“I first went into rehab at BMC with a wheelchair and a slide board.
I’m now working toward the goal of walking with a cane."
It all started at a dinner out with friends one evening, when James Cozzaglio of Adams got up from the table and realized he could hardly move. An original diagnosis of sciatica evolved into spinal stenosis. Pain injections and other treatments failed to ease his symptoms and his situation grew progressively worse. Jim, the former bursar at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, underwent surgery in 2008 to relieve his pain, but in the course of recovering from that procedure, his specialists discovered a fistula on his spine that required additional major surgeries.
Jim spent two months in a rehab facility in the Eastern end of the state before being released to his home during the fall of 2008. Still facing a long recovery ahead, he contacted the Center for Rehabilitation at Berkshire Medical Center for help.
“When I started therapy at BMC, I was pretty much confined to a wheelchair,” he said. “By the time I finished my first round of therapy, I was using a walker and crutches, which was a big improvement for me. I’ve gone back to BMC for more rehab to improve my gait and for better mobility and can now use a cane. The last few times I walked the parallel bars, I was able to do it without assistance and without actually using the bars.”
“Everything about BMC - from the initial visit and consultation to working with the therapists – has been an excellent experience,” he continued. “The two therapists working with me have been immensely helpful. Their encouragement has helped keep me focused and motivated. It’s easy to sit back and ask ‘why me?’ You can’t control what happens. All you can do is keep working to get better and gain greater mobility.”
Jim also expressed admiration for the skill and expertise he found at the Center for Rehabilitation at BMC. “I’m deeply impressed with the therapists and the extent of their knowledge and training. And the facilities are great! That gym has a lot of equipment that someone in my situation can certainly utilize to get better. I first went into rehab at BMC with a wheelchair and a slide board. I’m now working toward the goal of walking with a cane.”
In addition, the therapists have provided Jim and his wife, Joyce, with a regimen of daily exercises to strengthen his lower extremities to improve his mobility. “My wife has been my shining star through all of this,” Jim said. “With her assistance, I do the exercises every day. I treat it as a job. I want to be able to enjoy my family, and we have two grandchildren that I want to keep up with.”