's unclear how long he will be in rehab, but Scalise's doctors said the recovery would most likely be long.

So what happens with this type of program? Another patient allowed us to see the hard work that goes on.

Like Steve Scalise, 47-year-old Chris Irvine was completely independent and then quickly lost the ability to care for himself.

It wasn't from a high powered gunshot wound. Chris got a simple urinary tract infection, but while fighting it, his immune system went haywire and started attacking the nerves that move his muscles.

It's called Guillain-Barré syndrome -- and it's rare.

"Friday morning the alarm went off. I went to hit it and couldn't touch the alarm. I could not roll over," said Irvine, a Bastrop, Louisiana resident.

Chris is now doing inpatient, long-term rehab at Touro. A team of doctors, nurses, physical, occupational and speech therapists, along with wound care, pain management, education and emotional counseling are part of a daily, intense program.

"If this had hit me in my 20s or even 30s, I don't know that I would have mentally been able to deal with it," Irvine said.

"It's different for everybody dealing with an injury like that. You can be angry, upset, but mostly our job is to instill hope," explained Touro Staff Physical Therapist Rachel West.

With the medical team's encouragement, positive outlook and skills, Chris is walking again and getting better one baby step at a time.

"They're positive about everything. I mean, they expect that I'll be able to do it, so I know I'll be able to do it," Irvine said.

And just being in a hospital bed for so long, as Scalise has been, Chris lost muscle strength to do the simple things we can take for granted.

"Bed rest is no one's friend, but it takes a lot of work to build back up endurance, so just getting out of bed can be a task in itself," West said.

But through the frustration and muscle aches, there is progress.

The rehab also helps family members since they are going through an adjustment period as well and will need to help the patient too.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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