One of the great things about water, is you can do things in a pool you can't do on land especially if you are facing some health constraints. Nancy Naeve Brown went to Aberdeen to see how a man with multiple sclerosis is finding relief with warm water therapy at Avera St. Luke's.
Jesse Luce lives for his time in the warm water therapy pool at the Avera St. Luke's Physical and Aquatic Center in Aberdeen. For most of his adult life, Jesse has been a firefighter and EMT, but since he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 the disease has slowly taken away this mobility and his ability to do what he loves to do most fight fires and save lives.
Jesse says, "My left foot I have no idea where it is. I have no sensation. I can't feel if I lift it. If I'm dragging it I can feel it in my hips so that's how I know it's moving."
He started using a power wheel chair a little over a year ago and added physical therapy here with Michelle Johnson. The pool does have a lift so people like Jesse can get in and out and into their wheelchair on their own.
Avera St. Luke's Physical Therapist Michelle Johnson says, "The warm water pool is very good for someone with MS because of the buoyancy. A lot of patients are unable to walk so being able to get them upright on their feet can help strengthen them, get them out of the same position they are in all day. It helps work with muscle control, posture, balance through trunk and core".
Jesse says, "There's just so many things, Michelle's been wonderful with different exercises and cracking the whip all the time."
Michelle says, "He's doing stuff he never though he'd do again and he's doing it now and doing it well. I had 24 visits with him one on one. Now he is able to do his own program I don't have to help him. He never thought he would snorkel again especially in Aberdeen."
He is also able to get up some steps to visit his brother which is no easy feat when you can't feel your feet and have little to no sensation on the left side of your body.
Jesse says, "My brother lives in an assisted living center and you have to go up 3 steps to get in. And I can do it now. I go to have coffee with him. That was my goal of getting in there to see him. He has a hard time getting out and I have a hard time getting in".
In the water, Jesse has no limitations.
Jesse says, "It's tremendous, just tremendous. If it didn't do anything at all, and I'm sure it is, but if it did nothing at all for my body, it is doing a wonder for my brain. To be able to stand up and I call it walking but it's floating across the in a vertical manner, that's helped my mental attitude a lot."
Warm water therapy 3 times a week has proven to be good for Jesse's body, good for his psyche and for a good guy who's devoted his life to serving others, this is so good to hear.
For more information on Avera St. Luke's Physical & Aquatic Center in Aberdeen:
or call 605-622-4055