OGDENSBURG – Four months after being bitten by a stray cat, Keith Taylor, of Cadyville, woke up unable to see.
After spending 10 days in the hospital and two weeks at RiverLedge Health Care & Rehabilitation Center in Ogdensburg, Mr. Taylor is now home with sight back in his right eye, optimistic that his vision will also return to his left eye at some point in the future.
“My doctor told me it’s going to take some time for my left eye to come back. It could take six months or a year, they’re not sure,” Mr. Taylor said.
Mr. Taylor was capturing feral cats in Ogdensburg with his girlfriend, who lives here, when one of the animals bit him on the left hand. A sore that he described as “hard like a marble” developed on his finger, but Mr. Taylor did not seek any medical attention following the bite.
“The mistake we made was popping it,” he said, pointing to his finger where the bite occurred. Mr. Taylor said that doctors told him popping the sore led to an infection which over the next four months would spread through his body eventually reaching his eyes and causing blindness.
“Imagine waking up one morning and not being able to see,” Mr. Taylor said. “That’s pretty scary.”
Mr. Taylor then went to the hospital where he spent the next 10 days being treated for the infection, which had spread through most of his body. Most of that time too was spent in total darkness.
“On the fifth day I broke down and cried,” he said. “When they told me my vision might not come back that’s when it hit me.”
Occupational Therapist Alycia Dezell said that while Mr. Taylor wasn’t completely blind when he arrived at RiverLedge, he wasn’t anywhere close to where he was just two weeks later.
“He wasn’t completely blind, but he had significantly decreased vision, no sense of color, and even a little bit of light was causing him to have really bad headaches,” she said. “To see him in here right now not wearing sunglasses is amazing.”
Over the course of his two week stay, Ms. Dezell said she worked with him using a series of reaction timing, vision tracking exercises and even a punching bag. Also working with Mr. Taylor was Physical Therapy student Chelsea Martin.
“I’m sending him home with a pretty strict program and some exercises that his daughter can do with him,” Ms. Dezell said.
Mr. Taylor, who noted his daughter lives next door to him, said that while he’s glad to be going home, he’s not expecting his daughter to take it easy on him. “Going home is not going to be a break, but I’m just looking forward to everything getting back to normal,” he said.
“I have a two-year-old granddaughter and another grandchild on the way. I want to be able to watch them grow up,” he said. “My daughter is getting married next year and I want to be able to walk her down the aisle.”
Mr. Taylor, who said he ended up at RiverLedge, because he was unable to get into a similar facility in Clinton county, said he’s glad things worked out the way they did.
“This is a great place to come if you need therapy for anything,” he said. “They go above and beyond and they’re all really good people. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
For more information on therapy services at RiverLedge in Ogdensburg, contact (315) 393-0730. For information on therapy services at Maplewood Health Care & Rehabilitation Center in Canton, contact (315) 386-4541. You may also like United Helpers on Facebook or visit www.unitedhelpers.org.