Bill Eldridge is a pioneer in building trails on the Cumberland Plateau, including on Black Mountain and Brady Mountain.
He is a very active man.
So when Guillain-Barré syndrome, which attacks the nerves, started keeping Eldridge from getting around like he used to, he knew he had to do something about that.
Covenant Home Health and Eldridge’s doctor, Kimberly Peaslee, referred him to Life Care Center of Crossville, Tennessee, for rehabilitation. When he arrived on Jan. 19, 2018, he required extensive assistance to walk and bathe and moderate assistance to get in and out of bed, balance while standing and dress himself.
Physical and occupational therapists set out to restore Eldridge’s independence and get him on his feet again and back outside. Occupational therapy addressed his ability to take care of himself and trained him in the upper-body motions he needed for grooming, bathing and getting dressed. Physical therapy primarily addressed his mobility – standing, walking, standing up and sitting down.
Because the great outdoors is so important to Eldridge, physical therapists had him practice walking on different floors and surfaces, such as gravel.
"Lisa [Cravens, physical therapist assistant] and Kari [Browning, occupational therapist assistant] were my therapists,” said Eldridge. “They urged me to stay positive and walk tall. Lisa was like an army sergeant – she demanded excellence.”
“Bill was very determined to get better and worked hard every day,” said Cravens. “He gave 110 percent and did wonderful with meeting his goals.”
As Eldridge progressed, he was known to sing “I’ve got high hopes” around the building.
Eldridge regained near full independence, only needing supervision for bathing, and on April 28, he returned home.
Now, he’s able to walk out in the fresh air at his leisure again.