Simply trying to stand up has become a physical challenge for Bob Conley. "Right now it's misery," he said, as he got help lifting himself out of a wheelchair.
For the last three days, Conley has put his aching body through rehabilitation. The Gautier man is trying to get rid of the pain caused by the West Nile virus. "All around here hurts," Conley said, pointing to his chest. "And all up and down my thighs, from my knees up to my hips hurts."
Conley figures he contracted West Nile over the Fourth of July weekend. That weekend he was fishing near this Fort Bayou marina area. And he remembers swatting away mosquitos. Conley said it took doctors almost two weeks to realize his flu-like symptoms were really the West Nile virus.
He said none of his friends ever really thought about the virus. And he admitted he "was the same way. And here I am. I've got it."
When he got the news, Conley "wanted to fall apart. I didn't know what to do."
Pain and illness were two things Conley wasn't accustomed to. Until he contracted West Nile last month, the Ingalls supervisor rarely took a sick day. When asked if he was afraid that he may die, Conley said yes he was. "I didn't know how strong my body was to fight it," he said. "So far, I've been lucky, so far."
Last weekend, Conley moved from Ocean Springs Hospital to Memorial Hospital's rehabilitation center.
Sarah Schroeder is his physical therapist. She said he's already made tremendous progress. "Today is third day of full therapy," Schroeder said. "It's just amazing, amazing work he's done."
Conley expects to be strong enough to go home in three weeks.
According to the latest report WLOX News received from the state health department, 28 people are being treated at Mississippi hospitals for the West Nile virus. So far, nobody has died.