Rehabilitation Mexican-style is not so much different from rehabilitation American-style—some of the same equipment and a troop of cheerful, helpful therapists. The doctor in attendance is Dr. Hugo Ernesto Ramirez. He directs a smaller staff than is available at Banner Health in Phoenix, but as at Banner, individual attention is paramount.
When I enrolled in Centro de Rehabilitación parquet Los Mangos, a Mexican, federally-sponsored program, I was made to feel as welcome as any Mexican citizen undergoing treatment. I attend fisico terapia twice a week. The regimen includes use of a stationary bicycle, weights on pulleys, static hand bars, and E-Stemo, an electronic shock device that activates the nerves in leg and arm muscles. These are similar to the electronic devices that Kaela, one of my super-therapists at Banner used to help me regain use of my paralyzed arm. Except here, I do not wear the device, but am brought to a bed next to a table where the E-Stem machines are housed and the electrodes attached to my limbs. I am treated for 30 minutes while I recline on the bed.
The Los Mangos Rehab Center is so named because the facility is tucked among mango trees in an old, but still productive orchard. Patients are encouraged to pick and eat the sweet, tree-ripened fruit. During this time of year, many of the mangos have dropped onto the lawn beneath the trees and are easily gathered.
I was asked that first day of admittance what my primary goal was. “Walking,” was of course my response, and I am happy to report that I am now walking, though not quite on my own yet. Much credit for this accomplishment goes to the solid foundation of therapy, particularly with regard to my balance, provided me by Evan at Banner Health. Walking activity includes negotiating the safe environs of the rehab facility, strolling the cobblestone streets in front of our little pink casa with the assistance of Sergio, a good friend andfishing buddy, aand strolling around the perimeter of our ocean view patio (one hand on the rail). Those first few uncertain steps brought tears to my eyes in such volume that Denise said I darn near needed a set of windshield wipers attached to my face.