Big Dreams and the Little Steps to Get There

Dolores and Moises having fun!

In six hours, 35-year-old Moises went from a healthy, hardworking young man to one fully paralyzed and dependent on people or machines for everything.

Moises was the one in 100,000 people who contract Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare and little understood autoimmune disorder, where the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, affecting all parts of the body.

Moises spent two months in the hospital and eight months in a nursing home, bedridden, but working to regain the ability to move. After discharge, he continued rehabilitation—but still unable to walk or use his hands, he was stuck at home and unable to work, and he became depressed. His doctor suggested he add the Collabria Day Program to his rehabilitation efforts.

The Day Program was the last place he thought he wanted to be. “I spent eight months in one room in a nursing home,” Moises explains. “I was afraid this would be more of the same.”

But he began coming three days a week. Within a few months, Moises’ endurance and strength had improved and he now walks comfortably with a walker. He was unable to hold a pen and had to use his tongue to dial his phone when he started, but he can now write and dial his phone by hand. He joined the men’s support group, and his father now also attends the Day Program, so he no longer feels isolated, and enjoys the company. He is also studying English and practicing his writing.

But the Day Program has helped beyond rehabilitation and support, by helping Moises regain the confidence to think big again—to focus on life beyond his illness—and help him find the steps to get there.

Having worked in construction for eight years, Moises has begun the process of applying for his contractor’s license, as well as researching other options for running his own business—“so I can bring in an income again”—with the help of staff and the Day Program’s iPads to conduct his research.

“When I was in the hospital, I just wanted to run away—I felt hopeless. But the Day Program? It’s given me back hope for my future.”

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