Sports marketing professional Chris Kildow, 44, of Fairfield, knows a lot about athletics. And just like the athletes he represents, he keeps himself fit and healthy. To suddenly fall ill and then lose the use of his legs within hours of entering the NorthBay Medical Center Emergency Department was something no one could have predicted.
Chris had become the victim of two rare viruses that attacked his spinal cord, shutting off communication between his brain and legs. What started with pain in his knees and ankles now threatened his mobility. “After three weeks I went home in a wheelchair and my doctor told me it would take six months for me to get back to work,” Chris says. But his doctor had underestimated Chris’ drive to get well.
He was referred to NorthBay Rehabilitation Services and began working with therapists Sharon Comer and Paul Tepora several times a week.
“Physical therapy is hard work. But the hardest part is the mental challenge,” Chris explains. “Imagine having to learn to walk again at age 44—it’s very sobering. Suddenly the little things I took for granted became very important.”
He put all of his energy into the program and returned to work in just a month. “When I was in the hospital I saw people with horrible injuries refusing to do their part in physical therapy,” Chris remembers. “My approach was that I needed to get as much out of this program as possible. At first, I didn’t feel like I was making progress but I had to trust the physical therapist when she told me things would get better. You have to believe that it’s going to happen and I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without the care and treatment I received from Sharon and Paul.”
His hard work and faith have paid off. He was recently able to join his physical therapist in running a 5K race, and is looking forward to a half marathon.