Severe Illness Shifts Young Father From Feeding His Toddler To Being Fed By Him

10/27/2014 1:00:00 AM

People often think of physical therapy as a little bit of exercise to build up strength after knee surgery, or to relieve pain from a sore back.

Others such as Jeremy Reus, a patient of Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation, see it as an important bridge between serious, debilitating illness and an independent life.

"You have to listen to your therapists and do what they tell you to do," Reus said. "They're out for your own good. They want you to be independent and functioning."

Physical therapy is a specific science and art that uses a wide variety of evidence-based treatments to restore function to the body, reduce pain and prevent future injuries. On any given day, a therapist may be treating a senior citizen who had hip replacement surgery, an adult suffering from vertigo/balance disorders, an individual who was injured on the job, or a college or high school athlete recovering from a sports-related injury.

Oct. 31 concludes National Physical Therapy Month.

Reus, 39, is a married father of one and a full-time student at the University of North Texas. His plans to further his career with an advanced degree derailed earlier this year, though, when a respiratory infection progressed into Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a condition in which the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system, often resulting in paralysis, as in Reus's case.

After two months on a ventilator in the intensive care unit, therapists helped Reus learn how to hold small objects, how to eat, how to dress himself, how to stand, how to walk with a walker and then braces and a cane, and more recently how to walk up steps.

"It was very daunting and overwhelming. Believe me, seeing a 2-year-old feeding Daddy is hilarious," he said. "I realized I had to work to get to a certain level."

Reus received six weeks of intensive inpatient therapy and is continuing rehabilitation as an outpatient. His therapists have been impressed with his determination and desire.

"When he was in acute care, Jeremy was barely able to move, much less walk, due to significant weakness throughout his body," said Amanda Britton-Carpenter, PT, DPT, an outpatient therapist at Baylor Rehab in Grapevine. "Now he is able to walk in the community with a rolling walker and is transitioning to ambulation with a single point cane. He is also able to walk short distances without a device, and he is able to stand and hold his young son again."

Reus is still fighting the disease, but the therapy he has received has raised hope that he'll be able to go back to school in the spring and graduate in May 2016.

"The nerves and feelings are still coming back," he said. "I see the doctor on Nov. 11 and hope to get released for driving and going back to school. The biggest challenge will be listening to my body. My mind's 100 percent ready to go but my body is the most important thing."

To learn more about Baylor physical therapy services, visit

About Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation
Since 1981, Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation (Baylor Rehab) has helped people overcome serious disabilities and return to full, productive lives. Baylor Rehab's interdisciplinary clinical teams – made up of physicians, nurses, therapists and other rehabilitation professionals – partner with patients and their families to design and implement treatment plans to achieve each patient's unique goals. Baylor Rehab  has received repeat recognition as one of the country's top rehabilitation hospitals in U.S. News & World Report's annual "America's Best Hospitals" report, and been designated by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research as a model system for the treatment and care of patients with traumatic brain injuries. Baylor Rehab is a joint venture between Baylor Health Care System and Select Medical Corporation and includes four freestanding hospitals – Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation at Dallas, Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation at Northwest Dallas, Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation at Frisco and Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation at Fort Worth. Baylor Rehab also manages acute inpatient rehabilitation units at Baylor All Saints Medical Center and Baylor Medical Center at Irving. In addition, Baylor Rehab operates more than 50 outpatient therapy centers and offers home health services.

About Baylor Scott & White Health
Baylor Scott & White Health, the organization formed from the 2013 merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare, is today the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas. With total assets of $9 billion* and serving a population larger than the state of Virginia, Baylor Scott & White Health has the vision and resources to provide its patients continued quality care while creating a model system for a dramatically changing health care environment. The organization now includes 49 hospitals, more than 800 access points, more than 5,800 active physicians, 35,000 employees and the Scott & White Health Plan. For More Information visit:

* based on audited fiscal year 2013 financial statements


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Kristine Hughes
[email protected]
office:  (214) 820-7556
cell:  (214) 755-0010