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Nebraska man now recovering from West Nile Virus diagnosis in August

Posted at 5:43 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 06:51:29-05

There have been 11 West Nile virus deaths in Nebraska so far this year. It started with a simple mosquito bite for a man this past summer and it got worse from there. "Well I woke up on a Sunday morning, and I really wasn't feeling good at all, so about two days later I finally went to the emergency room,” said Jim Weaver.

Late June, Jim Weaver got the bite. The mosquito bite that gave him West Nile. Doctors officially diagnosed him in August. “I was sick enough I could have died, all I heard was you die from West Nile, so it was depressing I ain't gonna lie,” said Weaver. The disease affected his nervous system from his lower back down to his right foot. Now he has to learn to walk all over again.

For the last month, Jim has been in physical therapy twice a week to regain strength in his right leg. “You take for granted that you can move your body around, but when you can't do it it's difficult,” said Weaver. For now, Jim is in a wheelchair and is using a walker for therapy. “It's hard sometimes to stay positive and keep going,” said Weaver.

But he said staying positive is the secret to his progress. “It's been hard, considering a month ago I couldn't move my leg at all,” said Weaver. And the support of his family is his motivation. “Definitely blessed knowing that I can still hug my kids,” said Weaver.

Jim's physical therapist is Rich Walter. He says one out of every 150,000 people diagnosed with West Nile develop a type of paralysis. “I've been doing this for a little over 31 years and I don't remember if I’ve seen someone with West Nile that's how rare it is,” said Walter. What's also rare is Jim’s spirit. It's making all the difference in his recovery. “I haven't seen him down once, he's doing really well,” said Walter.

Staying positive to get to his end goal of walking without help by the end of the year. “You can get stronger and you can walk again you can get up and get motivated so hopefully I’ll be able to get up here and walk pretty soon,” said Weaver.

A benefit for Jim is being held this Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army Gene Eppley Camp in Bellevue. There will be food, a raffle, door prizes, and Husker coverage.