Glen Cove, L.I. — He says looking back, it was gradual, but Jim Gallagher went from a seemingly healthy and active senior to having trouble standing and sitting properly.
"My son had a destination wedding in Costa Rica. I couldn’t keep up with them. They were going and doing things," Jim Gallagher said.
After months of thinking it was a back problem, Jim finally went to a neurologist who sent him for an MRI of the brain.
"When they took the MRI, they found there was a mass that shouldn’t have been there," Gallagher said.
It was actually spinal fluid that was leaking into his brain.
Doctors decided to put in a permanent shunt that would continually drain the fluid and sent Jim to the rehab facility at Northwell Health’s Glen Cove Hospital.
"You’re on a special machine here?" Mr. G asked.
"Yes, yes," Gallagher said.
"They bought this as a Christmas present?" Mr. G asked.
"Yes, for my birthday," Gallagher said.
That's where he was introduced to the G-EO, a robot that helps to get people walking again.
"As a physical therapist, I have him safely supported with a harness. His feet are in the plates and the plates move his feet and guide him in a normal walking pattern, so that his body relearns the patterns that he may have lost from an injury a brain injury whatever that is," therapist Dianne Leone said.
There are just eight of them in the entire United States. And the only G-EO in New York state is in Glen Cove, Long Island.
"Northwell really looks for innovative ideas, and this is very much an innovative idea," director of Rehabilitation Services Carey Otterstedt said.
After working with the G-EO for three days, Gallagher said he's already walking better.
"They’re telling me that I’m going to be able to getting out of here in a week," he said.
Leone said the machine has "so many capabilities" that will help make therapists' jobs easier -- and safer for patients.
" For a therapist where it may take four people to walk a patient who is very impaired, this lets me free up other staff to work on other patients where I can just dedicate my time and not hurt him or myself," Leone said.
Asked what he learned from this experience, Gallagher said: "Not to do it again! No, I just learned that there's some great people around and they’re looking out for me."