Anthony Antwine sits on a chair in his hospital room, scrolling through the songs saved on his cell phone, looking for just the right one.
By the time his physical therapist, Jasmine Melian, arrives, Anthony has selected his ‘hype music’ and is ready to walk to the gym to the beat of his selected song. He is so happy to actually be walking, because just a few short weeks prior, he had no feeling in his legs, and couldn’t walk at all.
Anthony operates a limousine service, and he believes he injured his back in late 2019 while lifting luggage into the trunk of one of his vehicles.
“It started as a tingling sensation that began in my fingers,” he said. “Soon after, while at home one day, I fell and could not get back up. I could not move my legs.”
His wife called an ambulance, which took him to Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital. From there, he was transferred to Memorial Hermann–Texas Medical Center for further testing. Then, he was transferred to Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, where it was suggested he be transferred to Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital – Katy for rehabilitative care for his back.
“When he arrived at our hospital, he was experiencing pain and weakness – he needed assistance with everything,” said Dr. Darshe Edge, Physical Medicine and Rehab (PM&R) an affiliated specialist at Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital - Katy. “After two weeks with no improvements, I needed to think outside of the box. I realized that he had weakness, numbness and tingling in his right upper limb that was spreading to his left upper limb, which indicated to me that the issue was in his neck, and not in his back after all.”
Dr. Edge ordered an MRI, and a neurosurgery consultation for Anthony at Memorial Hermann–TMC. The outcome of the consultation was surgery to repair an injury to Anthony’s neck—just as Dr. Edge had suspected. The procedure was done at Memorial Hermann–TMC.
“Immediately following the surgery, I was able to move my legs!” said Anthony.
To complete his recovery, he returned to inpatient care at Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital – Katy.
“Anthony initially had difficulty with bilateral lower extremity strength and core strength,” said Jasmine. “He had concerns about progressing so we encouraged him to ‘do the best he could.’ We focused on trunk strengthening performing modified sit ups sitting on the edge of a mat to increase core and trunk strength and modified squats using a rolling walker, as well as performing sitting to standing transitions from the edge of the mat.”
“My therapists pushed me to the edge and made sure I worked hard,” said Anthony. “The harder I worked, the stronger I got. Finally, I was walking again with a walker. I couldn’t believe it!”
Walking to the gym with his favorite songs playing in the background became a sort of victory lap for Anthony.
As he progressed, Anthony began seeing an increase in his strength and endurance, and continued pushing himself. Jasmine added heavy weights into this therapy sessions, which could help prepare him to once again be able to lift his clients’ luggage into the back of a limousine, and increased the number of repetitions to his activities.
“When Anthony would walk using his rolling walker, he required moderate physical assistance especially since he would have intermittent lower extremity buckling,” said Jasmine. “But we encouraged Anthony to keep walking, even during those scary times he would buckle. We made sure he was safe and built up his confidence. “
After two months at Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital – Katy, Anthony was discharged home in February 2020 and begin outpatient therapy. His goals are to walk without assistance and begin driving again so that he can return to work.
“I’m very determined, so I know I will do it,” he said.
“Anthony pushed himself daily and everyday set a new goal to increase his efforts and success from the previous day,” said Jasmine. “Eventually, Anthony was able to go home and be with his family. He succeeded with the ultimate goal for all of our patients—going home!”
After outpatient rehabilitation at Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital – Katy for two months, he was discharged from outpatient care and is now working with a Memorial Hermann fitness specialist who is helping him towards his goals of walking on his own. He continues to exercise to increase his strength and conditioning as he gets back to his normal activities in preparation to return to his job.
“I can’t believe how far I’ve come!” he said.