Mr. A.N, a 22 year old man from Somalia, arrived in Lesvos in 2021. He fled Somalia after his father and brother were assassinated by paramilitary forces. His family had a business and he is married and owns land in his country but he was forced to escape to avoid getting killed.
Mr. A.N first came to Earth Medicine’s facilities in Mytilene in February 2022. At this point he was on a wheel chair. He had contracted tuberculosis (TB) in the previous year, after which he developed pleural effusion and polyneuropathy. He had a complete loss of sensation in his lower body which rendered him unable to walk or even stand. He was also extremely thin and unable to eat due to severe abdominal pain and he was still taking strong antibiotics to treat his TB.
Mr. A.N first came to Earth Medicine’s facilities in Mytilene in February 2022. He had a complete loss of sensation in his lower body which rendered him unable to walk or even stand.
In addition to the inability to eat and digest, A.N. was also unable to take deep breaths and had chest pain and constriction as a result of the damage caused by the TB on his right lung. Because of this and his extreme weakness, initially his treatment at Earth Medicine was directed at helping his body heal by supporting the function of his lungs and digestive system. We provided food made especially for him to restore his ability to eat and digest so that his body could start to build the strength necessary for his recovery. We also used massage and gentle manipulation on his upper body as well as breathing techniques for 1-2 hours every day. After a few weeks, he felt more able to breathe, his digestion improved, and he started to gain strength. We then started to practise the simple motion of standing from a sitting position to recondition his lower limbs and spine. This initially was very difficult as his muscles were atrophied and he felt pain and fatigue after the sessions.
The entire rehabilitation programme we offered A.N between February and November 2022, was defined by his specific needs and was adapted whenever there was a change in his condition.
By March 2022, A.N’s lower limbs had gradually built up enough for him to be able to stand more easily, and he started using a rollator walker. At this stage of his treatment, he was still experiencing severe pain at the ankle joints and his muscles were still weak. After a month, his muscles were stronger and he was experiencing significantly less pain in the ankles. He made steady progress and by the end of June 2022, he was able to stand and walk very slowly with aid although he was unable to lift his feet at all. At this stage, daily scalp and body acupuncture treatments were introduced followed by physiotherapy sessions aiming to strengthen his muscle control. He then made very fast progress and after only a week, he was able to lift his knees, started to bend his ankles and lift his feet off the ground, and gave a few careful steps, all without aids. After another week of these treatments, by the end of July, he was walking, using a bicycle as transport and even playing a little basketball without needing any support at all. From this time until he left in November, he was transferred to a refugee camp in mainland Greece, the purpose of his sessions was to help him rebuild muscles and strength and increase flexibility.
As a result, he is now fully mobile and we feel the satisfaction of having been part of his remarkable journey.
The entire rehabilitation programme we offered A.N between February and November 2022, was defined by his specific needs and was adapted whenever there was a change in his condition. Throughout this time, A.N received treatments every single day and different practitioners spent up to three hours each day exclusively working with him. The therapies he received included dietary therapy, remedial massage, physiotherapy, and acupuncture. We gave him everything that we could give to help his recovery and he worked hard and was totally committed on fully regaining his mobility. As a result, he is now fully mobile and we feel the satisfaction of having been part of his remarkable journey.
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