Iris' Story

Iris Murray walking with walker in therapy.

Iris Murray, age 49, has one daughter, lives in Slidell and works as the general manager of a Holiday Inn Express. She’s struggled with health issues for the last few years, including contracting COVID-19 three times and being diagnosed with Necrotizing Autoimmune Myositis (NAM) which is an autoimmune disorder that causes muscle weakness. Her muscle weakness caused her to rely on a walker to help prevent falls.

Iris was receiving care from home health when it was determined that she would benefit from physical and occupational therapy rehabilitation. Her home health care nurses recommended Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital.  

Upon arrival, Iris was experiencing severe muscle weakness and was unable to complete any self-care or walk independently. She set two therapy goals: to be self-sufficient in her activities of daily living and to be able to stand with the assistance of a walker.

Iris’ physical therapy included working with a safety harness to walk and exercising with a stationary bike, parallel bars and a stepper machine. She also utilized weights and did chair push-ups to strengthen her muscles. 

In occupational therapy, Iris learned new techniques for self-care and worked on stretching exercises to extend her reach and ability to complete activities of daily living such as dressing. Iris also worked with therapy bands and used an arm bike to further build strength in her upper body. 

At first, Iris felt frustrated with her progress even though her family was encouraging her every step of the way. Her turning point was when she was able to transfer from her chair using a transfer board, and she said that her family’s support helped her immensely. 

After 26 days at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital, Iris went home. She can now walk with a walker for about 30 feet and independently complete most self-care such as showering and dressing.  
When asked about her experience at the hospital, Iris stated, “It was very productive and I am glad that I chose Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital.” She added, “I learned that I have to think outside of the box and find new ways of making things work.”

Iris’ recovery continues with outpatient therapy. For others on a health recovery journey, she advises, “Find ways to make it work. Just complete your daily goals and give it your all.”