At 10 years old, Jocelyn Carr is notorious for having a huge heart for people, being outdoors, participating in sports and playing with her younger sisters. When diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, Jocelyn was left paralyzed from the neck down, turning the lives of the Carr family upside down.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disorder where the body's immune system attacks the nerves. The initial symptoms of tingling felt throughout the extremities can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing the whole body.
Needing additional care for the rare disease, Jocelyn was flown from her small community in Montana to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children's Hospital. “Then she was strong enough that she could to come to St. Luke's,” says Koliss Carr, Jocelyn's mom.
A customized rehabilitation plan created by Jocelyn's therapist provided speech, physical, occupational and recreational therapies to help the recovery process. However, it was therapy in the pool that Jocelyn's body responded to.
“She is a fish in the water,” Koliss says about Jocelyn. “The warm water was a huge ticket for Jocelyn's ability to warm up her muscles.”
“They do cater to younger girls and boys,” Koliss says, referring to the staff at St. Luke's. “They brought a bicycle in for Jocelyn, and they play games with her.”
“They make it somehow fun, like it's therapy but it doesn't seem like it,” Jocelyn says.
Another therapy Jocelyn participated in was baking cookies and brownies with her therapists to help her regain her motor skills. “I learned something, “Jocelyn says, “cookies taste better here.”
Jocelyn says she holds a special place in her heart for all of her therapists at St. Luke's. “I don't have a favorite therapist, they're all my favorite!”
“Having Jocelyn be paralyzed from the neck down and watching her walk all over again, it's just like having a brand new kiddo walk for the first time,” says Koliss.
And, as for what she would like to say to the staff at St. Luke's, “Obviously, thank you,” Koliss says, “but I don't think there is anything that I could say or do to show my gratitude.”
St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute, the largest free- standing rehabilitation hospital in the region, treats people of all ages. Click here to learn more about pediatric inpatient and outpatient services
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