Dr. Howard Wold
A little mosquito bite can do big damage. Ask Dr. Howard Wold who was left paralyzed from the neck down due to one.
After experiencing total body weakness, pain in his right leg and unbreakable fevers, Wold sought medical attention and was diagnosed with West Nile Virus which is spread by infected mosquitoes. Over a short period of time, his body began to lose all function due to meningitis which led to his paralysis. No longer could he walk, reposition himself, care for himself or speak in his extremely strong and articulate voice.
After travelling to Houston for specialty medical care, Wold came back home and was transferred to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Alexandria, an inpatient rehabilitation hospital that provides comprehensive physical therapy services in a hospital setting.
“I wanted to get into the hands of Dr. Vasudeva Dhulipala,” said Wold.
Dhulipala, HealthSouth Alexandria’s medical director, specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, a field of medicine devoted to restoring movement and function to patients overcoming a variety of debilitating illnesses and injuries. As medical director, he oversees a comprehensive plan of care that includes 15 hours per week of intensive physical, occupational and speech-language therapies.
“The ability to have at your disposal the expertise in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy and the physiatrist’s role in all of this – it’s just a tremendous asset,” said Wold. “That’s available [at HealthSouth Alexandria] and very high quality in all of those fields.”
During his four weeks as an inpatient at HealthSouth Alexandria, he worked with therapists on many intensive exercises including those that emulated patterns of muscle movements and nerve conduction, strengthened his affected left arm, and helped him find his voice again.
Fourteen months post illness, he visited HealthSouth Alexandria to show his progress to his former therapy team and the tears started flowing from Senior Speech Therapist Jane Upton’s eyes in amazement. Wold is showing significant recovery and inspiring everyone he meets.
While he still continues outpatient therapy, he is now walking with assistance of a walker and/or cane and his articulate, strong voice has returned.
Wold is still yearning to get back to full function and has returned to providing care for his patients thanks to the power of rehabilitation.