Heartbeat : Occupational Therapy Month and Impact on Patients

LUBBOCK, TX - April is Occupational Therapy Month. To celebrate, a patient at Covenant shared how occupational therapy benefits her and her family.

Maria Nejara was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease about three years ago. After an accident where she fell, she worked with Johnny Waggoner, an occupational therapist at Covenant, to help get with her walking.

"[Waggoner] taught me how to walk straight, how to stretch my muscles whenever I did the exercise, and well, as far as I'm concerned, I really enjoyed coming, because he made it fun and easy," she said. "But he really, really talked to me, making sure I was a fighter, aggressive and everything. Not to let the Parkinson's take me the other way, but for me to fight it."

Maria said she and Waggoner worked together four days a week.

"I tell [Waggoner] it's like I had a little recording in my brain when I'm doing things at the house," she said.

Maria's husband Paul said he could see the impact the occupational therapy had on her.

"When we first come here, I didn't think that it would help Mary that much, because I couldn't see a lot of the things she was doing wrong, until Johnny got to working with her and then I could see she wasn't doing anything right, most of it was wrong," Paul said "Especially with her walking, she was always looking down, you know, we take walking for granted."

Now, Paul and Maria said they are taking a family vacation that Maria wasn't sure they'd be able to take before.

"Now she's very confident that we can make it," Paul said.

Waggoner said it's seeing people 

"When the spouse comes back in and tells me they're doing certain things now, they're walking better, they're safer, they haven't fallen," Waggoner said. "Falling is one of the main things we're looking at because I get people that have fallen three to four times a day, so in a matter of two to four weeks, they're not falling at all at the house or in the community, that's what makes it all good."

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