Back to work with Methodist Rehab

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Published: May 14,2001

Being the president and general manager of a business can be a difficult job for anyone; putting such a job on a stroke victim, however, can be even more tough.

But that is exactly what Methodist Rehabilitation Center (MRC) does and did for Marshall Magee, the president and general manager of Proteus Communications (WTYX and WVIV radio stations). Magee, who had a stroke a year ago almost to the day was in St. Dominic recovering for a month, then was inpatient at MRC and a month after that was having outpatient treatment at the Rankin County facility off of Lakeland Drive. Each stop was part of the process of recuperating from the stroke.

“I was one of the lucky ones because as of today, I’m close to 100%,” Magee said. He credits the people at MRC to his recovery.

“They just basically take you step by step, getting you slowly back into a routine,” he explained.

When Magee checked into MRC he needed help putting his shirt and shoes on. Today only occasionally does his memory lapse, and he still walks with a slight limp. He also said his speech was affected a little, although talking on the phone with Magee, one would never be able to tell.

“The rehabilitation is where I got back on track to being almost 100%,” he said. “When you go through this and have those people helping you, you know if you do this and this and this you’re going to get better.”

Magee said what makes it difficult for him is his being overly critical of himself.

“Ours is a very public business,” he said. “A lot of things have happened business-wise since the stroke that have put me out in the public eye and that is a real challenge. The key to coming back is overcoming the anxiety of ‘am I doing this as well as I used to be.’”

Mark Sherer, director of neuropsychology at MRC and clinical director of the Quest Program, helps patients to get back to their jobs after a brain injury. It is something that, although difficult, can be done.

The Quest Program is for people who have had a brain injury due to traumatic injury or an aneurysm rupture and bleeding within the skull, brain tumors, anoxia, etc.

Quest provides a mixture of group and individual therapies. There are neuropsychologists who provide therapy, and speech and physical therapists as well who work with patients on occupational and vocational therapy.

After a patient has an initial assessment of their injuries, he or she is helped in addressing their impairments to either directly make them better or to compensate with other abilities.

Often, therapists help patients get back to work by simulating work activities that person might have in a work environment, then developing some tasks in the clinic so the patient can be observed in order to see what goes wrong and get around the problems. If the client is doing well, he or she might be placed back in employment on a part-time basis.

“A lot of the times the employers are very cooperative,” Sherer said. And, he added, “We think it’s important for people to make a contribution, but it also helps someone feel they’re getting their lives back together.”

For most MRC clients, Sherer said at first it is touch and go as to whether or not they are going to live, let alone whether they will return to work or not. Frequently, the problems staff at MRC have with getting people back on the job are the same types of problems everyone has.

Julie Walker, occupational therapist and therapy manager for Industrial Rehabilitation and the Quest Program, does industrial rehabilitation, functional capacity evaluations and work hardening, work conditioning and work site evaluations. She explained the Work Hardening Program.

“Work hardening is building tolerance for work activities to get back to work,” she said.

Walker works mainly with workers’ compensation-type injuries in the Work Hardening Program. She said the idea is that patients finish a four- to six-week long program and then return to work.

“Most people have been out of work a while to start with,” she said. “I have a client now I’ll go back with on the first day of work to make sure things are set up the way they need to be to prevent re-injury.”

The MRC inpatient facility is located at 1350 Woodrow Wilson Drive in Jackson. An outpatient facility is located in Flowood. The newest facility, located in Madison, is also outpatient and is called Madison-Ridgeland Physical Therapy.

Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at ekirkland@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1042.


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