Health Fair: Senior rehabilitation
A debilitating injury meant a long-time civil servant could no longer work. But he's not giving up. In an effort to give back, he works to get well.
Small, supervised and specific movements are part of the prescription for Bob Ervin's recovery after an abscess on his lower spine led to emergency surgery. Afterward, Bob was bed-ridden.
"I couldn't walk," he said. "I was diagnosed as a paraplegic. I couldn't move anything. I was total care. It was awful - god awful. So the thing that was challenging to me, not only was it the physical part but also the mental part...because I went from total independency to total dependency within a 24 hour period."
That led to depression. at first, it was hard for the former township and state worker to ask for help.
"I didn't want to appear weak," Bob said. "With me, we have this ego thing about us and we don't want to feel weak and I've always been independent. I've always taken care of myself I never depend on anything or anyone my whole life. So it was a very traumatic experience for me to go through that."
But he got physical and mental support at Forest Creek Village.
"He's made significant progress, like he's gained strength in his legs and he's able to walk," said Bob's physical therapist, Sridevi Thotakura.
It's steady progress and with it came a desire to do more.
"I probably always will have a disability," Bob said, "and the issue is what do I do with that disability?"
He was elected to president of the resident council. "I'm like a liaison between the patients - my peers - and management."
It's a role he's miss after two years and 8 months of work, because he soon will head to assisted living - a goal many doubted he'd ever reach.
Bob's message, "Never, never, never give up."
"I think you should stay motivated, reach to your inner self, whether it's spiritual, whether it is your mom and dad, whatever you have encountered in your life. Grab on to that and use it to push. You surround yourself with supportive professional people...and you can do whatever you need to do."
You can learn more about rehabilitation and assisted living options at our Senior Health Fair this Saturday at Community Hospital South from 9 a.m. until noon.
There are free health screenings and information about benefits for veterans.