Photo of Scott Callahan sitting his his wheelchair in a park on a sunny day.

Scott Callahan - Alpena, MI

"Over the years, I have worked with just about every therapist, and they are incredible. They are very upfront and clear, and they always offer options."

Grateful for Incredible Therapists Who Help Him Manage His MS

Scott Callahan, husband, dad and former carpenter, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) nine years ago. Five years after that, he moved from Saginaw to Alpena and loves it up north. He and his family have 40 acres and enjoy being outdoors. According to Callahan, another perk of living in the area is having access to excellent health care. He is well acquainted with MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena as his condition sometimes requires hospital stays, as well as regular occupational and physical therapy. For Scott, Alpena has it all.

Coping with MS is an ongoing challenge. It is a disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. “I go in every eight months or so to have a tune-up,” he said. “They help me retrain my brain to communicate with my body for the desired result.”

Some challenges that have arisen for Callahan due to MS include lumbar pain which makes it difficult to tolerate sitting for extended periods, difficulty sleeping at night, muscle spasms, decreased flexibility, as well as general balance and weakness issues. Earlier this year, his Michigan Medicine Neurologist Yang Mao-Draayer, M.D., Ph.D., recommended an inpatient stay for comprehensive occupational and physical rehabilitation. “My latest experience at the Medical Center was phenomenal,” Scott said. “I have worked with just about every therapist there over the years, and they are incredible. They are very upfront and clear, and they always offer options.”

Therapists from the RehabCentre at MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena worked with Callahan in a variety of areas including manual therapy, neurological re-education, patient education and therapeutic exercises. They helped him improve his strength and mobility, balance, coordination and reaction times. They discussed proper body mechanics and postural awareness and provided joint mobilization to improve range of motion.

“I think Scott's positive outlook and mindset makes all the difference,” said Jackie Clearwood, physical therapist assistant. “He always comes into therapy ready to work and willing to try anything we throw at him. I think because of this, he is still able to do most of the things he enjoys like hunting, fishing and being outdoors.”

“From my perspective, the reason Scott has continued success in all therapy settings, despite the progressive nature of his condition, is his work ethic,” shared Geoff Shafto, occupational therapist. “He is the kind of person who gives you 20 reps when you asked for 15. Scott is a loving husband and father and continues to push forward through his debility with drive and dedication.”

“I am always learning,” said Scott. “I even worked with an amazing therapy student recently. There is a sense of teamwork with these professionals that makes it easier to stay motivated and work through whatever challenges I’m presented with at the time.”

Scott continues maintaining a positive attitude. A recent disc removal surgery has restored the use of his right side. He keeps an open mind to new therapies and approaches and demonstrates focus at every session. He likes knowing a multitude of the Medical Center’s staff members and being known by them. “I have only the best things to say about my experiences and the staff there.”

Those who would like more information about MyMichigan Health’s rehabilitation services may visit www.mymichigan.org/rehab. Those interested in services available in Alpena may call (989) 356-7248.

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