Dubuque Woman Uses Therapy Pool to Recover from Guillain-Barre Syndrome

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - 30-year old Bridget Hamilton is a Dubuque teacher who's recovering from Guilllain-Barre Syndrome. That's a disorder where the body's immune system attacks its nerves.The illness left her temporarily paralyzed and in an Iowa City hospital bed for several weeks. She's now on the road to recovery getting help from an unexpected place.

Getting out of a chair, and walking across her living room is a major milestone for Hamiliton.

Hamilton said, "simple things like getting dressed and reaching for my feet for my socks and my shoes and to get dressed. It's all becoming a lot more easy for me. "

She says a lot of those accomplishments first happened underwater.

Hamilton said, "Where I can barely lift my legs up here, in the water I can get that full range of motion. "

Stonehill Retirement Center installed a Hydro Works therapy pool last fall to help the residents who live there.

Physical Therapist Rachel McDermott said, "the resistance of the water is really helpful because it's kind of like walking with a weight on. "

After seeing Hamiliton's story, directors here invited her to take a dip.

"The treadmill floor raise to the height of the floor, so they have bars and I just walk right on the the treadmill and they lower me down, " said Hamilton.

Never did Hamilton, 30, expect treatment along side the elderly.

Hamillton said, "when someone said, Stonehill. I'm like 'that's a nursing home where my grandma went, what do you mean re-hab'? "

But, in the hydro-works pool, her body feels weightless. The exercises help restore her balance and coordination. And At 25 weeks pregnant, those skills are critical.

"Most importantly I am just trying to get my strength back to get healthy for my baby, " said Hamilton.
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