From six small steps to walking corridors

September 8, 2021

Mike Padgett woke up one morning to discover he was paralyzed from the waist down.

The former Knox County Clerk had contracted a bacterial infection which settled in his spine, leading to hospitalization and surgery. After recovery, he’d had some physical rehabilitation, but had made little progress. He was only able to take a few steps and began to think this was all he’d ever be able to do again.

Then a friend told him about Siskin Hospital. She told him how she’d heard of people with injuries like Mike’s who had made great progress. She told him about the special equipment available to help get him back on his feet. Mike looked on the website to learn more and felt a spark of hope ignite.

Mike arrived on a hot summer day, able to walk six small steps. His treatment team got right to work building his strength, stamina and mobility. He used the Lokomat and FES cycle to awaken impulses in his muscles. Soon he was walking far more than six steps – he was walking corridors! Equally therapeutic was the one-on-one contact with individual therapists, at whose expertise and skill he marveled. The treatment team seemed to work effortlessly together and they cheered him on as he lifted his legs with more strength and agility each day.

Mike valued the clear communication his therapists gave him. They would explain what, together, they were working toward, pointing out the next thing they would have him do when he progressed. That sort of “carrot before the mule” approach motivated Mike, who wanted to work as hard as he could to make the most of his opportunity. But he also appreciated that his hard work would be done under his therapists’ watchful eyes so he wouldn’t have a set back and lose valuable time.

“I can’t express how wonderful everyone at Siskin Hospital is,” says Mike. “I’ve been around quite a few situations in my life, and I know good people when I see them.”