Wheelchair-bound woman walks for first time in four years

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 3:41 PM CST
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Jodi Oehms is finally on the right path.

On Wednesday, the Sunplex Subacute Center patient walked - with assistance - for the first time in four years. The moment was caught by staff cheering her on.

“I felt like a giant,” she said. “I’ve been sitting in this chair for four years. I felt big. Tall.”

Oehms has been dealing with pain, frustration and setbacks for 10 years after a car ran over her foot. In her second go-around as a resident at the center, she made a personal commitment to get better.

“I am doing this because of myself - to get myself motivated again and get me a decent place to stay and be on my own,” Oehms added.

The process has been hard.

“It hurt,” Oehms said. “But no pain, no gain, right? Got to keep on going. If you want it. If you lay on your butt, what are you going to get? You don’t get nothing.”

For her therapy team, attitude is everything.

“We can only do so much as therapists and we don’t want to force somebody, in a sense, to do something that they don’t want to do,” said physical therapist assistant Nicholas Leslie. “But in Jodi’s instance she had not only the work ethic but also the attitude to want to get better.”

That means the chances are better for a complete recovery.

“I do feel good about her chances,” said certified occupational therapy assistant. “I feel like if she keeps up this level of motivation and work ethic and she goes home and she keeps doing it, working out, exercising, I think she can really be successful.”

It has been an emotional journey for Oehms. But a good team behind her - pushed by personal motivation - has helped.

“I appreciate everything everybody’s done for me. Thank my family for being beside me,” she said tearing up. “And I want to see my two boys.”

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