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Peter B. Lewis Aquatic & Therapy Center
Getting by with a Little Help from his friends at Peter B. Lewis Aquatic & Therapy Center
In his elegant South African accent, Dr. Dennis Israelstam, a retired OBGYN, will tell you he’s 21 going on 80. His sense of light-hearted humor and positive attitude brightens everyone he interacts with at Menorah Park’s Peter B. Lewis Aquatic & Therapy Center (LAC).
As a LAC health maintenance member for the last few years, he has found hope, healing and humor in the relationships he’s formed with staff. Although Dr. Israelstam has had bilateral shoulder replacements, has severe osteoarthritis of the knees, has had a hip replacement, and has suffered a loss of some of his toes due to infection from some of his illnesses, he will not let anything slow him down. "I will be 80 – that gives me hope for the future; it gives me something to look forward to. Living is my aim."
But it hasn’t been easy. "I had a pretty serious illness that disabled me in my lower limbs. I wasn’t able to walk properly and was generally unable to do much, he says. "I've been going to the Center for rehab for a couple of years now. Slowly and methodically, I’ve been working with Lisa Altenbaugh, mainly using NuStep equipment for a half an hour twice a week, and it has made a difference to my general well-being and strengthened my legs and arms. I am very happy!"
Progress is good. Dr. Israelstam can now use his arms and is generally stronger than before. "I'm doing a series of limited exercises that Lisa designed for me. It’s not strenuous but it’s important, and it is helping me, slowly but surely. Lisa is very competent and she knows exactly what I can and can’t do. She’s instrumental in helping me do what I need to do. She’s amazing at what she does."
When asked how long he intended to utilize the LAC, he replied, "How long do I intend to live? I have no intention of leaving the LAC, as long as I can walk and breathe. It’s helping me. I enjoy it. I don’t feel I’d be strong, or be the same person I am today, without it. I need it mentally and physically."
And the wise doctor has some words of advice for those that are considering outpatient therapy, but are apprehensive. "Go for it, go for it! Life is very short. I’m in a situation now that I can’t play golf or tennis, but as long as I have the need to be active, to do simple exercises, and to be with people, I’ll go there."
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