During the summer, Wayne Bullock was in a world of pain.
But a mere three weeks of physical therapy at the New Community Extended Care Facility made a world of difference for the 57-year-old Newark resident.
“I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t bend,” Bullock recalled. But his progress since then has been remarkable, he noted. “I went from a wheelchair to a walker to a cane,” he said.
After being discharged from Saint Michael’s Medical Center in August, Bullock came to the New Community Extended Care Facility for rehabilitation. Previously, Bullock said he had health issues with his liver that also impacted his mobility.
“I couldn’t bend my legs but I said, it’ll pass,” he said. But suddenly one day, his legs collapsed, he said.
“My legs were like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz,” Bullock said with a chuckle. “I thought in my mind that I would never walk again.”
Staff at Saint Michael’s referred Bullock to Extended Care, where he came into the care of Occupational Therapist Janneth Gallosa.
The next three weeks were marked by intensive rehab sessions—two hours a day for five days a week.
In just the first week and a half, she said, Bullock made “big strides.”
“If I tell him to lift up his leg, he’ll always do it. He won’t argue with me,” Gallosa said.
“That’s why his progress was really fast,” she added.
In addition to his liver condition, Bullock faced other health challenges. At age 35, he went on disability after his lung had collapsed. He had led an active life, having majored in physical education in college and taught gymnastics. Previously, he also worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield as a word processor and worked a side gig teaching a middle school gymnastics squad in East Orange.
Now at home, Bullock said he plans to continue with exercises, such as throwing a ball against a wall, going up steps and walking without the assistance of a cane.
He stride has gotten stronger and his footing surer each day.
“I had to prove to myself I’m going to walk again,” he said. “I started in a wheelchair.”